Minimum Requirements to Run SQL Server 2012 Express and SQL Server Management Studio

Minimum Requirements to Run SQL Server 2012 Express and SQL Server Management Studio
To begin, please make sure the computer you will be using meets these minimum requirements:

  • Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista (SP2 or later).
  • Internet Explorer 7 or higher. A free download is available from Microsoft — please click here.
  • For 32-bit systems, 1 GHz Intel or compatible processor (2 GHz or higher recommended).
  • For 64-bit systems, 1.4 GHz Intel or compatible processor (2 GHz or higher recommended).
  • 512 MB RAM (1 GB or more is recommended) and at least 2.2 GB of hard disk space for SQL Server Express and related components, plus at least 1 GB for ReliaSoft desktop applications.
  • SVGA display (1,024×768 pixels)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 AND Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. (.NET 3.5 is no longer included in the SQL Server installation; if it is not already on your computer, a free download is available from Microsoft– please click here. .NET 4.0 is included in the SQL Server 2012 installation files or a free download is also available separately from Microsoft — please click here.)
  • Microsoft Office 2000 or higher (Excel and Word) for automated report generation.

    These requirements satisfy the minimum specifications for SQL Server 2012 Express, SQL Server Management Studio Express and ReliaSoft desktop applications. For more details on Microsoft’s recommended minimum specifications for SQL Server 2012 Express, click here. For more details on our recommended minimum specifications for ReliaSoft applications, click here.

Mssql Server Comparison

Microsoft SQL server is the most popular and advanced Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)
by Microsoft. It is basically a software-based product and its primary role is storage and retrieval of data as per the request of the applications on
either the same system or a system on another network.

It supports large applications with millions of users or huge databases with advanced
features and security. SQL Server is fully compatible with MS Access database.
Data can be easily imported or exported between these two.

Microsoft SQL server is widely used for e-commerce, line-of-business, and data warehousing solutions.
There are dozens of different editions or versions of Microsoft SQL server provided by
Microsoft with different feature sets and pricing options. From many of them,
we are going to discuss two editions in this article. They are Microsoft SQL Server Express edition and Microsoft SQL Server Web edition.

Microsoft SQL Server Express edition

It is a scaled down, entry-level database option to learn and build desktop and small server
applications. It provides a number of features of the paid editions but some technical limitations
in terms of database size and the number of users make it unsuitable for large-scale installations.
Thus, it is a good choice for developers, independent software vendors (ISVs) and for those who build small client applications.

In case you need more advanced features of the database, SQL server express edition can be
upgraded to high-end versions. There are various versions of Microsoft SQL server express edition.
Here is a summary with the years in which they were released:

2017 None
2016 SP1
2014 SP1 and SP2
2012 SP1, SP2 and SP3
2008 R2 RTM, R2 SP1 and R2 SP2
2005 SP1, SP2, SP3 and SP4


  • There is no requirement of a license for using it, as it is free for distribution.
  • It is an easy to use version, designed for building simple data-driven applications up to 10 GB in size.
  • Includes SQL Server Management Studio. This helps administrators and developers of different skill levels use SQL Server efficiently.
  • Applications develop faster through the deep integration with Visual Web Developer, Visual Studio, and so on.
  • Enhanced reporting services help create and share reports that answer complex questions through rich visualizations.
  • Easy backup and restore functionality to Microsoft Azure.
  • It comes with same monitoring tools that come with Standard and Enterprise editions.
  • It comes with various security features  – row-level security, always encrypted, dynamic data masking, basic auditing, and fine-grained auditing. One also gets features like user- defined roles and contained databases.
  • It allows one to install Machine Learning services with both Python and R language.
  • It allows you to scale your applications across Server editions as you grow – without modifying application code.
  • It’s completely supported by Microsoft, including updates and patches from time to time.


  • SQL Server Express can be installed on a server with many CPUs. But, it can use only one CPU at a time.
  • 4GB database size limit was there for SQL2005/2008 but after 2008R2 it has been increased to up to 10GB for each database. The limit is applicable on database data files and not log files.
  • Can only use a maximum of 1410 MB memory per instance.
  • There’s no SQL Server Agent with the Express edition.
  • The performance analysis tool, Profiler, is not included with the SQL Server Express edition.
  • The functionality to create and attach a schedule to a job (Job Scheduler) is not available with the express edition.
  • Analysis and Integration Services are also not provided, but you can import or export the data with SQL Server Import and Export Wizard feature available with the SQL server express.

Microsoft SQL Server Web edition


  • You can centrally manage your business infrastructure with its SQL Management Studio and management packs.
  • Provides an added support for Windows PowerShell to automate various management tasks.
  • Has robust development tools integrated into Visual Studio to support next-generation enterprise, web, business intelligence, mobile applications and so on.
  • You get Distributed Replay feature that helps you assess the impact of future upgrades of server, hardware and operating system upgrades.
  • You get SQL Server Agent, which can be used for scheduling maintenance tasks like backups and monitoring their execution status.
  • You can optimize queries with DTA (Database Tuning Advisor).
  •   If you are a DB administrator, you can collect performance related data using in-build performance data collectors.
  • Provides strong support for content management.


  • Buffer pool extension is not available.
  • Analysis services are not there.
  • Not available to be purchased by the public. It is only for the web hosting providers through an SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement).

Important differences between MS SQL Server Express edition and Web edition 

  1. Cross box scale limits:
    Feature name Web edition Express edition
    Maximum memory utilized 64 GB 1410 MB
    Maximum compute capacity Limited to < 4 Sockets or 16 cores Limited to < 1 Socket or 4 cores
    Maximum relational database size 524 PB 10 GB
  2. Management tools:
    Feature name Web edition Express edition
    Distributed replay – Admin tool Yes No
    Distributed replay – Client Yes No
    Distributed replay – Controller Yes (1 Client) No
    SQL server agent Yes No
    Microsoft System Center Operations Manager Management Pack Yes No
  3. RDBMS Manageability:
    Feature name Web edition Express edition
    User instances No Yes
    Dedicated admin connection Yes Yes (with trace flag)
    Policy automation Yes No
    Performance data collector Yes No
    Standard performance reports Yes No
    PowerShell scripting support Yes Yes
    Direct query of indexed views Yes Yes
  4. Programmability:
    Feature name Web edition Express edition
    Full-text and semantic search Yes No
    Basic R & Python integration Yes No
    JSON Yes Yes
    Native XML support Yes Yes
    Specification of language in query Yes No
    Transact-SQL endpoints Yes No
  5. Reporting services:
    Feature name Web edition Express edition
    Supported catalog database Yes Yes
    Supported data source Yes Yes
    Role-based security Yes Yes (with advanced services)
    Export to Excel, PowerPoint, Word, PDF & images Yes Yes (with advanced services)
    Report server Yes Yes (with advanced services)
    Report designer Yes Yes (with advanced services)

Docker – Mssql – Server : Environment Variables

Environment Variables

You can use environment variables to configure SQL Server on Linux Containers.

ACCEPT_EULA confirms your acceptance of the End-User Licensing Agreement.

SA_PASSWORD is the database system administrator (userid = ‘sa’) password used to connect to SQL Server once the container is running. Important note: This password needs to include at least 8 characters of at least three of these four categories: uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and non-alphanumeric symbols.

MSSQL_PID is the Product ID (PID) or Edition that the container will run with. Acceptable values:

  • Developer : This will run the container using the Developer Edition (this is the default if no MSSQL_PID environment variable is supplied)
  • Express : This will run the container using the Express Edition
  • Standard : This will run the container using the Standard Edition
  • Enterprise : This will run the container using the Enterprise Edition
  • EnterpriseCore : This will run the container using the Enterprise Edition Core : This will run the container with the edition that is associated with the PID


For a complete list of environment variables that can be used, refer to the documentation here.


Download PDF: This Post as PDF  and More (Configure SQL Server settings with environment variables – SQL Server _ Microsoft Docs)


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