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What differences exist between the pay and free version of MSSQL2008R2?

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2
http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/R2.aspx

and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express
http://www.microsoft.com/express/Database/

A complete answer might explain why someone would choose one over the other, what the biggest annoyances are with going Express, non-intuitive things to look out for, etc.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Executive summary (Commonly missed features for the person running a small database):

SQL 2008 R2 Express edition is lacking:

  • SQL Server Agent (for scheduling jobs, including SQL replication)

  • support for DBs >10GB

  • Integration services

There are many other differences, detailed at the URL Moose posted.

SQL Express CAN be accessed from the network, but it is not enabled by default. A quick google will show how

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This page has a good comparison... The Express version is free, but it's limited in areas.

http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/editions-compare.aspx

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The most prominant difference is that SQL Express can only run on 1 of your systems processors rather than multi-proc. Personally, in my DEV environments I really can't tell the difference in performance.

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On the subject of hardware limitations, express is also limited to 1GB of RAM. –  Sean Howat Sep 1 '10 at 19:25

A few big things come to mind, you don't have an SQL Agent with express, and being a Publisher for replication isn't possible. (Because of not having an agent) And you are limited to the size of your DB.

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