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I was planning to download a trial of SQL Server Developer today from MSDN Subscriber Downloads. I have two questions:

  1. Next to each download it says: "No product key is required". I assume this means that a 28 day trial is initiated after download?
  2. What is the difference between SQL Server Developer; SQL Server Web Edition and SQL Server Business Intelligence? I assume that SQL Developer can do everything that SQL Server Business Intelligence and SQL Server Web Edition can do?

I followed these steps:

  1. Went to the appropriate MSDN Subscriber Download page
  2. Selected: SQL Server 2014 with SP1 x64
  3. Logged In
  4. Saved the file locally
  5. During the installation select "Evaluation" rather than the license key.

To my surprise there was already a license key populated. I have an active Bizspark account (though I did not renew in year three). It must be this account that has populated the license key. Why is Enterprise Edition evaluation installed rather than developer edition?

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Current information

SQL Server Developer Edition is a free download starting with SQL Server 2014.

You can download SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition for Windows, Linux, and Docker from the Microsoft SQL Server downloads page.

SQL Server 2017 Developer is a full-featured free edition, licensed for use as a development and test database in a non-production environment.


Original answer

We can't advise on detailed licensing issues, that is something you should read about on the MSDN Subscriptions site, and contact support if necessary. With that said, I can respond to other points in your question:

  1. Next to each download it says: "No product key is required". I assume this means that a 28 day trial is initiated after download?

You have a choice here. During installation, you are presented with a screen like:

Installation

  • If you choose the pre-populated product key, you are installing Developer Edition (not a trial) under the MSDN Subscriber licence terms. No product key is required for this option, because one is provided for you.

  • If you choose Evaluation, you are installing a time-limited trial of Enterprise Edition, with different licensing terms. This is just the same as if you had download Trial Edition from anywhere.

  1. What is the difference between SQL Server Developer; SQL Server Web Edition and SQL Server Business Intelligence? I assume that SQL Developer can do everything that SQL Server Business Intelligence and SQL Server Web Edition can do?

SQL Server Developer contains all the features of SQL Server Enterprise Edition, just on different licensing terms. You can compare the various editions here:

SQL Server Editions

You cannot download software from MSDN Subscriber Downloads without a Microsoft account associated with a valid subscription. As it says on the Using Subscriber Downloads help page:

You must be signed in to your Microsoft account that is associated with your subscription in order to download products on Subscriber Downloads. If you are not signed in, you'll be prompted to sign in when you attempt to download a product or view product keys. Everyone, including non-subscribers, can view Subscriber Downloads, but only active subscribers can download products and keys.

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  1. Yes - Microsoft Trial Tools not use activation keys, and start trial period from date of installing
  2. Developer Edition include All functions of MS SQL Server and restricted for use in production environment

Full feature compare matrix - https://www.microsoft.com/en/server-cloud/products/sql-server-editions/overview.aspx

It not expensive, if You not have MSDN subscription, You can purchase it, cost less than 100USD

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If this helps anyone, I found a blog with responses from The SQL Server Team here:

SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition is free and there is no time limit, but it cannot be used for production. Developer Edition offers the full feature set of Enterprise Edition, but is for development and testing only, and not for production environments or for use with production data. Express Edition can be used in production, but has the scalability and feature limitations detailed on our SQL Server Editions webpage. You will need a copy of Windows or Windows Server to run SQL Server Developer Edition. For additional detail about Developer Edition use rights, please see the Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Licensing Guide

You can also sign up to the Visual Studio developer site and then download any version in either Express or Developer edition. Click Join Now then scroll down a bit and it should be on the left hand side - here

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