Microsoft released their product SQL Server 2008 r2 in 2010. As it is usual with their products, MS SQL Server 2008 R2 also has an Express edition that is available for evaluation and use in small systems. Microsoft SQL Server 2008 r2 is available in Standard and Enterprise editions. Having tried out the SQL Server 2008 r2 Express, you would eventually graduate to either the standard or the Enterprise editions depending on your actual needs.  Two other special editions also were released with the MS SQL Server 2008 R2. These are the SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter and SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse. These two special editions were introduced to meet increasing demands for datacenters and parallel data warehouse applications (Business Intelligence applications).

As with other versions, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express edition is supplied free by Microsoft.  This facilitates your team becoming familiar with the database product, get used to developing web based and desktop applications, etc. You will need the help of Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Web Developer Express.

Some features added over the MS SQL Server 2008 R2 include the following:

  • A Master Data Services that helps in master data management
  • Multi Server Management, this is a feature that helps manage multiple instances of the server
  • Relational databases, reporting services, analysis and integration services are also managed by the multi server management feature



For getting started with the 2008 R2 you need to download the Express edition first. It is fairly simple to download and install. It is free to use, but you will need to get the product registered with Microsoft. Your team can start getting familiar with it right away. When the team gets into applications development activities, there is another issue you need to take into account. All such database applications need to have the database as part of the application and then the question is if you can re-distribute the database to a third party (your customer). This too is free for the Express edition, but you will have to apply and get the right approved by Microsoft.

The so-called core editions of Enterprise and Standard are the most popular ones of the SQL Server 2008 R2 product.  The SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard is positioned as the database tool for data management as well as business intelligence for departments and also the small and medium business segment. This configuration is supposed to take up minimum of IT resources. Some new features in the Standard edition are:

  • Backups could now be compressed significantly for faster backups
  • The SQL Server 2008 R2 could become a managed instance in applications that use multiple servers and need to manage them
  • Support for processing of complex events

The SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise is capable of delivering a data platform but provides the user a secure, highly available and scalable product. Business intelligence features are supported. Some new features in the Enterprise edition include:

  • Complex event processing support
  • Mater data service to make sure of data consistency
  • Support for SharePoint collaborative work
  • Up to 25 server instances could be managed with the available multi-server management

The Microsoft SQL 2008 R2 also offers a free Compact edition for applications on mobile devices besides desktop and the web.

Additional Resources on SQL 2008

  1. Sql server 2008 Tutorial
  2. Download SQL Server 2008 Management Studio
  3. Related info on MS SQL 2008