I am so tentative to decide to use Always Encrypted tool, however I have a question → I'm working on a project with SQL Server 2017 - 14 Express Edition.

And I'm pretty sure they aren't going to buy the Enterprise Edition.

Even so, Can I use this tool? Or is there any limitation related to the final version of SQL? I didn't find any limitation at the official documentation from Microsoft

Thanks a lot.


As per this link, Always Encrypted is supported in SQL Server 2017 Express Edition.

  • Hi @HandyD Thanks for your answer, this will help me to support the choice. Thanks Oct 15 '19 at 20:34
  • @RogerOspina Not a problem, feel free to upvote any of the answers you found helpful.
    – HandyD
    Oct 15 '19 at 21:55

There is limitation that applies to normal text or integer values that you would like to have access via database engine (without application), and same mentioned in the MS document that says we would not be able to do UPDATE or SELECT (with where clause) on the encrypted column. i.e. following (both) statements fails while nationality encrypted:


update dbo.Patients set nationality = 'USA'


select * from dbo.Patients where nationality like '%IND%'

This blog post might be helpful in your case.

  • Hi @Shekar Kola Thanks for your answer, I'll consider this and I'll tell to the team (QA team specially). Thanks, have a good day. Oct 15 '19 at 20:36
  • @RogerOspina, you are most welcome! Oct 16 '19 at 4:17

As of SQL Server 2016 SP1, Microsoft has committed to a "common programming surface area" for all editions of SQL Server. This means that features that require application-level changes to use will exist in all editions. Microsoft may limit the performance or scale on lower editions, but the feature will work.

Because Always Encrypted requires application level changes to work (enabling it all but guarantees that the application will break), it's covered under this commitment and works in all editions.

You can see the comparison matrix for all features in all editions here.

  • Hi @AMtwo Thanks for your answer, this will help me to support the choice. Thanks Oct 15 '19 at 20:35

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