Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know that sql server express has not a user limit, and every application has a different way to load/stress the server.

But let's take "a typical accounting software", where users input some record, retrieve some data and from time to time they make some custom big queries.

May someone share its own experience and tell me which is the limit of users that can realistically use a sql server express instance in this scenario?

I am looking for an indicative idea, like (as an example):

"I had a company with an average of 40 users logged in and the application was working ok on sql server express, but when the users become 60 the application started to seem non repsonsive"

(please note this sentence is pure imagination, I just wrote it as an example).

share|improve this question
Your own imaginary answer is as useful as anyone else's is going to be because it depends entirely on your particular usage. – JamesRyan Jan 4 '11 at 14:41
Yes and no, of course you are right, but at least those are not imaginary. – user193655 Jan 7 '11 at 9:38
up vote 1 down vote accepted

We use SQL express for a monitoring application. We noticed problems after having around 2000(!) stations, each updating data between 1-10 times per hour.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the reply, may you please tell me which kind of sql statement was run? I mean 1 record of 1 table was update at every time? The problems you noticed were related to a non responsive application or to total faliures like broken connections? – user193655 Jan 4 '11 at 14:25
Mostly INSERT (write to db). Problems = unresponsive (sqlserver.exe takes 100% cpu every few seconds) – FrankPython Jan 7 '11 at 10:17

As you'll appreciate - the limitations will be determined to an extent by how well written the actual application is. I've had SQL Express running as the DB backend for a variety of applications that are typical data entry/retrieval systems.

The DB size limit means you're only ever talking about pretty "small" applications anyway but since you're limited to 1 proc and 1 GB RAM you're user support will be depend on how hard the application is working the SQL Server.

I've had 1 app query heavy app struggling with less than 10 users on it due to the resource limitations being exposed by the users hitting the system concurrently but in other cases I've had a 50 user app chugging along nicely on a badly spec'd server that was running other services since the actual data usage patterns in the app weren't taxing at all.

share|improve this answer
10GB DB size is not for very small applications, considering that I use Filestream for blobs. I agree that if 10 users execute simultaneously SELECT * FROM 100000RECORDSTABLE the server will hang. Thanks for sahring your experience. – user193655 Jan 4 '11 at 14:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.