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SQL Server Express v SQL Server Developer Edition

SQL Server Express v  SQL Server Developer Edition

Over the weekend I received the following in an email from Ali Ahmad who asked me some questions about learning SQL Server. We exchanged a couple of emails so I have boiled this down to the most salient points.


Goal: I want to learn SQL Server inside out… for career progression as DBA/BI/data mining. I'm a data analyst and want to learn inside out about data warehousing.
I understand relational database concepts...
I have SQL Server 2014 express installed…
I need to download the adventure works sample in order to play with it.
So much knowledge on Microsoft website it's easy to get lost… where do I begin?

SQL Server Express v SQL Server Developer

This is interesting. If you want to learn SQL Server inside out including the Business Intelligence suite of applications I would suggest downloading the developer edition of SQL Server which since 2016 has been made available free of charge. Prior to that there was a fee of around $50 for a developer license. Developer edition of SQL Server has all the features SQL Server has to offer…Its like enterprise edition but there are restrictions on where you can use it. You can’t for example use it in production. But for the purpose of learning all about SQL Server ‘inside out’ it is ideally. SQL Express has a very limited set of features and has almost no Business Intelligence applications. You can read more about the comparison of the various SQL Server editions here 

I would recommend you get SQL Server 2016 developer edition – for free. Install that including the features that you want to learn – from the email it sounds like you would Analysis Services, Integration Services and Reporting services then you can use the features available in the products

Sample Databases – AdventuresWorks

Microsoft used to make all their sample databases available via its CodePlex website. Earlier in the year – around 1st April 2017 it was announced that CodePlex would be closing and all the Microsoft open source tools moved to GitHub. CodePlex is still available in read-only mode up until December this year so you can still get it the sample databases from there up until that time. I have included the links to both locations below 

You mentioned that you had a backup file of the adventure works 2014 database so I’ll assume you got the .BAK file from CodePlex. I have downloaded the .zip that contains the backup and extracted the .zip file contents to a folder on my c:\ drive.

All that I need to do then is restore the database - If you need to know how to do that watch the video - its starts at around 4:10

Learning All About SQL Server

You have many options available to you, when choosing how to learn about SQL Server. You can follow the tutorials on MSDN and the SQL Server documentation. You  can read blogs and articles from other websites like SQL Server Central and MSSQLtips and you can read blogs from a range of clever people that like to blog in the SQL Server community. If you have a budget then you get yourself booked onto a training course where you will get hands-on instructor led training where you get work with the technology in a classroom environment. The choice is yours.

If you need help with SQL Server check out our SQL Server Consulting Page


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