Make ADS An Optional Install Alongside SSMS

Odd Couple


SSMS 18.7 was released, with an announcement that whenever you install SSMS from here on out, you’d also be installing Azure Data Studio, along with whatever dependencies exist in there. Right now, there’s a short list, but that might change so I’m not going to get into it.

It’s an odd choice, and a bit forced. Sort of like whenever you go to update Java and it wants to install three toolbars and something to clean out your internet cache. But at least Oracle has the decency to ask first.

I’ve opened a UserVoice item to let ADS be an optional install, rather than forced.

The thing is, they’re tools for totally different people. If you look at the feature comparison sheet for ADS and SSMS, you can see what I mean.

Don’t You Read The Slides?


Mr. O has a great slide about the different kinds of DBAs you might meet in the world. If you pair that up with the features that are available in each tool, you can see where each one pretty neatly fits into different roles and the way they’d work.

If you need to work cross-platform, deal with source code, big data clusters, or more developer-related tasks, ADS is for you.

Go get it! After all, it’s still a standalone download, too 🤔🤔🤔

If you’re working with query plans in depth, AGs, Query Store, or about a dozen other tasks that are more DBA-focused, you still have to use SSMS, and it doesn’t make much sense to switch back and forth unless you specifically need something only ADS does.

Likewise, it doesn’t make sense to switch between ADS and SSMS if you don’t use any of the SSMS-specific functionality.

There’s totally part of the crowd that might need both. I get that, too. But bundling them together is sort of like selling someone a six pack of beer, where three of them are non-alcoholic.

I’ve nothing against ADS. I think it fits well into very specific workflows, just not enough to force everyone who needs SSMS to also install it.

Make ADS An Optional Install Alongside SSMS


From the UserVoice issue:

Starting with SSMS 18.7, Azure Data Studio is being automatically installed alongside SSMS with no option to not install it. ADS is still available as a standalone install, though.

I’d like a way to make the install optional for people who don’t need any ADS functionality.

Particularly for admins putting SSMS on their SQL Server for whom additional unknown dependencies might not be tolerable to security teams, not having to remember to uninstall additional items every time they update SSMS would be helpful. Even with an automated deployment, it requires an installation and then multiple uninstaller runs.

On top of that, ADS is updated monthly, and SSMS has a less frequent release cadence. That leaves most people juggling two installers anyway, or only updating ADS when they update SSMS. That seems an odd choice, especially given the lack of reciprocal bundling.

Thanks for reading!