At the moment I have an in-house Access database, data stored by our online survey provider, and data stored by our project management provider, both in databases. What I want is an in-house database where I have all data harmonized. Now I see two options for us (since we are money limited)

  1. Set up a MySQL-DB with all data in one database or
  2. Set up many SQL Server Express databases

I have worked with a SQL Server database but I have not the experience to decide what is better and why. So it would be great if someone could help me to decide that and tell me why.

  • Many Express databases? Why? So you can bypass the 10GB limit? Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:25
  • Yes, that was the idea.
    – ruedi
    Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:27
  • 2
    Then it doesn't seem like a good idea. First, your data will be divided in 2 or more different databases. How will you write queries to combine data from several dbs? Second, you may even be breaching the licence terms. There are several other options, like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite that cost 0 to purchase. There are also community versions from Oracle and DB2 that may not have the 10GB limitation (I think DB2 Express-C has no size limitation, it only limits CPU cores and memory used.) Commented Feb 11, 2015 at 13:35
  • Thank you for your answer. One question occurs to me. Couldnt I use database links to qrite cueries to combine data from several dbs?
    – ruedi
    Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 8:28
  • 1
    Yes, I guess you could do that. It's just going to be unnecessary complicated in my opinion - to have your data in separate databases. My personal preference (provided that no money is spent on licences) would be Postgres but I can understand that you want to stay with SQL-Server if you have more familiarity with it. Commented Feb 13, 2015 at 10:58

2 Answers 2


If hosting externally is an option, you can get a MSSQL Database on Azure for as little as $5/MO. http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/sql-database/

The Basic tier has a 2GB limit, but you can get 250 GB for $15/MO.

Azure plans also come with:

built-in backup support, with the ability to point-in-time restore your data from any transaction up to 35 days. Additionally you can automatically replicate to another Azure region of your choice. This enables you to easily implement a disaster recovery policy designed for your business needs.

Might be worth checking out for just a few $$ per month.


If you're most comfortable with MSSQL and have at least a small budget, have you thought about hosted SQL Server? You can get a fairly inexpensive ASP.net hosting package from someone like SmarterASP which includes a number of SQL Server databases for use.

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