The Separation of Tools

I’ve got a question for you today. Is it better to have SSMS and ADS available as separate downloads?

If you installed SQL Server prior to 2017 (the year, not the version), you had the option to add Management Studio (SSMS) to your installation. In fact, that was the only way to get SSMS back then. There was no separate tools download, which was a pain for many customers.

Since then, there have been multiple releases of SSMS separately, starting with 16.x and moving through v17 and now v18. In fact, it’s been roughly every quarter we’ve gotten new releases of the tooling. In addition, we’ve gotten Azure Data Studio (ADS), which is based on Visual Studio Code, but built with connections to the data platform as the primary goal.

There are now separate downloads for SSMS and ADS, though the latest SSMS download notes that starting with v18.7, ADS is automatically installed alongside the tool. That generated a feedback item, which requests that this bundling be removed. While I don’t find this to be an issue, I do understand that this can be a problem for many organizations.

I think that Microsoft moving to provide a more customized and flexible tooling experience makes sense. Give us the options to configure our systems as we desired. Let us add new features that are appropriate for us, or easily remove them from the install. I would include the requirement that ADS be installed with SSMS, as noted above. That being said, the ability to add in various extensions might be of concern to many organizations. Flexibility includes the ability of both users and organizations to control the allowed and prohibited list of features.

I will admit a fondness for SSMS that ADS has not replicated, but I do find myself using it more and more as new tooling items are available only in ADS and not in SSMS. Perhaps as I use notebooks more, I’ll find myself more enamored with ADS. After all, I loved isql/Windows for years, even when other tools became the standard.

Steve Jones

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1 Response to The Separation of Tools

  1. paschott says:

    I voted for that item. Should have at least been an option to install as opposed to installing it alongside SSMS. Let users choose the tools. Avoid issues w/ more locked-down environments where SSMS might be approved, but ADS isn’t.


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