It's time for another release post, this time for RC0 of SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services. Here is the information that everyone is waiting to hear about the SQL Express product line. (Note: If you're the impatient type you can skip to the end of this post to find the instructions for installing SQL Express.)

Physical Limitations

SQL Express 2008 has the same physical limitations that existed in SQL Express 2005:

  • 1 CPU
  • 1 GB Memory
  • 4 GB of user data per database

Since people always ask - you can run SQL Express on machines that exceed these limits, SQL Express just ignores any addition CPUs or memory. SQL Express will take advantage of multiple cores on the single CPU by starting a scheduler for each core.

Feature Support

The same features available in SQL Express 2005 are still available in SQL Express 2008, if you need a refresher on those you can find them in the Feature Comparison chart in Books Online. This post only calls out the features in SQL Express that are new in 2008.

Feature

SQL Server 2008 Express

SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services

Management

  

  

Management Studio Basic

N

Y

PowerShell Integration

Y (Separate installation)*

Y

Policy Based Management

Y (manual only)**

Y (manual only)**

SQL Engine

  

  

Merge & Upsert

Y

Y

New Data type support

  

  

Filestream support

Y

Y

New Date & Time data types

Y

Y

Geodetic data types

Y

Y

Advanced Spatial Libraries

Y

Y

Support for Spatial Standards

Y

Y

New Tools

  

  

Import/Export Wizard

Y

Y

Replication

  

  

Change Tracking

Y

Y

Synchronization Services

Y (Separate installation)***

Y

Reporting Services

  

  

Increase RS Memory Limit

N

Y

RS Word/Rich Text Export

N

Y

IIS Agnostic Report Deployment

N

Y

Enhanced Gauges & Charting

N

Y

* The SqlPS command line tool can be enabled in SQL Express by installing Windows PowerShell 1.0 before installing SQL Express.

** Policies can be created in SQL Express and run manually. There is no support for automated policy based management.

*** Synchronization Services support in SQL Express requires that you install the component separately. It is available from the SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack on the Microsoft Download Center.

Architecture Support

SQL Express and SQL Express Advanced will be release in both 32-bit and 64-bit (x64 0nly). As in the past, SQL Express will available for download from the Microsoft Download Center and there will be multiple packages depending on your specific needs. The following types of packages will be released at RTM. (Not all of these will be available at RC0)

SQL Express

32-bit only installation package (x86 platforms only)

32-bit WoW installation package (x86 and x64 platforms)

64-bit native installation packages (x64 platforms only)

SQL Express Advanced

32-bit only installation package (x86 platforms only)

64-bit native installation packages (x64 platforms only)

Installing SQL Express products

SQL Server 2008 introduces some new prerequisites to installation and as in the past, these prerequisites are not included in the SQL Express packages. You must install these prerequisites manually before installing either SQL Express product or the installation will fail.

SQL Express prerequisites

.NET Framework 2.0 SP2

Windows Installer 4.5

SQL Express Advanced prerequisites

.NET Framework 3.5 SP1

Windows Installer 4.5

Windows PowerShell 1.0

Note 1: While the .NET Framework 2.0 SP2 is the technical prerequisite for the core SQL Express package, I've only found this available as part of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 (Beta at the time of RC0), which includes all services packs of the 2.0 and 3.0 release of the framework as well.

Note 2: You will need to reboot your computer after installing Windows Installer 4.5 on most platforms. SQL Server 2008 will fail to install if the reboot after Windows Installer 4.5 has not been completed.

Once all the pre-requisites have been installed you can install SQL Express or SQL Express Advanced by downloading the desired package and double clicking it to start the installation.

Download the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Beta from here.

Download Windows Installer 4.5 from here. (Pick the appropriate package for your environment.)

Download Windows PowerShell 1.0 from here. (Pick the appropriate package for your environment.)

Download SQL Server 2008 Express from here. (SQL Express links are at the bottom of the Instructions section.)

Getting Help

You can post Express specific question to the SQL Server Katmai Express forum.

You can post SQL Server 2008 general questions on the SQL Server Katmai forums.

You can file bugs and feature requests on SQL Server Connect site.

Have fun!

-Mike