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Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system developed by Microsoft.

As a database server, it is a software product with the primary function of storing and retrieving data as requested by other software applications—which may run either on the same computer or on another computer across a network (including the Internet).


There are various editions of SQL server:

               SQL Server Enterprise

   SQL Server Standard

   SQL Server Business Intelligence

The number of editions and their names and capabilities varies by version, Enterprise and Standard are available at a minimum. Depending on the version, there may also be some of the editions below available.

SQL Server Datacentre

SQL Server Web

SQL Server Business Intelligence

SQL Server Express

SQL Server Developer

                         NOTE:         Developer edition is functionally equivalent to Enterprise Edition

         It is FREE to use for Test & Development under the existing licensing for your SQL licensing, but          you are NOT allowed to use it for production work or for disaster recovery (DR)


Can I use SQL Server Express for Snow installation?

To answer this question, read below for the pros and cons of SQL Server Express.


SQL Server Express is a free version of Microsoft’s SQL Server.

SQL Server Express is the most basic offering available. It is a full database engine you can deploy to a server or embed into an application. Express is free and comes with many of the same features as the enterprise edition. SQL Server Express is probably most suited to supporting production applications for smaller to midsize businesses. A typical SQL Server Express use case would be a deployment by developers who do not want to create applications with a database hosted on a server. Using Express, they would be able to develop apps with their SQL Server database.


SQL Server Express Benefits

Some benefits come with an SQL Server Express deployment.

  • Cost: One huge advantage of SQL Server Express is that it is free. Your only outlay is the time investment you make downloading and setting up the system. If you only want to learn how to use SQL Server, then Express is for you.
  • Scalability: SQL Server Express is an ideal starting point for smaller independent software vendors since it can be used with any smaller application. The licensing allows Express to be included as part of an app or product.
  • Security: Within SQL Server Express there is the option of free online backup that will help to protect your valuable business data if anything goes wrong.
  • Features: While Express is the “lite” version of SQL Server, there is still an impressive range of features that you would have to pay for with other systems. Express supports native XML, and the SQL Common Language Runtime.



SQL Server Express Limitations

  • 1GB maximum memory used by the SQL Server Database Engine

  • The maximum size of each relational database is 10GB

  • SQL Agent is not included in Express. The SQL Agent is a background tool which enables administrators to automate tasks like backing up data, database replication setup, job scheduling, user permissions, and database monitoring.

  • The limit on the buffer cache for each instance is 1MB of RAM.

  • The relational database engine is restricted to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores.


The answer to this question is no, Express cannot be used. Snow products require the SQL Server Agent to run the overnight Data Update Job.

Additionally, the 10GB database limitation is far too restrictive for the size of database most customers. An example of this database size would be under 1000 units the estimated size of the Snow License Manager database would be in the region of 15GB.


For guidance on which edition to use, please refer to the Snow System Requirements document which can be found here 


Further edition functionality comparisons can be found at the following links:

Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2017

Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2016

Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2014