SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition: Installation and Key Features
7 min

SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition: Installation and Key Features

7 min

Microsoft SQL Server has long been a trusted solution for data management and application development. With the release of the new SQL Server 2022, Microsoft expands the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of data-driven projects, which includes numerous new capabilities and improvements.

SQL Server Developer Edition is a specific edition created to provide SQL server developers with strong tools and capabilities. SQL Server 2022 Developer is a free tool that enables you to precisely and effectively develop, test, and optimise applications, regardless of your level of experience. In this article, we provide a brief explanation of the SQL Server Developer edition, its features, benefits, download process, system requirements, and limitations. Further in this article you can also find a comparison between SQL Server Developer and SQL Server Express.

What is SQL Server Developer?

With the use of SQL Server Developer, programmers and developers can construct any form of application on top of SQL Server. This edition includes all features of SQL Enterprise, however, it can only be used as a test and development system. This means that companies cannot use SQL Server Developer as a live server or for production. Nevertheless, for users who develop and test applications, SQL Server Developer is a sufficient solution.

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 banner

SQL Server Developer: Key Features

Below you can read more about the key features that SQL Server Developer can offer you.

Integrated testing and development environment

SQL Server Developer Edition offers an integrated testing environment that simplifies the development of applications. You can design, build, and debug your applications within a single environment, ensuring uninterrupted workflow. This integration facilitates the development process and improves the collaboration among developers, database administrators, and testers.

See all the new features in SQL Server 2022.

Support for multi-platform deployment

SQL Server 2022 Developer supports the deployment of applications across several platforms. With the Developer Edition you can deploy your applications on various platforms such as Windows, Linux, or Docker containers. This way, you can reach a larger audience and use the different deployment settings to your advantage.

Enhanced data virtualization

With the addition of data virtualization features in SQL Server 2022, developers can access and query data from numerous sources without having to move or copy data. With the feature enhanced data virtualization you can more effectively analyse and process data which in turn simplifies its integration and the overall app development.

Enhanced support for Big Data and Machine Learning

Big data and machine learning situations are now better supported with the SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition. Application developers can take advantage of the power of big data processing and machine learning techniques to enhance intelligent decision-making inside their apps.

Check out the main differences between SQL Server Standard and SQL Server Enterprise.

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 banner

How to download SQL Server Developer Edition? (Step by step)

To start working on your development projects, download and install the SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition. Below you can find the step-by-step instructions on how to do it:

1.    Go to the Microsoft Download Center: To get Microsoft software, visit the download page for SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition from the official Microsoft Download Center. That is the official place to download SQL Server Software.

2.    Select the Developer Edition: Choose the SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition from the download page and click the ‘Download now’ button. You will get the SQL server installation set up as ‘SQL2022-SSEI-Dev.exe’. Make sure you're getting the right edition.

3.    Start with the installation: Double-click the exe file to start the installation process. Then select an installation type – Basic, Custom, or Download Media.

    Basic: Installing the SQL Server Database Engine feature with the default configuration

    Custom: It allows you to choose what you want to install.

    Download Media: This type allows you to download the setup files and setup later on a machine of your choice.

4.    Run the installation: If you are not sure which installation type to choose, we recommend you pick out the Basic type. The basic installation already has all the default configurations set up, so you can immediately start working with SQL server. The next step is to choose the installation location. The default location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server. If needed, you can also change the installation location by clicking on Browse. Once you have the location selected, click the ‘Install’ button to start running SQL installation.

5.    Finish the installation: Once the installation is completed, you can start to use SQL Server Developer right away or you can choose to Customize it further, Install SSMS, or Connect now option for connection testing.

Before you download the software, it’s important to check the system and hardware requirements of SQL Server Developer. The smooth installation and further use of the server requires compatibility between your device and the software.

Below you can see on which operating systems you can run SQL Server 2022 Developer:

-    Windows 10 TH1 1507 or greater

-    Windows Server 2016 or greater

Hardware requirements:

Hardware requirements for developer blog

SQL Server Developer vs. Express

With SQL Server Developer, you can build any application on top of SQL Server. Although it contains all the functionality of the Enterprise edition, SQL Developer’s licensing only permits testing and development. This means that with the developer edition you cannot perform live server use. This makes SQL Server Developer the ideal choice for individuals who create and test applications.

In contrast, the free entry-level database known as the "Express version" is great for learning and creating desktop or small server data-driven applications. It's also the best choice for independent software sellers, producers, and hobbyists developing client programs. If you need to decide between SQL Server Developer and SQL Server Enterprise, it is worth keeping in mind the following differences.

Features and scalability

SQL Server Developer Edition's complete feature set is identical with what the Enterprise edition has to offer. These include advanced features like high availability, data encryption, and sophisticated analytics. When it comes to the overall capabilities and the scalability of the software, SQL Server Express is rather constrained with a maximum database size of 10 GB and limited CPU and memory use. See the tables below for the exact numbers.

Testing and development

SQL Server Express imposes restrictions on database size and resource usage, whereas SQL Server Developer allows users to create and test applications without limitations. WIth the environment of SQL Server Developer, you can experiment, optimise your code, and ensure the performance and scalability of your applications.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE) integration

SQL Server works problem-free with well-known programming tools like Visual Studio and Azure Data Studio. This connection increases productivity by giving developers access to a dependable and comfortable IDE. Contrarily, with SQL Server Express you get fewer integration features.

Security features

A key component in today’s applications is security. Advanced security features including transparent data encryption, access control, and auditing capabilities are available in SQL Server Developer. Developers can create safe applications that safeguard sensitive data thanks to these characteristics. Contrarily, SQL Server Express is less suited for applications that need reliable data protection since it lacks several of these important security capabilities.

In the following tables, you can find the key characteristics of both SQL Server Developer and SQL Server Express:

Scale limits

Scale limits for developer blog table

1.  Security

Security features for developer blog

2. Development Tools

Development tools table for developer blog

Support Dates: SQL Server 2022

Release Date: 4 November 2019

Mainstream End Date: 28 February 2025

Extended End Date: 8 January 2030

SQL Server Developer: Limitations

The SQL Server Developer edition has no limitations in terms of functionality and features. As all the Enterprise features are available in the Developer too. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, the Developer edition can not be used for production just for testing, developing, and learning purposes. If you need SQL Server to perform your professional tasks, you can check the differences between SQL Server Standard and SQL Server Express here.


In this blog, we covered the SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition which is the best solution to test, develop and learn on SQL Server. Since you get the full feature set of SQL Server 2022 Enterprise without any additional cost, you also have unrestricted access to innovate and develop applications. SQL Server Developer offers you a complete toolbox in addition to acting as a helpful educational tool. You can improve your skills and gain a deeper understanding of SQL Server's capabilities by working in the same feature-rich environment as SQL Server 2022 Enterprise. This way you could address complex data management issues, enhance your performance, and create effective solutions. The SQL Server 2022 Express is also a free developer tool, however, it comes with more limitations regarding its features and capacity. If you need SQL Server for more than individual app development and testing, then you must acquire a paid version. The professional licenses are SQL Server 2022 Standard and SQL Server 2022 Enterprise.

Microsoft SQL Server Standard & Enterprise Softtrader

Purchase your SQL Server 2022

Buy your SQL Server 2022 and CALs at Softtrader up to 70% cheaper. With pre-owned licenses you get the same software and functionalities for a lower price. Check our assortment of SQL Server 2022.   Request a quote to get a personalised quotation from us or simply contact us if you have any further questions.

Do you have questions? Contact us!

For more information about which Microsoft software and licenses are best for you, please contact us. We are available from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.