On April 1st, Microsoft made SQL Server 2014 generally available to the public. This included not only the main SQL Server 2014 Standard, Business Intelligence, Web, and Enterprise editions but also a new release of SQL Server 2014 Express editions. Like the earlier releases, all of the different SQL Server 2014 Express editions are completely free and they are completely capable of supporting small scale production applications.

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Like the earlier release, SQL Server 2014 Express is limited to using one physical processor, one GB of RAM, and databases are limited to 10 GB storage but you can have multiple 10GB databases. SQL Server 2014 has the following different editions:

  • SQL Server 2014 Express LocalDB—LocalDB is a lightweight version of Express that is primarily intended as a development tool. It supports all of primary programmability features as the other SQL Server relational databases but runs as a local application—not as a service. This means there’s no need to explicitly install it.
     
  • SQL Server 2014 Express—This edition of SQL Server 2014 only includes the SQL Server database engine. Suitable for small scale production databases this edition is often distributed by different ISVs along with their applications for their local database requirements. Notably, SQL Server 2014 Management Studio is not part of this edition. However, you can download and install it separately.
     
  • SQL Server 2014 Express with Tools—This version of SQL Server 2014 Express includes both the core relational database engine and SQL Server 2014 Management Studio. When you install this version  also you can optionally the LocalDB or the more capable service-based SQL Server Express engine. This version is suitable for developers and consultants who are creating and managing multiple small SQL Server databases.
     
  • SQL Server 2014 Express with Advanced Services—This is the most full featured member of the different SQL Server 2014 editions. It includes the SQL Server Express relational database engine, SQL Server 2014 Management Studio, the option to install LocalDB  as well as Full Text Search and Reporting Services. This version is best for small application developers who also wish to implement reporting with their applications.

Minimal Hardware Requirements

SQL Server 2014 Express has minimal hardware requirements. The Express Edition needs a 1 GHz or a faster processor. SQL Server 2014 Express and SQL Server Express with Tools require a minimum of 512 MB RAM. SQL Server Express with Advanced Services requires 4 GB if you’re using Reporting Services.

All of the editions of SQL Server 2014 Express are supported on the following operating systems:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 7 Service Pack 1
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

There are both x86 and x64 versions of all of the different SQL Server 2014 Express editions. You can download all of the SQL Server 2014 Express editions from the Microsoft Download Center. You can also ask your SQL Server Express questions at the Microsoft SQL Server Express Forum.

Related: Important New Features in SQL Server 2014