SQL Server Express with Azure AD Connect Sync

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Azure AD Connect Sync comes with a SQL Server Express edition. If the customer hits the limits in the Express can they install a SQL Standard edition in its place? If they can is the SQL instance still free like when using SCCM? Or would they need to buy a SQL Server license?


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@Microsoft1030 When you install Azure AD connect , you can install the SQL server express edition on the same server and here no limitation as its a free edition. Otherwise you can use an existing instance for SQL you have it in your environment and point the Azure AD connect to it without creating a new SQL server instance.
Thank you. Is there any limitation on whether the SQL instance is licensed Server/CAL or per core?
for Azure AD Connect no as the instance already licensed , just point to it.
@Microsoft1030 appreciate if you could mark my response as correct answer/best response if it did provide the information to your query, that will help us better understand what kind of information actually helps.



You really want to check this with your account manager - if you have one, as the answer on adopting SQL Server Standard or Enterprise is that it's never free - strictly-speaking.


  • If you do not have SQL Server Standard or Enterprise currently, there will be a cost. For Standard, you'd most likely be looking at "server + CAL" (cheapest but comes with caveats);
  • If you have SQL Server Standard already but are using the "server + CAL" model, you may need an additional CAL to accommodate the AAD Connect host;
  • To be clear, you cannot co-host databases from other products (including AAD Connect's database) on an existing SQL Server instance covered under the SCCM licencing model (see link below).


While not "free", if you have an existing SQL Server host that has spare CALs under the SQL Server's "server + CAL" licencing model, or is licenced under the "per core" (Standard or Enterprise) model, then you may be able to get away with "no additional cost", but that's not really he same as free, either.


Some links: