One of the challenges regularly faced by web hosting companies is how to provide database storage to their customers in a way that's both affordable and manageable.

SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is designed to address some of the scenarios where MSDE or Access might be used today, but provide better ease-of-use for developers (for example, Visual Studio 2005 can automatically create an instance of SQL Express for managing ASP.NET features such as membership, etc.). Now, the ASP.NET team has announced that they're working on a tool for web hosting companies that will make it easy for their customers to develop their applications locally using SQL Server Express, then publish their database to the server along with the web site, and use the new Upsize tool to convert the SQL Express database to a full SQL Server instance, and automatically correct connection strings to point to the new DB. This will make deploying and managing databases in a shared environment considerably easier than it is today.