In this course, we're going to work with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. This is the latest version of SQL Server, released in April 2010. R2 added several features on top of the first release of SQL Server 2008, although the purposes of an Essential Training course like this, the R2 part really doesn't matter. In fact, most of the core things we're going to talk about are very similar to even earlier versions like SQL Server 2005.
But SQL Server 2008 R2 is the latest version. It's what we're going to use. Now although, SQL Server 2008 R2 is the version that we're using, the capabilities of it will differ depending on the edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 that you have, because this product has been around for 20 years. The same way that Microsoft Office is now available in different editions, SQL Server has fragmented into about ten editions with different feature sets for different audiences.
So there is a Compact edition for mobile devices. There is a Web edition specific for making web sites. There is an Express Edition, which is free. There is the Azure edition for hosting your databases in the cloud, all the way up to super high-end versions for data centers and data warehouses that can handle hundreds of terabytes of data. Now rather than go through some kind of matrix of the different editions feature-by-feature, which I can assure you is not that helpful right now, I suggest that you just forget about all the different editions, because we're interested in one of them.
SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition. This is the classic edition of SQL Server. So in this course, I'm not going to talk about the super-advanced, super-expensive edition for data centers, nor am I going to talk explicitly about the cut-down version of SQL Server intended for being embedded on a mobile device. We're working with the Standard edition. The core features of SQL Server found in the core product. If you have a different edition, that's okay, because everything you'd learn from the Standard edition can be taken to the other editions later on if you need.
Now while that is the focus of this course, there is one more edition worth mentioning. SQL Server 2008 R2 Express edition. This Express edition is free to download and free to use, so you can install and run it on your own desktop or your laptop. It's great for developing small applications and websites, for experimenting, and just for learning how to work with SQL Server and database development. so we'll see that one too. Of course, there are going to be differences between the Standard and Express editions.
As you might expect, the free version does not have as many features as the full version, but Express is surprisingly full-featured and it's not going to be until later in the course that we'll see where Express leaves off. I'll be very clear where that happens and where the differences are. So SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition is the one we'll concentrate on in this course, and it's the one we need to understand.
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