As a DBA or Developers it is important to have a SQL Server instance to be able to install and use it to understand the working and usage for the applications. So far, DBAs mostly rely on the free Evaluation edition of SQL Server provided by the Microsoft team. This Evaluation edition expires after 180 days, after which we need to purchase a license and upgrade the Evaluation edition to licensed edition depending on our requirement. Microsoft offers different editions for different purposes, like Enterprise edition for important and critical production applications, Standard edition for less critical applications to reduce the cost of the licensing, Developer edition specifically for developers for development and unit testing the applications before moving to production environment. Previously, most developers preferred buying developer edition as the cost is less and is is specifically released for the purpose and it consists of all features available in enterprise edition and also it could be easily upgraded to enterprise edition if required.
Starting with SQL Server 2014, Microsoft has made a decision to make the SQL Server developer edition free of cost for the developers through Visual Studio Dev Essentials members. Once you login as Visual Studio Dev Essentials members, you will be able to download the SQL Server Developer edition and use it for free of cost. This decision was taken inorder for developers to leverage the capabilities that SQL Server 2014 and higher has to offer for their applications and also this is considered as another step for making SQL Server more accessible to the users which helps in spreading the SQL Server in more companies. However, it is important to keep in mind that SQL Server Developer Edition is still specifically for development and testing purposes only, and not to be used in production environments or not to be used with any production data.
Few important things to keep in mind are below.
– This only includes SQL Server Developer Edition and does not include Operating System license or license for any other products.
– SQL Server 2016 developer edition is also will be made available free under same program and this will mostly be continued with the future releases of SQL Server.
In case you are not part of Visual Studio Dev Essentials members, then you may either buy SQL Server developer edition or can try other options available in the market like SQL Server Evaluation edition. If the application is small and not so critical, you may even choose trying SQL Server Express edition. Hope you will get your free developer edition and explore the new features available like InMemory OLTP and other features.
Hope this was helpful.
This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server
SQL Server 2014
SQL Server 2016
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