What Is SQL Server Express and Why Would You Use It

What Is SQL Server Express and Why Would You Use It

SQL Server Express, Microsoft’s free database edition, can be utilized in the Azure Cloud by installing on an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) – for developing small server-driven applications.  It can also be utilized for any production database that is sized at or below the current SQL. 

SQL Express is fully supported by Microsoft including patches and updates.  It is scalable and 100% compatible with paid editions, in that it can be upgraded to any paid edition when the need arises.

By installing SQL Server Express edition on SQL Server Azure VMs, you can take advantage of the following features that provide important levels of data security.

Limitations of SQL Server Express:

  • 1GB maximum memory used by the database engine
  • 10GB maximum database size
  • 1MB maximum buffer cache
  • CPU the lesser of one (1) socket or four (4) cores (number of SQL user connections NOT limited)

Benefits of SQL Server Express:

  • Automated Patching to schedule a maintenance window for installing important windows and SQL Server updates automatically
  • Automated Backup to regularly take backups of the database to blob storage
  • When installed on a SQL Server VM created from an Image Gallery, you have three (3) options to restrict connectivity:
    • Local (from within the VM)
    • Private (from within a Virtual Network)
    • Public (from the internet)
  • Azure Server Side Encryption (encryption-at-rest), or Azure Disk Encryption (using Azure Key Vault to encrypt both the OS and data disks)
  • Azure role-based access control (RBAC) has built-in roles (which can be augmented with your own custom roles) to control access to Azure resources such as SQL Server VMs and SQL Server database instances.

Versions of SQL Server Express

  • SQL Server Express w/ Tools – contains the core SQL Server database along with the tools to manage SQL Server instances, including SQL Server Express, LocalDB, and SQL Azure.
  • SQL Server Management Studio – Tools to manage SQL Server instances, including LocalDB, SQL Express, SQL Azure (does not contain SQL Server)
  • SQL Server Express LocalDB – Do you need to embed SQL Server Express into an application? LocalDB is a lightweight version of Express that has all its programmability features yet runs in user mode and has a fast, zero-configuration installation.
  • SQL Server Express w/ Advanced Series – Experience the full feature set of SQL Server Express. This package contains the database engine, Express Tools, Reporting Services, Full Text Search, management tools, and all the components of SQL Server Express

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