SQL Server Compact

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Microsoft SQL Server Compact (SQL CE) is a compact, relational database system that has been designed both for use in portable devices as well as for the desktop area.

It is an embedded database system. The system was not installed as standalone software, but essentially consists of an assembly that is integrated into the application. This type of database system thus saves installation, operation and maintenance of a separate database server service, which would permanently consume resources, any applicable administrative tasks, such as the introduction of additional attributes or tables when changing versions, automated from within the application must be completed.

This makes all the difference compared to conventional databases. By including the library, the application is added to database functionality, without having to rely on an external service.

Application areas are usually where database functionality is required, the amount of data is not too large and, accesses only from one computer. One application could be a program for the analysis of log files, for example. This reads a log file one, disassembled it and stores it internally as records in a table. By accessing via SQL to the data an almost arbitrary sorting and filtering is possible.

SQL CE is offered for free by Microsoft and has a native 64- bit support.


Microsoft SQL Server Compact is under development within the NET available and has some unique features compared to other databases. , The library is only a few megabytes ( MB) in size. Each database is stored in a single file with the extension. Sdf, which greatly simplifies the exchange between different systems. The databases can be encrypted using AES with a key length of 128 or 256 bits if necessary.

SQL CE shares a large part of the API with the rest of Microsoft SQL Server editions. The development takes place but now independent of the larger editions with a standalone version count. The product includes ADO.NET provider to access the ADO.NET interfaces. It can also be used with the current version of ADO.NET Entity Framework. In addition, the program library has internal synchronization mechanisms and supports LINQ. SQL CE runs within the application process and shares the same storage area with all other SQL CE instances. Here, a special attention was paid to the memory requirements of Microsoft.

Microsoft SQL Server Compact is for the purposes of interoperability all. NET languages.

Development and management of the database

For the management of the database in the development there is a special extension " SQL Server Compact Toolbox " for Visual Studio 2010 or Visual Web Developer, which becomes available via the extension manager. For use on the target computer can be for example a database table definitions, but deliver no data, or eg can be produced on a framework of the program.


  • Can not be executed as a Windows server process (running exclusively in the context of the application )
  • Maximum of 256 connections
  • Maximum of 4 GB large databases