sql-server-express-setup-installation-page-standard-differenceIt is a common misconception that SQL Express 2016 cannot or should not be used in production environments.  SQL Express 2016 (and SQL Express 2014 and 2012 and…) are most certainly licenced to be used in production at no cost.  In fact, for most small and medium applications the only significant difference between SQL Standard and SQL Express are performance and backup.

SQL Server Standard provides a very high level of performance that many applications will not need.  Often the end user cannot tell the difference between SQL Express and SQL Standard performance because humans cannot detect results returned in .005 seconds from SQL Standard appear vs .05 seconds from SQL Server Express.

Below is a nearly complete list of features in SQL Server Express and SQL Server Standard in decreasing order of importance (for most small and medium applications)




10GBUnlimitedMaximum Database Size
4 Cores24 CoresMaximum Number of CPU Cores
.35GB32GBMaximum Memory Per Database
1.2GB128GBMaximum Memory Buffer (Per Instance)
.35GB32GBMaximum Memory Columnstore Segment (Per Instance)
4GB64GBMaximum Memory for Reporting Services (Per Instance)
NoYesTwo Node High Availability
NoYesSQL Server Agent
NoYesDatabase Mail
NoYesSQL Server Analysis Services
NoYesReplication to Azure
NoYesEncrypted Backup
NoYesBackup to Azure
NoYesSystem Center Operations Manager Management Pack
NoYesDatabase Tuning Advisor
 . . .
YesYesSQL Manager GUI
UnlimitedUnlimitedMaximum Number of Databases
YesYesFull Text Support
YesYesChange Tracking
YesYesDatabase Snapshots
YesYesBasic & Full Auditing
YesYesPowershell Scripting
YesYesSysPrep Support
YesYesVisual Studio Integration
YesYesInternationalized Versions
YesYesSQL Server Migration Assistant


To confirm these numbers you can wade through Microsofts own SQL Server Comparison charts HERE and HERE .




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