SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition is Free

| by Jonathan Allen Follow 396 Followers on Jun 02, 2016. Estimated reading time: less than one minute |

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In conjunction with the release of SQL Server 2016, Microsoft has announced that the Developer Edition of SQL Server will be free. In order to take advantage of this offer, you will need to be a member of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Dev Essentials program.

The Visual Studio Dev Essentials program, which is also free, is the channel through which Visual Studio Community and Visual Studio Code are offered. Also included are various Azure products, Microsoft R Server, and free training from a variety of vendors.

SQL Server 2016 Developer edition differs from their other free offering, SQL Server Express, in two ways. Unlike SQL Server Express, it cannot be used in production environments. However, it does have the advantage of including all of the SQL Server Enterprise features. This allows developers to experiment with Clustered Columnstore, Memory Optimized Tables, and other advanced features.

There is a downside to this however- there is no developer equivalent to the less expensive SQL Server 2016 Standard edition. So developers planning on targeting that edition need to be extra careful that they don’t accidentally introduce an Enterprise-only feature into their codebase.

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does it matter? by Beren Erchamion

there are so many free choices, does this really matter?

Re: does it matter? by Jonathan Allen

In theory, SQL Server offers much better performance on high-end hardware than any of the free relational databases. But without anyone offering solid benchmarks, we don't know if that's true or not.

Heck, even with NoSQL databases we don't have solid benchmarks. People love to show off using commodity hardware, but I've never seen someone publically run a test using enterprise grade hardware.

Re: does it matter? by peter weissbrod

There are literally hundreds of variables, but the TPC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to benchmarking performance/efficiency of data systems.

The hardware is a major factor, as is the type of schema (OLAP vs OLTP) types of joins, distributed/clustered etc. Normally when someone researches TPC it is because they have special scenarios in mind, e.g.: pairing the right hardware with the right DBMS for aggregation intensive operations of high volume with low cache across tiered storage.

Re: does it matter? by Omar Jaber

It is also free on Azure. Get an Azure subscription free trial and use SQL Server 2016 Developer for free.

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