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Introduction to SQL Server Express 2008 R2

MSSQLTips author Ray Barley By:   |   Read Comments (7)   |   Related Tips: More > Express Edition
Problem

I've been taking advantage of the free SQL Server Express edition for some time.  I see there is a new release of SQL Server Express 2008 R2.  Can you provide an overview of this latest version?

Solution

According to SQL SERVER EXPRESS WEBLOG the final version of SQL Server Express 2008 R2 was made publicly available on April 21, 2010.  There are a number of new features that make it just a little more likely that you could find this a useful tool.

In this tip I'll discuss the features, limitations, requirements and installation experience.

Features

You can get the feature details for all editions of SQL Server 2008 R2 (including the Express versions) by taking a look at Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2008 R2.  Keep in mind that Express provides only a subset of the features available in the other editions of SQL Server 2008 R2. 

The following are the editions of SQL Server Express 2008 R2 and their key features:

  • Express with Advanced Services - Database Engine, Full Text Search, Reporting Services, Business Intelligence Development Studio, SQL Server Management Studio
  • Express with Tools - Database Engine and SQL Server Management Studio
  • SQL Server Express - Database Engine

As you can see Express with Advanced Services has a pretty decent set of features.

Limitations

SQL Server Express 2008 R2 is still free, but there is still a limitation on database size, but the limit has been raised from 4 GB to 10 GB.  Although the 10 GB size limitation may still not be enough for your production databases, it's likely to be workable for small application databases as well as your development environments.

Here are what I consider the most important limitations on the Express versions; this may help you to decide if SQL Server Express 2008 R2 could benefit you.

FEATURE NAME LIMITATION
Number of CPUs 1
Maximum memory utilized 1 GB
Maximum database size 10 GB
Replication Subscriber only

System Requirements

The following are the high level system requirements:

  • The supported operating systems are Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
  • .NET Framework 2.0 SP2
  • For 32-bit systems an Intel or compatible processor, 1GHz or faster (2 GHz or faster is recommended)
  • For 64-bit systems a 1.4 GHz or faster processor
  • 512 MB RAM (2 GB or more recommended)
  • 2.2 GB hard disk space

Before running the setup program the following prerequisites must be installed based on the Express edition:

SQL Server Express

SQL Server Express with Advanced Services

SQL Server Express with Tools

For the complete details on system requirements take a look at Hardware and Software Requirements for Installing SQL Server 2008 R2

Installation Experience

To download SQL Server 2008 R2 Express navigate to SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Installation Options.  You can choose to download x86 or x64 versions of the Database Only, Management Tools, Database with Management Tools, or Database with Advanced Services.

The installation experience is exactly what we have come to expect; it's wizard-based and only asks us to specify a few things.  Let's walk through the installation of the SQL Server Express 2008 R2 with Advanced Services since it has the most features.

After launching the installation program you'll see the start page as shown below:

To download SQL Server 2008 R2 Express navigate to SQL Server 2008 R2 Express Installation Options

Click New installation or add features to an existing installation and you'll see the License Terms dialog as shown below:

Let's walk through the installation of the SQL Server Express 2008 R2 with Advanced Services since it has the most features.

Click the I accept the license terms checkbox then you'll see the Feature Selection dialog as shown below:

Click the I accept the license terms checkbox then you'll see the Feature Selection dialog

Click the Select All button to install everything; the Instance Configuration dialog will be displayed as shown below:

Click the Select All button to install everything; the Instance Configuration dialog will be displayed

The default is to install as the named instance SQLExpress.  I opted to change the instance name to be SQLExpress2008R2; it makes it easy for me to figure out what version I have.  Click Next to continue on to the Server Configuration dialog as shown below:

The default is to install as the named instance SQLExpress

I like to specify my own account for the various services then fine-tune the permissions for that account.  For information on setting up service accounts take a look at Setting Up Windows Service Accounts.  After entering an account or accepting the defaults click Next to continue on to the Database Engine Configuration dialog as shown below:

click Next to continue on to the Database Engine Configuration dialog

I just accepted the defaults; click Next to continue on to the Reporting Services Configuration dialog as shown below:

 click Next to continue on to the Reporting Services Configuration dialog

I accepted the default which will setup Reporting Services for you.  Click Next to continue on to the Error Reporting dialog as shown below:

Click Next to continue on to the Error Reporting

Click Next to complete the wizard and begin the installation.

Next Steps
  • SQL Server Express 2008 R2 is something that you should take a look at; it's a way to get a subset of SQL Server 2008 R2 features without additional licensing costs.
  • One issue that you may run into with Express is how do you add other users to the sysadmin role.  The user who installs Express will get added to the sysadmin role.  To add others you must be an administrator and you can run this script to add the current user to the SQL Server sysadmin role.
  • One good resource that I have used to get information on the Express editions is SQL SERVER EXPRESS WEBLOG.


Last Update: 5/26/2010


About the author
MSSQLTips author Ray Barley
Ray Barley is a Principal Architect at RDA Corporation and a MSSQLTips.com BI Expert.

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Comments and Feedback:
Wednesday, October 13, 2010 - 9:35:02 PM - ChrisJJ Read The Tip
> The following are the high level system requirements:

> .NET Framework 2.0 SP2

I think that should read "3.5" !


Thursday, October 14, 2010 - 4:55:21 AM - Ray Barley Read The Tip
The hardware and software requirements for SQL Server 2008 R2 are here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143506.aspx 

There are a number of different scenarios noted in footnotes 1 and 2.   In some cases it says .NET Framework 2.0SP2 is required; other cases require .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

Setup will install .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 for you. 

 


Friday, January 04, 2013 - 2:06:09 PM - Shane Read The Tip

Is there any advantage to use the Express x64 edition over the x86 edition?  It seems there is little or no advantage since Express only uses a max of 1 GB of memory.  I thought I would ask any way since I may be missing something.  The reason I am asking is because we are considering our upgrade options from SQL 2005 Express which does not have an Express x64 edition.

 

Thanks for this great artilce which does a great job of providing details about SQL Express 2008 R2.

 

Shane


Saturday, January 05, 2013 - 3:32:39 PM - Ray Barley Read The Tip

You should consider SQL Server 2012 Express: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/editions/2012-editions/express.aspx

You can compare all SQL Server 2012 editions here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993(v=SQL.110).aspx

I don't see anything that specifically says what you give up by going with 32 bit rather than 64 bit 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 7:10:14 AM - Marge Read The Tip
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Tuesday, July 09, 2013 - 9:42:53 PM - Claudio Espinoza Read The Tip

I need to know if the limitation (number of CPUs, memory, max_size) is per instance. Please your help.

Thanks!


Thursday, July 11, 2013 - 8:51:46 AM - Raymond Barley Read The Tip

This is the page that has all of the detaisl for SQL 2012 editions: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993(v=SQL.110).aspx

The link says you can install 50 instances; I would assume that every limitation is per instance but you should check with Microsoft directly on that.

In addition I think that the product enforces the limitations; i.e. it won't use more cores, memory, etc. than it says are allowed.




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