There are a number of editions of SQL Server, each of which has different capabilities, features, and restrictions. Over the years, the mix has changed, and it can get confusing for customers trying to decide what to purchase and use. Fortunately things seem to have become simpler the last few years, but you still have to make a few choices.
The Express Edition has the most restrictions, including a database size restriction, but in many ways, it’s a very capable database server. It’s the evolution of the “desktop database”, MSDE, that was designed to take the place of Access for desktop software that needed a database.
Recently I ran across a discussion on using Express in production, and I was surprised that many people didn’t think it was a version capable of acting as a production server. It’s the same code base as the other versions of SQL Server, with more restrictions. This week, I wanted to see how most of you feel.
Would you use Express Edition for a production database?
I would. In fact, given the way licensing costs have soared for SQL Server, I’d be tempted to use Express in many places, especially for departmental sized applications. I wouldn’t care whether they were web based or client/server. As long as the database would remain below the 10GB limit and the 1GB RAM limitation didn’t kill performance, I think Express is a fine choice.
Of course, outgrowing Express can be quite expensive and a shock for someone using it, but if you need a more powerful server, you need one. I just prefer to defer that cost if I can.