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I don't want to use Access. Is there a cheaper/easier solution than full SQL Server?

I am developing for small businesses and am using MS SQL Server 7 for my database. I would prefer not to use MS Access. Is there a cheaper/easier solution than selling full SQL Server packages to the client?
MSDE (Microsoft Data Engine) is the answer. It comes with your VS.NET product, with free redistribution rights and it's the full SQL Server 2000 engine with some limitations (concurrent connections and maximum DB size as far as I can remember). See the product spec to learn what are the specific limits and if they fit your needs. The great thing of MSDE is that your client effortlesly upgrade to the full SQL Server 2000 package if needed.

This was first published in August 2003

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