SQL Server 2016 – The Cool is in the Tool (SSMS that is)

As a heavy user of other RDBMS data platforms, I have long appreciated the extra effort that Microsoft put into their data management and administration tool, the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Other database platforms certainly tried, for example Oracle’s OEM, but at the end of the day TOAD (full disclosure, I am a former employee of Quest/Dell Software) earned my loyalty on that platform.

While SSMS is an outstanding administration and T-SQL programming tool, it does have its minor qualms and quibbles. At the top of the list was that previous versions of SSMS were only available via the main SQL Server installation files. That meant if you wanted to install SSMS on a workstation without also installing SQL Server, you still had to download the ponderously large 4Gb file that also included all other components of SQL Server.

SSMS Decoupled

Microsoft, in their quest to constantly innovate for all of their data platform products, has separated SSMS from the core SQL Server components. This means that we, as users, can expect more releases, with more features, and much smaller in size than those of earlier versions of SQL Server.

Make it a regular practice to download the newest version of SSMS, even if your SQL Server is an older version! SSMS is always backward-compatible and each new release provides many new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes.

I strongly encourage you to download the latest version of SSMS because it is both backward compatible to SQL Server 2000 (although not all features are guaranteed to work on SQL Server 2000 and 2005) and each new release includes many improvements and new features. For example, SSMS 2016 includes the Live Query feature, which is also useable in SQL Server 2014.

Get the latest release of SSMS at

Don’t Forget about a local copy of Books On-Line

In my opinion, everyone who uses SSMS also needs a local installation of the SQL Server documentation, known as SQL Server Books On-Line (or BOL, for short). The problem is that the Help feature within SSMS will invoke the Internet-based documentation.

Fortunately, long-time Data Platform MVP and blogger Tibor Karaszi has provided a detailed blog post explaining the exact steps needed to download a local copy of the SQL Server BOL. Read Tibor’s blog for more details at

SQL Server Developer Edition is Free!

If you haven’t used much SQL Server in the past due to cost, you no longer have that as an excuse. SQL Server Developer edition, a full-featured version of SQL Server that is restricts databases to 10Gb or less, is now free for everyone enrolled in the Visual Studio Dev Essentials program. Read all of the details at Learn more about Visual Studio Dev Essentials at

Have questions? Drop me a note! Cheers,