SQL Server Express

Recently I’ve been playing around with SQL Server Express, the free database (and replacement for MSDE) from Microsoft. It’s really quite amazing the features you get for nothing, and in my book its a real competitor to MySQL. A nice thing about the different versions of SQL Server are that they are upwards-compatible, ie. if you go from Express to the real version, you are not required to change any code (other than the connection string perhaps). So if you application outgrows the Express, it relatively painless to upgrade (except for the price of SQL Server that is 🙂

The stated limitations on SQL Express, is 1 processor, 1 gig of ram and 4 gigs of data in the database. It’s important to note that it will work just fine on a machine with more juice than this, only it will limit its use of the resources to those numbers.

In fact the SQL Express guys recommends installing it on a machine with better specs – if you have 1 gig or less of RAM the database must share it with the OS and the other processes! So 1,5 gigs and 2 procs are (unofficially) recommended I think.

However there are 2 other real disabling limitations (IMHO) that might not be apparent at first glance:

1. No Server Agent, which means that scheduled backup (and other tasks) is not possible within the database
2. No DTS services, which means no easy data import/export functionality*

So if you want to run backup or import/export data from MS Access or another source, you have to create your own routine and use the Windows Scheduler or similar for scheduling.

Also note that SQL Server Express cannot be a publisher in a replication, but it can be a subscriber.

* Luckily DTS is still possible and available, but for some unfathomable reason you either have to be lucky, or know the ‘trick’ to get it to work. I’ll tell you how in the next post (not really trying to create suspense here, I just don’t want the walktrough to be hidden down at the end of a boring text about SQL Express Server in general 🙂
(sorry about not strictly beeing about mobile development)

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