SQL Server Data-Tier Application Framework (October 2012) Available!

What’s new?

This release of the Data-Tier Application Framework (DACFx) brings fixes for issues in earlier releases and several major updates. Many scenarios have been improved including those in other DACFx client tools such as SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Updates include:

  •  Support for Native BCP data format

    • Previously the data format used to store table data inside DACPAC and BACPAC packages was JSON – with this October update, we have moved to Native BCP as the data persistence format.
    • This change brings improved SQL Server data type fidelity to DACFx including support for SQL_Variant types as well as enhanced data deployment performance for large scale databases
  • Support for Selective XML Index

    • The upcoming release of SQL Server 2012 SP1 will include support for a new T-SQL construct and SQL Server engine feature, Selective XML Index (SXI) – a new way of indexing XML column data with increased performance and efficiency.
    • DACFx now supports SXI indexes across all DAC scenarios and client tools.
    • You can try out this new SQL Server feature today by downloading the CTP of SQL Server 2012 SP1 available here.
  • Preservation of Check Constraint state across package creation/deployment

    • Previously, DACFx did not preserve the state (WITH CHECK/NOCHECK) of check constraints defined on tables in the database schema or store this information inside DACPACs – this could lead to potential issues on package deployment when there is existing table data that violates check constraints.
    • DACFx now stores the current state of check constraints within the DACPAC when extracted from a database and appropriately restores this state upon package deployment.
  • Package compatibility

    • This release introduces several forward compatibility scenarios for DAC packages.
      • All DAC packages created by this release that do not contain SXI elements or table data may be consumed by previous releases of DACFx (SQL Server 2012 RTM, SQL Server 2012 CU1, and DACFx September, 2012).
    • Additionally, all DAC packages created by previous versions of DACFx can be consumed by this release.

How can I get it?

You can obtain this new version of DACFx and its dependencies from our Microsoft Download Center page here. This version of DACFx supersedes all previously available versions. This new version of DACFx supports in-place upgrade from previous versions, so it is not required to remove previous DACFx installations before upgrading to this new release.


This release of DACFx is compatible with the November 2012 release of  SQL Server Data Tools released on 11/7, available here. This release is also compatible with SSMS of SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 SP1.


If you experience any issues or have any feedback, please let us know via the forum or Connect. We look forward to hearing from you!