SQL Server Express 2005, Finally Installed
Back in February I blogged about my less than successful attempt at installing Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005. The comments from that post confirmed that I was not alone in these issues.
A helpful Microsoft employee has also posted some comments, with links to specific versions of .NET you need to install. They released a community beta release in June, so I decided to give it another go. After a few hours of tinkering, I did get it installed, and I'm a bit unimpressed with SQL Server Express Manager - more on that below.
So here's what I did this time to get it working:
- Uninstall any .NET frameworks you have installed.
- Install .NET Framework version 2.0.50215.312
- Reboot - Even though you aren't prompted to reboot, you want to do it now, otherwise the SQL Server Express 2005 installer will fail saying that you have unfinished installations that need a reboot. They are nice enough to get you half way through the installation before telling you this.
- Install SQL Server 2005 Express June CTP, build 9.00.1187
- Install The Microsoft SQL Server Express Manager June CTP
Though it took me way longer than it should have to install, there were some good points to all this. Microsoft has disabled a lot of features by default, including network connections. You can use the surface area tool to enable these features.
SQL Server 2005 Express also comes with the SQL Server Configuration Manager pretty much all this allows you to configure are network security settings.
Connecting to SQL Express Manager
You would think that connecting to your SQL Server Express Manager wouldn't be too hard, simply enter your hostname, and login. So I put localhost in the Server Instance box. When you try that however you get a connection timeout:
Cannot connect to localhost
Timeout expired. The timeout period elapsed prior to completion of the operation or the server is not responding. (Microsoft SQL Server)
Okay, so I probably have some ports locked down, on windows firewall, or in SQL Server express. After disabling pretty much all network security, and the windows xp firewall, I was still getting the error.
Somehow I realized that you need to enter it as follows: computer_name\SQLSERVER_INSTANCE_NAME your SQL Server Express instance name will probably be SQLEXPRESS.
The SQL Server Express Manager
So now that I'm finally in the SQL Server Express Manager, I am expecting it to be somewhat like SQL Server Enterprise Manager. As I found out, it is very limited.
You can't really manage your server with it at all. It provides a read only view of your SQL Express Server, and allows you to run SQL statements.
In other words, you can see the tables you have, but you can't edit them, there isn't even a way to easily generate a
SELECT * from tableName; by right clicking. You can also see Views, Stored Procedures, and users, but you can't manage any of these objects unless you execute system stored procedures manually. The only option in the right click menu is Refresh.
Another problem is that the query editor seams to always default to the
master database, even if your focus is on an other one.
Needless to say I was a bit disappointed with SQL Express Manager. Unless I'm missing something, it seams to be pretty useless.
Microsoft is clearly leaving it up to third parties to provide a decent manager for SQL Server Express. The one thing that sets SQL Server apart from other databases is the ease of administration, this however does not appear to be a feature in the Express version.
I guess I can't forget that SQL Server Express is free.
The database engine
The actual database engine looks to be interesting, and a big step up from MSDE, but I haven't yet had time play with it. I'll post more on that when I get a chance.
Microsoft is clearly positioning SQL Server 2005 Express to compete with open source databases. But I think they have gone too far. The installation will take you a long time if you don't have the proper dependencies installed, and it is lacking in GUI management tools.
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SQL Server Express 2005, Finally Installed was first published on September 07, 2005.
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