Installation requirements vary based on your application needs. The different editions of SQL Server accommodate the unique performance, runtime, and price requirements of organizations and individuals. The SQL Server components that you install also depend on your specific requirements. The following sections help you understand how to make the best choice among the editions and components available in SQL Server.
The following table describes the principal editions of SQL Server. For more information, see Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2012
SQL Server edition
Enterprise (64-bit and 32-bit)
The premium offering, SQL Server 2012 Enterprise edition delivers comprehensive high-end datacenter capabilities with blazing-fast performance, unlimited virtualization, and end-to-end business intelligence — enabling high service levels for mission-critical workloads and end user access to data insights.
Business Intelligence (64-bit and 32-bit)
SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence edition delivers comprehensive platform empowering organizations to build and deploy secure, scalable and manageable BI solutions. It offers exciting functionality such as browser based data exploration and visualization; powerful data mash-up capabilities, and enhanced integration management.
Standard (64-bit and 32-bit)
SQL Server 2012 Standard edition delivers basic data management and business intelligence database for departments and small organizations to run their applications and supports common development tools for on-premise and cloud — enabling effective database management with minimal IT resources.
Specialized editions of SQL Server are targeted for business workloads. The following table describes the specialized editions of SQL Server.
SQL Server edition
Web (64-bit and 32-bit)
SQL Server 2012 Web edition is a low total-cost-of-ownership option for Web hosters and Web VAPs to provide scalability, affordability, and manageability capabilities for small to large scale Web properties.
Breadth editions of SQL Server are engineered for specific customer scenarios and are offered FREE or at a very nominal cost. The following table describes the breadth editions of SQL Server.
SQL Server edition
Developer (64-bit and 32-bit)
SQL Server 2012 Developer edition lets developers build any kind of application on top of SQL Server. It includes all the functionality of Enterprise edition, but is licensed for use as a development and test system, not as a production server. SQL Server Developer is an ideal choice for people who build and test applications.
Express (64-bit and 32-bit) editions
SQL Server 2012 Express edition is the entry-level, free database and is ideal for learning and building desktop and small server data-driven applications. It is the best choice for independent software vendors, developers, and hobbyists building client applications. If you need more advanced database features, SQL Server Express can be seamlessly upgraded to other higher end versions of SQL Server. New in SQL Server 2012 is SQL Server Express LocalDB, a lightweight version of Express that has all of its programmability features, yet runs in user mode and has a fast, zero-configuration installation and a short list of prerequisites.
On an Internet server, such as a server that is running Internet Information Services (IIS), you will typically install the SQL Server client tools. Client tools include the client connectivity components used by an application connecting to an instance of SQL Server.
Although you can install an instance of SQL Server on a computer that is running IIS, this is typically done only for small Web sites that have a single server computer. Most Web sites have their middle-tier IIS systems on one server or a cluster of servers, and their databases on a separate server or federation of servers.
You can install just the SQL Server client components on a computer that is running client/server applications that connect directly to an instance of SQL Server. A client components installation is also a good option if you administer an instance of SQL Server on a database server, or if you plan to develop SQL Server applications.
The client tools option installs the following SQL Server features: backward compatibility components, SQL Server data tools, connectivity components, management tools, software development kit, and SQL Server Books Online components. For more information, see Install SQL Server 2012 from the Installation Wizard (Setup).
Use the Feature Selection page of the SQL Server Installation Wizard to select the components to include in an installation of SQL Server. By default, none of the features in the tree are selected.
Use the information in the following tables to determine the set of features that best fits your needs.
SQL Server Database Engine
SQL Server Database Engine includes the Database Engine, the core service for storing, processing, and securing data, replication, full-text search, tools for managing relational and XML data, and the Data Quality Services (DQS) server.
Analysis Services includes the tools for creating and managing online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining applications.
Reporting Services includes server and client components for creating, managing, and deploying tabular, matrix, graphical, and free-form reports. Reporting Services is also an extensible platform that you can use to develop report applications.
Integration Services is a set of graphical tools and programmable objects for moving, copying, and transforming data. It also includes the Data Quality Services (DQS) component for Integration Services.
Master Data Services
Master Data Services (MDS) is the SQL Server solution for master data management. MDS can be configured to manage any domain (products, customers, accounts) and includes hierarchies, granular security, transactions, data versioning, and business rules, as well as an Add-in for Excel that can be used to manage data.
SQL Server Management Studio
SQL Server Management Studio is an integrated environment to access, configure, manage, administer, and develop components of SQL Server. Management Studio lets developers and administrators of all skill levels use SQL Server. Internet Explorer 6 SP1 or a later version is required for Management Studio installation.
SQL Server Configuration Manager
SQL Server Configuration Manager provides basic configuration management for SQL Server services, server protocols, client protocols, and client aliases.
SQL Server Profiler
SQL Server Profiler provides a graphical user interface to monitor an instance of the Database Engine or Analysis Services.
Database Engine Tuning Advisor
Database Engine Tuning Advisor helps create optimal sets of indexes, indexed views, and partitions.
Data Quality Client
Provides a highly simple and intuitive graphical user interface to connect to the DQS server, and perform data cleansing operations. It also allows you to centrally monitor various activities performed during the data cleansing operation. Internet Explorer 6 SP1 or a later version is required for the Data Quality Client installation.
SQL Server Data Tools
SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) provides an IDE for building solutions for the Business Intelligence components: Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and Integration Services.
(Formerly called Business Intelligence Development Studio).
SSDT also includes “Database Projects”, which provides an integrated environment for database developers to carry out all their database design work for any SQL Server platform (both on and off premise) within Visual Studio. Database developers can use the enhanced Server Explorer in Visual Studio to easily create or edit database objects and data, or execute queries.
Internet Explorer 6 SP1 or a later version is required for SQL Server Data Tools installation.
Installs components for communication between clients and servers, and network libraries for DB-Library, ODBC, and OLE DB.
SQL Server Books Online
Core documentation for SQL Server.