SQL Server 6.5 or 7.0 probably is the first version we started to use as a 12-year DB/BI engineer. Before this version, I know SQL Server 4.2 is the first version Microsoft independently developed. Before 4.2, Microsoft collaborating with Sybase started to developed this database product but I don’t know what version they called. As you see Sybase was a big player in SQL Server development, today’s DB products from Sybase like Sybase IQ still look similar with SQL Server to some degrees.
Following the earlier versions(4.2, 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0), it comes with SQL Server 2000, which named after year. Then as you probably know, SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012 and now you have the latest one SQL Server 2014. If you examine the SQL Server instance in Management Studio carefully, it is not hard to find actually the internal version number following this pattern XX.YY.ZZZZ though the commercial one is named after years.
What XX.YY.ZZZZ tells us? XX is the major version number, for example, SQL Server 2000’s major number is 8 and SQL Server 2005 is 9 and so on. YY stands for the minor version number, taking SQL Server 2008R2 as an instance, it looks like 10.50.ZZZZ, here 50 is the minor version number for SQL Server 2008R2. The last piece ZZZZ means build number. You probably know in development tools, this number goes self-incremental every time you build the solution. With the comprehensive automation test, if build number 1300 is the most stable one then the release version will choose this build number, this is why you can see “10.0.1600” is the SQL Server 2008 first release version number.
A Quick summary for SQL Server public versions and internal versions
|SQL Server 2014
|SQL Server 2012,
|SQL Server 2008 R2,
|SQL Server 2008,
|SQL Server 2005,
|SQL Server 2000,
|SQL Server 7.0,
When you download the SQL Server installations, you may see some shortened words. Below is a list of shortened names confused me before.
||Community Technology Preview (beta release)
||Released To Manufacturing; It is the original, released build version of the product, i.e. what you get on the DVD or when you download the ISO file from MSDN.
||Cumulative Update; Cumulative updates contain the bug fixes and enhancements–up to that point in time–that have been added since the previous Service Pack release and will be contained in the next service pack release. Installation of the Cumulative Update is similar to the installation of a Service Pack. Cumulative Updates are not fully regression tested.
||Service Pack; much larger collection of hotfixes that have been fully regression tested. In some cases delivers product enhancements.
||General Distribution Release; GDR fixes should not contain any of the CU updates.
||Quick Fix Engineering; QFE updates include CU fixes.
All SQLServer service packs are cumulative, meaning that each new service pack contains all the fixes that are included with previous service packs and any new fixes.
In addition to different versions, Microsoft also composes the same version into different editions to target various audience. Express edition is a free edition, which has the limitation of DB size less than 2GB. Above the Express edition, there is a standard edition, which is mostly designed for small or middle size companies. Above the standard edition, there is a more powerful edition called developer edition, which is considered to be used for developers. Traditionally, the most powerful edition is Enterprise edition, which includes all features. When SQL 2012 came to the market, more editions are introduced like Business Intelligence, Enterprise Core and Data Center editions.
They are about it in term of versions and editions. Looking for more details for all components, check out below link, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/321185/en-us