Microsoft is offering two releases of its database platform as free downloads. Both SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools went live on the Microsoft Download Center in February 2009 and are now up for grabs at no charge. According to the software giant, the Express edition of SQL Server 2008 is designed to act as part of the infrastructure necessary to build small desktop and server applications, and for redistribution packages from ISVs. The company is offering a total of three downloads, tailored to different infrastructures including 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.
“Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express is a powerful and reliable data management system that delivers a rich set of features, data protection, and performance for embedded application clients, light Web applications, and local data stores. Designed for easy deployment and rapid prototyping, SQL Server 2008 Express is available at no cost, and you are free to redistribute it with applications. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with your other server infrastructure investments,” the Redmond company stated.
Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista RTM and SP1, Windows XP SP2 and SP3 are the operating systems supported by both SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools. The latter brings to the table the plain-vanilla, free version of Microsoft's database platform, but in conjunction with a range of graphical management tools. Just as it is the case with SQL Server 2008 Express, users are free not only to download SQL Server Express with Tools, but also to deploy, redistribute and even embed the solution with their applications at no charge at all.
“SQL Server 2008 Express provides powerful and reliable data management tools and rich features, data protection, and fast performance. It is ideal for small server applications and local data stores. SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools has all of the features in SQL Server 2008 Express, plus you can easily manage and administer SQL Server 2008 Express with a[n] easy-to-use graphical management tool – SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Basic,” the software giant added.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools are available for download via this link.