Veeam – Upgrade to SQL Express 2016 SP1 for improved performance 1

Upgrade SQL Express for improved performance with Veeam

One of the take away for me from VeeamON was that upgrading the version of SQL backing Veeam to either 2014 or 2016 will yield great improvements in performance. Now even the latest version of Veeam 9.5 only ships with SQL 2012 Express. Issues cited by Veeam with deploying newer versions of SQL express at install time of backup and replication are the reason why it does not ship with it. So lets take a look at some of the enhancements and reasons why you should upgrade. These features are available in Express edition.

In memory OLTP (Online Transaction Processing)

I’m not going to lie, I am no SQL expert. However moving anything from disk to in memory is going to improve its speed. OLTP is moved to in memory starting with SQL server 2014. You can read more about this feature here

Advanced Security – Always encrypted data

Encrypted data, gotta be a good thing right? Now from what I can gather this wont be enabled out the box but essentially it allows for a demarcation of data access between application owners and database owners. Read more here

You can find a full breakdown of features here

The upgrade process

Run up services.msc and take a look at what version of SQL you are currently running


Search the interwebs for SQL Express 2016 download and grab a copy of it. It downloads as an update launcher which will download the required binaries as you step through the installation wizard.

Choose Custom install


Choose media location to download the product binaries


Make a cup of covfefe whilst you wait for the download to complete


NOTE – Before starting the upgrade, Disable all Veeam jobs from the Veeam console and stop all Veeam services. Make sure you have a backup of the database. You have been warned!


Launch the upgrade wizard


Accept the EULA


Check for updates during install


Choose the instance of SQL you would like to upgrade, this is the instance we took at look at the beginning of this process. Note that version 11 = SQL 2012


Grab more covfefe


And done, reboot the server


Take a look at the SQL server version following the reboot. V13 is SQL 2016. Remember it was V11 prior to upgrade


Remember to enable the Veeam services at this point.

And that’s it, easy as pie, piece of cake, jobs a goodun.


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