Really, Management Studio (SSMS) is free as in beer. Go download it today.
I got a note from a reader recently that was complaining about SSMS and the lack of MDI support. This individual mentioned that they would undock windows (something I never do) and if they minimzed the parent, the child windows all disappeared. I wondered if there were still issues with SSMS, so I fired up my version, undocked some windows and played around. Things worked as I expected, and every window was independent of the others. I had no issues working, though I did find I’d forget on which monitor a particular child window would appear.
Last year (2016) we saw SSMS get released as a separate download for SQL Server. The tool has it’s own release cycle, and we saw new updates every other month. As this development team at Microsoft got up to speed with the process and began improving and changing the product, we saw some rough release cycles, but things stabilized a bit late last year. The move to the Visual Studio 2017 shell with v17.x was nice, and I’ve found the latest version to be very stable and easy to use.
After working with Enterprise Manager in my career, then moving to Management Studio and seeing the product languish over the years as SQL Server grew, I am pleased with the direction of SSMS. The changelog is quite impressive, and I expect more things to be fixed and improved in the future. The team is more responsive, and while they won’t fix everything I (or you) want, they are making progress.
The new SSMS is not tied to any version of SQL Server. You can use it with SQL Server 2008 and later (though there are OS requirements). It will work with SQL 2000+, though there may be some issues. If you can, I’d say abandon whatever SSMS version you’re using and get the latest 17.1 release. It works well, is stable, and has lots of fixes for previous issues. Plus, you won’t need to apply those old 2008/2012/2014 patches to your workstation. Just update SSMS on your schedule.
SSMS is free, and while some of us have known this for awhile, I regularly meet people still using the version that came with 2008, R2, 2012, etc. Go download the latest bits today. This is the easiest SQL Server upgrade to justify.