Exciting news! Starting today, SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition is now a free download for Visual Studio Dev Essentials members. We are making this change so that all developers can leverage the capabilities that SQL Server 2014 has to offer for their data solution, and this is another step in making SQL Server more accessible. SQL Server Developer Edition is for development and testing only, and not for production environments or for use with production data.
This is great news. Not that the Developer Edition was ever all the expensive or that Microsoft didn’t offer a free alternative with the SQL Express SKUs already. But in the past I have run into the limitations that Microsoft put on SQL Express Server during testing, which by the way it is worth mentioning that this is a fully functional version of SQL Server but its purpose (as noted above) is only for testing.
Having said that, as a Dev Op(ish) person, the other nice thing you get with the SQL Server Dev version is that it comes with some great management tools for working with a production server. Anyway you can find more at the SQL Server blog here.