SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition – lightweight, free, flexible datastore – available as Release Candidate 1

SQL Server 2005I'm hanging out at the Visual Studio booth in the Ask the Expert area at Tech Ed Europe: Developers.  I took a swing around the Ask the Experts area to see what's going on, and to meet some of the folks from the product teams. 

I met two guys from the SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition team, Manikandan Thangarathnam and Sitraram Raju, who informed me that SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition Release Candidate 1 was just released to the web. 

Wait a sec, says me... what's SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition? 

It's the Technology Formerly Known as SQL Server Everywhere.  I wrote about it previously and explained how it contributes to the big SQL picture a lightweight, free, flexible database for use in compact devices.  Here's now I explained it then:

SQL Server 2005's Express Edition is free, it supports database sizes up to 4GB, it allows seamless upgrades to other SQL Server editions, and it's deeply integrated into Visual Studio.  What more could you possibly ask for?

Well, sometimes SQL Express is a little heavyweight.  When you want to work with data in "sometimes connected" scenarios (such as field force automation), what you really want may be just a simple, reliable datastore for your application which you might merge with another datastore when online.  With a runtime that doesn't run as a service, and takes a little less memory.

As I mentioned, SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition is availble today as Release Candidate 1, and the final version will be released to the web before the end of the calendar year.

I grabbed a Resource Kit DVD from the SQL booth, but apparently most of the material is also available online. Start your investigation at the SQL Server Compact Edition blog.

Comments (9)

  1. Tom Raftery says:

    "What more could you possibly ask for?"

    How about a Mac version? I can get a Mac version of mySql – why not a Mac version of SQL Server?

  2. RobBurke says:

    Tom, you may be interested in submitting a feature wish to the SQL team: http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=24396&.  It should go without saying, though, that right now I’m looking forward to first having SQL Compact Edition on Windows and on the PocketPC.  SQL Server Databases can be accessed from Macs.  In fact I saw a demo of same here on the exhibition floor, from the Teamprise guys, who allow you to work with Team Foundation Server from Eclipse on a Mac client.

  3. Tom Raftery says:

    "SQL Server Databases can be accessed from Macs."

    Sure Rob, but look at this way. If I am in a startup situation and I need an RDBMS for dev. If most of my machines are Macs (or Linux), am I going to:

    1. Splash out for a Windows machine so I can run SQL Server? or

    2. Set up a LAMP server?

    If Microsoft want to get into the startup space (the most interesting space around right now imho and possibly where many of the next decade’s enterprise customers will come from) you need to support other platforms for hosting SQL Server.

  4. RobBurke says:

    I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with your logic, Tom.  You may not be aware of the variety of options that are available to startups who are considering the Microsoft server platform for their data tier.  Our group at Microsoft Ireland can, quite literally, not adequately keep up with the demand we get from local startups (and larger ISVs) who see the value of the platform for the data tier and want to find the best on-ramp.  You may have noticed – we’re hiring two more evangelists! 🙂

    Anyway, happy to take this up with you in more detail when back in Dublin.  Also, to be clear, I’m not the licensing expert, so drop me a line if you want me to put you in touch with one.  

  5. RobBurke says:

    Oh – btw Tom – one place I totally agree with you is that the startup space is very exciting!  I believe Microsoft has a lot of work to do around articulating its offerings for startups and young companies.  I didn’t know about them at all before joining.

  6. I have to echo Tom’s comments re startups Rob. When I worked in large corporations I loved MS SQL – an infinitely more accessible DB for new developers than the hell that was Oracle. But now I’m in a startup, free beats non-free every time and I don’t just mean free dev tools. I had one suggestion on how Microsoft could solve that problem over at the <a href="http://blog.loudervoice.com/2006/11/10/the-technology-under-the-hood/">LouderVoice blog</a>

  7. RobBurke says:

    Cheers Conor.  Two opportunities come to mind I just want to make sure you’ve herad of: one is the free SQL Server Express Edition, and the second, perhaps more fundamentally, is the Empower program which gives ISVs access to all the developer and platform technologies for a very low cost, and acts as an on-ramp to the Partner programs.  I’ll have a look at your blog thoughts and come back with more.  We’ve got just a few minutes left here at Tech Ed – gotta try to soak it up! 🙂

  8. What sort of low-cost are we talking about on the Empower programme?

  9. RobBurke says:

    Conor, send me a mail (robburke at microsoft dot com) – I will connect you with Ciara Murphy, who runs the Empower program here in Ireland.

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