Low cost, low maintenance DB software which could easily port to MS SQL in future

I'm looking for a relational database for a voluntary project which is :
a) low cost or possibly free
b) that run on Windows platform
c) low maintenance (ie don't have to pay annual maintenance fee to
    get patches)
d) easy to support

It's to serve as registry to take note of autistic & special-needs people,
tracking their particulars/contacts & how they are doing over the years
& in future.

I thought of using gmail as it could be searched easily but gmail is
an email & may lack confidentiality as it's hosted by a public service
provider.

A relational DB is preferred so that in future when the group has the
funding, will consider porting to a relational DB like MS SQL
sunhuxAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

dsackerContract ERP Admin/ConsultantCommented:
SQL Server EXPRESS is actually free. It has the same Management Studio, job scheduling, i.e., about 90% of what the paid version has.
0
Haris DulicCommented:
Hello,

if your DB will hold under than 10 GB of data per one instance of DB and you will sometime migrate toward the MS SQL Server you can use MS SQL Express edition which is free..

More details : http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server-editions/sql-server-express.aspx
0
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Does SQL Express run on Windows 7, Windows 2008 R2,
Win 2012 Standard & possibly Win XP ?
0
Ultimate Tool Kit for Technology Solution Provider

Broken down into practical pointers and step-by-step instructions, the IT Service Excellence Tool Kit delivers expert advice for technology solution providers. Get your free copy now.

Haris DulicCommented:
Beside WinXp all are supported and in 32/64 bit versions.
0
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Can point me to a quick start guide to start building simple tables?

referring to the link given by Samo4funo, how is "easy backup and
restore functionality" done?  Using SQL commands to take online
backup or using OS utility (which may require shut down of SQL)?

Supposedly Toad can be used to do development on SQL Express?
0
Haris DulicCommented:
You can use Toad for development as there is http://www.toadworld.com/m/freeware/550.aspx but SQL server has its (IMHO pretty good) management tool...

Backup can be done on the fly i.e. while the database is online, restore to new database  from backup is also supported.. All options and features are supported by using SQL Server Management Studio. By using this tool you can develop, query and administer all instances of databases on your SQL server...
0

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
PortletPaulfreelancerCommented:
Well I'm glad you ruled out Gmail for such a thing!

Why is porting to MS SQL important? or are you just using that product as an example?

Is it your intention to run this on a central server which each users accesses via an intranet, or are you expecting it to run on each workstation? (I was wondering why you asked about XP.)

Do you need access to the data via the internet?

Are you subject to any regulatory issues with this health related data?
e.g. do you need to encrypt this data?
0
Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi,

I am guessing this is a project you have thought of for a charity. I get the feeling though that you do not have experience with databases. If that is the case, I would say that you may be better off starting with a more consumer friendly product like MS Access. It is relational and you can upgrade the back-end to SQL in the future. I know it's not free but if you already have MS Office then you will have it already.
Either way if you don't have experience with databases I would recommend getting a good book. It's easy to jump into DB design and get yourself into a horrible mess because the tables have not been "normalised".

I have used books by Cary Prague in the past and set up a few databases - one using Access 97 printing a whole book of Executive members from an MS word file, so it's more than up to the job you describe.

Multi-user and internet access are extras. I would start with local use for now. Also, you do need to build security into your design as you will have to conform to Data Protection Act (for UK) or equivalent regulations in your country.

Please forgive me if you have these skills already but it's very hard to judge people's abilities on EE without extra info.

Mike
0
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Mike has sized me quite accurately: I'm a layman when it comes to
using development tools for database.  Glad that you mention
MS Access (which is part of MS Office Enterprise) could be used as
development tool on SQL Server Express.

> Why is porting to MS SQL important?
As it's unlikely I will learn it on Linux/UNIX and Windows is the preferred
OS, I've chosen MS SQL (have a number of MS SQL colleagues whom I
can consult if needed but not Oracle/Sybase/other databases)

> Is it your intention to run this on a central server which each users
> accesses via an intranet
Via Internet & so happen that I have free old Win XP licences lying
around.  No, not subject to regulatory.  It's a charity project
0
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Toad is not too costly & glad that Samo mentions it as one possible tool
to do development with MS SQL Server Express
0
PortletPaulfreelancerCommented:
You don't need Toad
SSMS - which is delivered with SQL Server Express - will do
0
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Microsoft SQL Server

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.

Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.