Access to SQL Server 2008 Virtual Environment

By:   |   Updated: 2008-01-16   |   Comments (2)   |   Related: More > Virtualization

Back in June 2007, we announced that SQL Server 2008 is on its way in this tip SQL Server 2008 has arrived.  In addition, we talked about how to learn more about SQL Server 2008 in this tip Learning SQL Server 2008. The problem with learning something new is that it often takes a lot of time to setup an environment before you can actually do anything.  With server virtualization this is much easier to setup and take down servers at will, but this still requires effort to get the virtual server setup in the first place.  Are there any easier solutions for getting your hands on SQL Server 2008?

Well thanks to MaximumASP, Dell and the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) a host of virtual environments have already been setup that allows you to test SQL Server 2008 without all the hassles of having to secure a server, download the software, install the software, deal with any issues, setup security etc...

This website has been setup to allow you signup for a free Microsoft SQL Server 2008 account on a server that is already setup and hosted by MaximumASP. This free account gives you access to both the SQL Server Management Studio and to Visual Studio 2005, so you can develop code you can test on this virtual server.

As a bonus, all program participants will also receive a FREE basic membership to the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). PASS membership provides information, tools, publications and access to an international, expert user community serving over 25,000 SQL Server & Business Intelligence professionals worldwide.


  • It's free
  • You don't have to worry about the hassles of finding a server and setting up a server
  • You don't have to deal with any issues that may arise when doing the install
  • The virtual servers use Windows 2008, so you get a view of the new OS as well
  • You can access both Management Studio and Visual Studio
  • You have db_owner rights to the test database that is created for you, so you can test a lot of the new features


  • You are given just an empty database without any samples.  It would be nice if the databases were pre-loaded with sample tables, stored procs, data, etc... so you could test some of the new features much more quickly without having to do additional research.
  • The database size you are given is limited to 100MB.  This is probably not a problem for testing the new features, but you won't be able to test any performance gains.
  • Since you are not a sysadmin on the server you are not able to do a lot of things that take advantage of the new features in 2008 that are at the server level vs. the database level.
  • You do not have access to any other tools besides Management Studio and Visual Studio.  This would be nice to see the other tools, but what you get is better than nothing.

Although this may not be a perfect solution to test all aspects of SQL Server 2008 it does give you a jump start on using SQL Server 2008.  I know I was able to get started much quicker by using the free virtual servers than I would have been if I had to secure the hardware, install the OS, install SQL Sever 2008, setup security, setup databases, etc...

If you are looking at getting a jump start on SQL Server 2008, this is a pretty easy way to get started!

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Last Updated: 2008-01-16

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MSSQLTips author Greg Robidoux Greg Robidoux is the President of Edgewood Solutions and a co-founder of

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Comments For This Article

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - 1:17:23 PM - Greg Robidoux Back To Top (22601)

Hi Kearny, yes you are right these are not available anymore.

You can check out these to see if this will help you:

Wednesday, March 06, 2013 - 11:55:09 AM - kerany Back To Top (22598)

Hi Greg

the website doesn't work any more ,could send me the new URL

thanks very much for your help


Best Regards




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