I’ve just been looking at installing Microsoft App-V and found to my frustration that you cannot install the App-V Server database components onto a server that doesn’t have SQL installed. Consequently I decided to look into the limitations of SQL Server Express Edition 2012 to see if it would be possible to use Express Edition for my App-V install instead of using lots of SQL licenses.
SQL Server Express Edition 2012 is basically a cut down version of SQL Server 2012, with a few limitations. These are mainly feature and performance limitations that stop people using SQL Express Edition (which is free) to replace paid versions of MSSQL.
The feature limitations of SQL Server Express Edition 2012 are too many to list, but to sumarize: SQL Server Express Edition 2012 includes the database, management tools, full text search and I was very impressed to notice that it also includes a version of Reporting Services! Particularly as Reporting Services is required for some components of App-V.
SQL Server Express Edition also supports mirroring as a witness only and has no limitations on the number of instances supported compared to paid versions: All of which support up to 50 instances of SQL.
SQL Express Edition 2012 also support replications as a subscriber only and Integration Services (in a limited capacity).
Probably the most significant limitation of SQL Server Express 2012 is it’s lack of SQL Agent, which poses problems running SQL jobs and scheduled backups in SQL.
Not a bad feature list for a free database.
SQL Server Express 2012 also has some performance limitations, specifically the database server is limited to 1GB of RAM and there is a maximum database size of 10GB in SQL Server Express 2012! There is one caveat to the RAM limitation, which is Reporting Services which has a 4GB RAM limitation, which is plenty for most applications.