Introduction

The most well known differences between SQL Express and other editions are the caps on database size (10GB) and lack of a SQL Agent feature. There are many other differences though, some of which can be extremely important for some application and architecture requirements.

Due to the rarity of SQL Server Business Intelligence, SQL Server Web Edition, SQL Server Datacenter, and other versions, they will not be included in the below comparisons.

The features included below are selected base on overall popularity and value, and do not represent every feature of SQL Server nor all of the parity between editions.

Versions

Also see the Feature Comparison FAQ for clarification on terminology.

SQL 2008 R2

The complete listing for SQL 2008 R2 is available from on MSDN ‘s Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2008 R2.

Feature Enterprise Standard Express Express w/ Advanced Services
Max. Compute Capacity (per instance) 8 4 1 1
Max. Memory (per instance) 2TB 64GB 1GB 1GB
Max. database size 524PB 524PB 10GB 10GB
Log Shipping Yes Yes No No
Mirroring Yes Yes As Witness As Witness
Backup Compression Yes Yes No No
Database Snapshots Yes No No No
AlwaysOn No No No No
Encrypted Backups No No No No
Table/index Partitioning Yes No No No
Compression Yes No No No
Resource Governor Yes No No No
In-Memory OLTP No No No No
Basic Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fine Grained Auditing Yes No No No
Contained Databases No No No No
Backup Encryption No No No No
Change Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merge Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Snapshot Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
P2P Transactional Replication Yes No No No
SQL Server Agent Yes Yes No No
Dedicated Admin Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerShell SMO Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
CLR Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import/Export Wizard No No No No

SQL 2012

The complete listing for SQL 2012 is available from on MSDN ‘s Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2012.

Feature Enterprise Standard Express Express w/ Advanced Services
Max. Compute Capacity (per instance) OS Max. Lesser of 4 sockets / 16 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores
Max. Memory (per instance) OS Max. 64GB 1GB 1GB
Max. database size 524PB 524PB 10GB 10GB
Log Shipping Yes Yes No No
Mirroring Yes Yes As Witness As Witness
Backup Compression Yes Yes No No
Database Snapshots Yes No No No
AlwaysOn Yes No No No
Encrypted Backups No No No No
No. of Instances per Server 50 50 50 50
Table/index Partitioning Yes No No No
Compression Yes No No No
Resource Governor Yes No No No
In-Memory OLTP No No No No
Basic Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fine Grained Auditing Yes No No No
Contained Databases Yes Yes Yes Yes
Backup Encryption No No No No
Change Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merge Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Snapshot Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
P2P Transactional Replication Yes No No No
SQL Server Agent Yes Yes No No
Dedicated Admin Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerShell SMO Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
CLR Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import/Export Wizard Yes Yes Yes Yes

SQL 2014

The complete listing for SQL 2014 is available from on MSDN ‘s Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2014.

Feature Enterprise Standard Express Express w/ Advanced Services
Max. Compute Capacity (per instance) OS Max. Lesser of 4 sockets / 16 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores
Max. Memory (per instance) OS Max. 128GB 1GB 1GB
Max. database size 524PB 524PB 10GB 10GB
Log Shipping Yes Yes No No
Mirroring Yes Yes As Witness As Witness
Backup Compression Yes Yes No No
Database Snapshots Yes No No No
Basic AlwaysOn Yes Yes No No
Encrypted Backups Yes Yes No No
No. of Instances per Server 50 50 50 50
Table/index Partitioning Yes No No No
Compression Yes No No No
Resource Governor Yes No No No
In-Memory OLTP Yes No No No
Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contained Databases Yes Yes Yes Yes
Change Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merge Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Snapshot Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
P2P Transactional Replication Yes No No No
SQL Server Agent Yes Yes No No
Dedicated Admin Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerShell SMO Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Full Text Search Yes Yes No Yes
CLR Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import/Export Wizard Yes Yes Yes Yes

SQL 2016

The complete listing for SQL 2016 is available from on Microsoft Docs’ Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2016.

Feature Enterprise Standard Express Express w/ Advanced Services
Max. Compute Capacity (per instance) OS Max. Lesser of 4 sockets / 24 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores
Max. Buffer Pool Memory (per instance) OS Max. 128GB 1410MB 1410MB
Max. Columnstore Cache Memory (per instance) Unlimited 32GB 352MB 352MB
Max. Memory-Optimized Data Size (per instance) Unlimited 32GB 352MB 352MB
Max. database size 524PB 524PB 10GB 10GB
Log Shipping Yes Yes No No
Mirroring Yes Yes As Witness As Witness
Backup Compression Yes Yes No No
Database Snapshots Yes No No No
AlwaysOn AG Yes No No No
Basic Availability Groups Yes Yes (2 nodes) No No
Encrypted Backups Yes Yes No No
Table/index Partitioning Yes Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+)
Compression Yes Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+)
Resource Governor Yes No No No
In-Memory OLTP Yes Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+)
Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fine Grained Auditing Yes Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+) Yes (SP1+)
Contained Databases Yes Yes Yes Yes
Change Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merge Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Snapshot Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
P2P Transactional Replication Yes No No No
SQL Server Agent Yes Yes No No
Dedicated Admin Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerShell SMO Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Full Text Search Yes Yes No Yes
CLR Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import/Export Wizard Yes Yes Yes Yes

SQL 2017

The complete listing for SQL 2017 is available from on Microsoft Docs’ Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2017.

Feature Enterprise Standard Express Express w/ Advanced Services
Max. Compute Capacity (per instance) OS Max. Lesser of 4 sockets / 24 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores Lesser of 1 socket / 4 cores
Max. Buffer Pool Memory (per instance) OS Max. 128GB 1410MB 1410MB
Max. Columnstore Cache Memory (per instance) Unlimited 32GB 352MB 352MB
Max. Memory-Optimized Data Size (per instance) Unlimited 32GB 352MB 352MB
Max. database size 524PB 524PB 10GB 10GB
Log Shipping Yes Yes No No
Mirroring Yes Yes As Witness As Witness
Backup Compression Yes Yes No No
Database Snapshots Yes Yes Yes Yes
AlwaysOn AG Yes No No No
Basic Availability Groups Yes Yes (2 nodes) No No
Encrypted Backups Yes Yes No No
Table/index Partitioning Yes Yes Yes Yes
Buffer Pool Extension Yes Yes No No
Compression Yes Yes Yes Yes
Resource Governor Yes No No No
In-Memory OLTP Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fine Grained Auditing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dynamic Data Masking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Always Encrypted Yes Yes Yes Yes
Contained Databases Yes Yes Yes Yes
Change Tracking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Merge Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
Transactional Replication to Azure Yes Yes No No
Snapshot Replication Yes Yes As Subscriber As Subscriber
P2P Transactional Replication Yes No No No
SQL Server Agent Yes Yes No No
Dedicated Admin Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes
PowerShell SMO Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Full Text Search Yes Yes No Yes
CLR Integration Yes Yes Yes Yes
Import/Export Wizard Yes Yes Yes Yes

FAQ

What is the difference between Basic Auditing and Fine Grained Auditing?

These terms are only used in Microsoft feature comparison documents, but not SQL Server documentation, so their use is often unclear to many. Basic auditing refers to server level audits while fine grained auditing refers to audits at the database level.