Choose your SQL Server schema comparison tool
Whenever you are working on a database solution that involves more than one deployment environment you need to be sure that you are running the same database schema and usually the same reference data.
If you were to manage manually various databases in order to be sure that there are no differences, you would spend long hours with no guarantee when you were done that you had found all of the differences.
In this case, you need a database comparison tool. There are mainly two types of database comparison tools:
- Schema comparison
- Data Comparison
The tool will find the differences for you in your databases, allowing you to make changes as you see fit. It also offers you peace of mind knowing that your results will be 100% accurate.
In order to save yourself time and prevent problems resulting from manual comparisons you should download one of the below listed software.
Info: The description of the below products is directly taken from their respective websites. So, I am not trying to sell anything 🙂
Red-Gate SQL Compare
SQL Compare is a commercial, industry-standard tool for comparing and deploying SQL Server database schemas. It’s easy to use, intuitive, fast, and saves time. You can work with live databases, database snapshots, SQL scripts in source control, or backups. SQL Compare helps you compare and deploy changes quickly, simply and with zero errors.
Personally it’s about 5 years that I am using the SQL Compare together with the SQL Data Compare tools. One great feature that comes really handy is the fact that you can create the rollback scripts with only few clicks.
DBComparer is a free professional database comparison tool for analyzing the differences in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (and 2005) database structures. It is an excellent tool for any project development team or DBA managing multiple copies of the same database on an SQL Server. This database comparison tool has a clean and straight-forward user interface. Results are clearly presented so that you can immediately see the differences in your databases. It will make locating and eliminating differences in your database fast and easy.
ApexSQL Diff is a commercial and fully versatile schema comparison tool. It supports the comparison of live SQL databases, backups, snapshots, scripts and databases under source control. It has a very cool feature of analysis and reporting where one can create end-user reports to document differences in your environments. Support for easily reverse of the changes where there is a possibility of an automatic backup prior to synchronizing.
Embarcadero DB Change Manager XE2
DB Change Manager XE2’s compare, synchronization, and auditing capabilities let you track and report on changes, roll out new releases, and pinpoint performance problems resulting from changes in data, schema and database configuration. By comparing a live database to a schema or configuration “snapshot” administrators can quickly identify changes and correct problems. And by monitoring configuration settings, DBAs can ensure compliance with regulatory policies and performance standards, and maintain overall database performance.
VS 2010 SQL database schema comparison
VS 2010 SQL database schema comparison you can use Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate to compare a target schema with a source schema. For each difference, you can specify whether to update the target so that it matches the source. You can write those updates directly to the target, or you can export the update script to the Transact-SQL editor or to a file. You can also save your comparisons, either as part of your database project or as a stand-alone file. By saving your comparisons, you can more easily repeat them or re-synchronize the same source and target.
Altova – DatabaseSpy 2013 (Database Schema Comparison Tool)
Visual database schema comparison in DatabaseSpy 2013 helps you compare database structures and merge differences within the same database type or across different database types.
You can compare database schemas within the same database type, or across database types. For example, you can compare a SQL Server database structure on a development server to your live SQL Server production server, or you can compare a database schema in SQL Server with an Oracle database or with any other database type supported by DatabaseSpy® 2013.
DB Solo Schema Comparison Tool allows you to compare tables, views, functions, sequences, packages and stored procedures between two schemas/databases. It will report any discrepancies between schemas such as missing or mismatching stored procedures, tables, triggers, columns, indexes and constraints. It also will detect column discrepancies such as data type, nullability and defaults. Also, comparison can be done between schemas on two different DBMS platforms such as Oracle and SQL Server.
Currently schema comparison is supported for Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, SQLite, PostgreSQL, HSQLDB, MySQL and Sybase ASE/ASA.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012–SQL Server Data Tools
SQL Server 2012–SQL Server Data Tools is available as a free component of the SQL Server platform and is available for all SQL Server users. provides an integrated environment for database developers to carry out all their database design work for any SQL Server platform (both on and off premise) within Visual Studio. Database developers can use the SQL Server Object Explorer in VS to easily create or edit database objects and data, or execute queries.
Developers will also appreciate the familiar VS tools we bring to database development, specifically; code navigation, IntelliSense, language support that parallels what is available for C# and VB, platform-specific validation, debugging and declarative editing in the TSQL Editor, as well as a visual Table Designer for both database projects and online database instances.
SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is the final name for the product formerly known as SQL Server Developer Tools, Code-Named “Juneau”. SSDT provides a modern database development experience for the SQL Server and SQL Azure Database Developer. As the supported SQL Azure development platform, SSDT will be regularly updated online to ensure that it keeps pace with the latest SQL Azure features.
AdeptSQL Diff was my first ever Schema comparison tool. It’s a lightning fast and intuitive tool to visually compare and synchronize two MS SQL Server databases. The program scans both databases and displays the combined schema tree view, with all differences color-marked.
Navigating through the database schema tree, you can see SQL definitions for individual objects (tables, view, stored procedures, etc) compared side-by-side in the larger panel to the right of the schema tree.
You can produce difference scripts for any chosen part or for the whole schema. The schema matching engine generates effective update SQL for any schema difference you need to synchronize, trying to preserve the table data whenever possible.
The generated scripts are displayed in a separate debugger-style popup window where you can edit them, execute them either uninterrupted or step-by-step, set breakpoints, turn on transactions and rollback on errors.
Even if you have only one database to work with, the drag&drop scripting (you simply drag one or more schema items to any text editor supporting regular OLE drag&drop) together with very flexible scripting options makes AdeptSQL Diff a perfect tool to explore your database schema.
xSQL Schema Compare
With xSQL Schema Compare you can compare the schemas of two SQL Server databases, review differences, generate synchronization script and execute it – xSQL Schema Compare makes database change management easy.
xSQL Schema Compare supports SQL Server 2012, 2008 R2, 2008, and 2005 and it is available for FREE as a fully functional Lite Edition. In general, the engine will compare the objects that are relevant for both sides. The synchronization scripts are version specific – if moving changes from 2000 to 2005 the synch script is a 2005 compliant script and vice versa.
*Prior to version 4, xSQL Schema Compare for SQL Server was known as xSQL Object.
SQL Examiner Suite 2012
SQL Examiner Suite is a comprehensive solution performing fully automated comparison and synchronization of any two databases complete their structures and data. Databases in a variety of formats are supported, including all versions and editions of MS SQL Server from version 7.0 to 2012, SQL Azure Database, as well as most basic structures and objects of Oracle and MySQL databases. SQL Examiner fully supports all types of database objects found in MS SQL databases, and correctly synchronizes between different versions of MS SQL.
dbForge Schema Compare for SQL Server is a reliable tool that will save you time and effort when you need to compare databases on SQL Server. The relentlessly tested compare tool allows working with live SQL Server databases, database snapshots, and backups.
You can compare your SQL Server databases, analyze differences and synchronize your schemas using generated SQL script in a well-designed user interface quickly and without errors.
Atlantis Interactive – Schema Inspector
Schema Inspector offers an easy and fast way to compare and synchronize schema elements of SQL Server databases whether live, test, snapshots or partial databases. Any changes can be checked speedily and easily without errors. It can save your development team lots of time and help you achieve your project delivery accurately and on time. Schema Inspector works in tandem with our Data Inspector and both combine with our SQL Everywhere to make a uniquely integrated “one stop” solution for all SQL developers and administrators alike.
Idera – SQL Comparison Toolset
Schema compare provides a quick and easy way for developers and DBAs to compare SQL Server database schemas and propagate schema changes from one environment to another. Data compare functionality allows you to compare and synchronize tables across servers, databases and versions when performing data migrations, copying databases or auditing data.
Check out the second list of SQL Server comparison tools