• SSDT is a Visual Studio shell to enable development of solutions
that include SQL Server databases, SQL Server Integration Services,
SQL Server Analysis Services, and/or SQL Server Reporting Services.
• SSDT is a collection of features that aid in the development of
SQL Server databases.
(I don’t want to get sidetracked here discussing this confusing state
of affairs in more detail—for more information, see my blog post
“SSDT - What’s in a name?”)
I don’t know which one of those is the correct description; regardless, in this article I will discuss SSDT from the second of these two
perspectives: as a collection of features that aid in the development
of SQL Server databases.
How to Get SSDT
SSDT isn’t delivered with the SQL Server 2012 installer, although
when you run that installer there’s an option to install SSDT. This is
where some of the confusion stems from: SSDT actually comes as a
web installer that you obtain from the SQL Server Data Tools Down-
load page and which then gets surfaced within a Visual Studio shell.
There are a number of reasons for delivering SSDT in this way:
• It can be updated out of band, meaning you don’t have to wait for
a new release of SQL Server to get a new version of SSDT.
• It’s free. You can download SSDT today and start using it without
paying a penny.
• There are no SQL Server–related prerequisites—you don’t need to
run the SQL Server installer in order to use SSDT.
• SSDT can be delivered for new versions of Visual Studio (it’s
already available for Visual Studio 2012).
SSDT is being marketed as a new offering within SQL Server, but in
fact, the reality is slightly different. The features that comprise SSDT are