Installing SSDT

Data Engineering Academy
3 min readOct 17, 2020

SQL Server data tools (SSDT) for those that don’t know is an IDE for building SQL server content (Relational DBs, SSIS, SSRS or SSAS projects and packages). It’s gone by a few different names over the years (and versions) but broadly speaking, no matter the name, they all have the same look and feel. What has changed though, is how you install it.

Prior to SQL server 2012, BIDS ( Business Intelligence Development Studio) was as an optional install within every SQL server installation to develop SSIS, SSAS, SSRS packages. It did not however support the development of relational databases. However, since SQL 2012 onward Microsoft, stopped shipping SQL server with BIDs and began to take steps to integrate it into Visual Studio and leverage a number of key benefits it already offered such as refactoring and integrated source control. How to install SSDT in the various versions of Visual studio is described below.

SSDT for VS 2010 to VS 2015

This first integration step took the form of a Visual Studio shell product which was installed as a separate ISO image.

Steps to install:

  1. Download SSDT for Visual Studio 2015
  2. Launch the ISO image.
  3. Run the SSDTSetup.exe executable:

SSDT for VS 2017

With Visual Studio 2017, SSDT came as an integrated installation option when choosing your workloads:

However this installation option only allows you to create relational database projects. It does not allow you to create SSIS, SSAS or SSRS projects. In order to be able to create these projects, you’ll need to install the additional standalone installer. Note, that if you choose “Install a new SQL Server Data Tools instance” in the drop down, a shell version of Visual studio will be installed. For the best developer experience it’s recommended the latest VS version is installed.

SSDT for VS 2019

Similar to Visual Studio 2017, SSDT comes as an integrated installation option when choosing your workloads in VS 2019 and once again it only allows you to create relational database projects. The difference in installation comes when you want to create SSIS, SSAS or SSRS packages. In VS 2019, you no longer add these features in installing a standalone installer, you install them using the appropriate extension from Tools > Extensions and Updates or the MS marketplace.

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