Due to not wanting to pay licenses my company is still using SQL Server 2000 for new projects.
This is very limiting for multiple reasons.
I'm wondering what are the limitations of using SQL Server Express 2008?
Is there any reason NOT to use it to power ASP.Net MVC3 websites?

  • 3
    You might find better answers for this on StackOverflow or ServerFault, but I'd say the main reasons would be scalability and reliability. I've used SQL Server Express and SQL Server Compact for some small test/dev projects but I would be nervous about using it in a production environment beyond a very small deployment.
    – jfrankcarr
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:43
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    there is actually a dba s.e site as well @jfrankcarr
    – Tjaart
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:43
  • @Tjaart - Thanks. I hadn't noticed that one before. It seems like there are so many s.e. sites now.
    – jfrankcarr
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:45
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    @Rig: if you've got more than 10gb of data in a Sql 2000 db you probably should be very scared already. Aug 16, 2012 at 15:16
  • 1
    @Rig : I probably would too. That and I'd switch to postgres ASAP. Aug 16, 2012 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


Sql Server 2008 R2 Express has the following limitation:

  • 10GB size limit per database
  • No agent to run scheduled tasks
  • Limited to run on 1 physical cpu (will use multiple cores on the single cpu)
  • 1GB ram limit

If you can run your app within these limits then you could upgrade from SQL Server 2000 to 2008 Express.


SQL Server 2012 Standard licensing runs around $1800 / core (not physical socket) (with a 4 core minimum requirement) or $900 server license + $200 per CAL (Client Access License)

The database is the heart of the company and stores all their information, it's a worth while investment to spend $7200 to upgrade to an updated and currently supported version of the database server software.

  • 2
    You do get sqlcmd though, which means you can run scheduled tasks using Task Scheduler presuming you can craft the scripts. Aug 16, 2012 at 15:16
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    $7200 is a lot of money for some companies or departments who're working with tight budgets. Also, some are notoriously tight with IT budgets. I've worked at a couple of companies that even prying loose $100 for a tool or something like that was worse than having a tooth pulled.
    – jfrankcarr
    Aug 16, 2012 at 15:22

Let me explain the risks of developing in Express 2008 if you might ever run up on those limits. You will not be able to easily convert back to the SQL Server 2000 license if you use any newer features. If you don't use any newer features, they why not use SQL Server 2000? If you use the Express version and after a few months it runs into those limits, are you then going to have the money you don't have now to buy a new version? Are you then going to have the time to get it in place or the time to convert backwards?

If you use the Express version and it hits the limits quickly and you were told to use 2000, then you will probably get fired.

If you think you cannot solve the problems you have with the feratures of 2000 (you didn't say where you thought 2000 was inadequate), then make a business case to upgrade. But don't forget to factor in the cost of upgrading existing systems and the cost of getting dbas trained on the new software if the upgrade will need to replace some or all of the existing databases.

Database sepcialists understand the cost and risk of moving data to a new version which is one reason why they tend to be very conservative about doing so. While I agree that it is past time to leave SQL Server 2000, you will have to build a very strong business case to take the risk of breaking something working so that you can play with new features you may or may not actually need. Database upgrades are inherently risky, if you want to upgrade then the onus is on you to prove the need.

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