The basics of the “Learn SQL Server Starter Pack”:
- SQL Server 2016 DE
- You can get the Developer Edition (DE) for…wait for it…FREE!
- Out in the wild you’ll see mostly Standard Edition (SE) or Enterprise Edition (EE). The great thing about DE is that it is identical to EE (it has all the features) in every aspect except that it cannot be licensed on a production machine. It must only be used for TEST or DEV environments. For home lab purposes you can use it as your development environment and have access to all the features to learn on!
- Download it here – SQL Server Downloads
- While you are here get used to reading the release notes and what is new in the version. You don’t need to understand everything in here right away but get used to the jargon and how Microsoft describes their features.
- Windows Server 2016 Evaluation Edition
- Download Windows Server 2016 Evaluation Edition
- You can evaluate the software for 180 days then will need to activate it. Then you can try to register for another eval and try again
- Virtual Box
- Virtual Box is a free, simple, and reliable virtualization tool. You’ll be able to do a lot to get started and build up your virtualization knowledge with this.
- Download the latest version of Virtual Box
- You don’t need to know very much about hypervisors and such – Virtual Box is very easy to learn with good documentation.
Evaluation versions are good for learning because they force you to tear down and rebuild your environment!
Jeff then links to a number of free resources to help out with the learning experience.