SharePoint 2003 Limitations using WMSDE

Q: I want to use WMSDE for a very limited POC (proof of Concept) of SPS 2003. Other than Search and performance, are there any other things to be concerned about?

A: If SPS 2003 is not installed WSS uses a special version of MSDE, known as SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows), or WMSDE. This is an unthrottled version of MSDE designed only to be used by Windows components, and as such is not limited in the same way as MSDE. The maximum size limit and current connections limit have both been removed. However it is still much more limited than SQL Server 2000 in the following ways:

  • WMSDE does not include enterprise management tools such as those provided with SQL Server 2000 (e.g. SQL Enterprise Manager MMC tool) for backing up and restoring the database. However command line tools can still be used (e.g. stsadm tool).
  • WMSDE can only be managed locally – you cannot remotely connect.
  • WMSDE does not support full-text search – so search from within team sites is not possible.
  • You cannot deploy WMSDE in web farm/clustered configurations, so the solution cannot scale beyond certain limits, and remains a single point of failure.
  • You cannot use WMSDE for anything other than WSS due to the custom schema it uses (MSDE or SQL Server 2000 can also be used for other custom applications). There is no user interface to edit the database file.
  • WMSDE will support a maximum of 1000 web sites.

For more information, goto


Ishai Sagi said…
another thing - msde supports up to 8 concurrent users. the 9th user goes into a queue and expiriences preformance issues.
I measured the preformance degragation and it gets worse and worse after 8 users.
Ishai, thanks for your comment. The SharePoint Resource kit indicated MSDE has a limit of 5 concurrent connections and a DB size limit of 2GB. However, please note this blog entry discusses using WMSDE, not MSDE. WMSDE does not have those two limitations. For more information on MSDE and WMSDE, please check out the link in the original post. Thanks again for your comment, and please keep them coming!

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