SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) 2016 is free (and the July 2016 version is available)

There is a significant change in the licensing rules for SQL Server Management. For those of you that have been working with SQL Server for a longer time, Management Studio had a fixed position in SQL Server setup.

SSMS Setup is no longer part of SQL Server Setup

With SQL Server 2016, SSMS is no longer part of the SQL Server engine setup itself. The installation screen only shows links to download either SSMS and/or SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) for developing BI-projects.



Monthly Updates for SQL Server Client Tools

But why – installing SSMS together or in a single step with SQL Server sounds convenient but with the new pace of development at Microsoft and especially SQL Azure Database, the release cadence of SQL development tools changed. In a blog entry from March 2016, the SQL Server team announced that SQL Client Tools get a monthly update cadence.



For me, this announcement looks like a logic step for the SQL Client team to handle the fast pace of innovation at SQL Azure Database. In older SSMS versions one had to wait for a long time to get support for SQL Azure Database features in SSMS.

If you take the time to read through the questions in the announcement post you find out that …

  • .. those SQL Client tools are free and do not require a license key to install
  • .. you are allowed to redistribute the SSMS installation package with your own applications
  • .. you can connect to older version of SQL Server (2008 and newer) with the new SQL Client tools
  • .. those SSMS installations are not timebomed and it is not mandatory to update SSMS. (Hint beside: Microsoft recommends to update in order to get bug-fixes plus new features)
  • .. different versions of the new SSMS cannnot be installed on the same machine. However, SSMS 2014 can be side-by-side installed with SSMS 2016
  • .. last but not least: the SQL Client Tools package contains tools such SSMS, Profiler, Database Engine Tuning Advisor, SQL Server PowerShell and several other management tools.

The only question is: how’s the update working? Do I need to check for an updated version every month?

The short answer is: relax and take it easy! SSMS  reminds you if there is a newer version available.


If you want to check during the month or if you de-selected the auto-update check, just go to Tools –> Check for Updates and the following screens shows you the details:


If you hit the “Update” button the download page for the most actual SSMS version opens and you can start the installation directly from there.  The download file itself is about 770 MB (July 2016) and needs no internet connection during setup!



SSMS is free

Great news, but one of the above mentioned points is really, really great: The announcement of a free version of SSMS is awesome. No license requirement for just installing SQL client tools. The download page indicates this as a highlighted note:





About wolfgang

Data Platform enthusiast
This entry was posted in SQL Server, SQL Server 2016 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) 2016 is free (and the July 2016 version is available)

  1. Pingback: SQL Server News/Annoucment Wrap-up June/July 2016 | workingondata

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