SSDT – Installation confusion

SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is a Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS) replacement, meaning it has a suite of Visual Studio 2010 add-in tools for building Integration Services (SSIS), Analysis Services (SSAS) & Reporting Services (SSRS) solutions (let’s call that suite SSDT-BIDS).  It is also a suite of Visual Studio 2010 add-in tools for building SQL Server database solutions/projects (let’s call that suite SSDT-DB), a replacement for Visual Studio Database Developer edition (aka “Data Dude“).  It also includes features from SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio).  However, depending on how you go about installing SSDT, either SSDT-BIDS or SSDT-DB will not be installed.  I ran through multiple types of installations, and this is what I found out:

If you go thru the SQL Server 2012 installation and choose “SQL Server Data Tools” on the Feature Selection page, it will install SSDT-BIDS as well as the Visual Studio 2010 Integrated Shell (the Integrated Shell will only contain SSDT tools, and does not include VS programming languages and the features that support their respective project systems), it then applies SP1, but does NOT install SSDT-DB.   Instead of installing SSDT-DB it installs a pointer to a web install that you will see when you try to create a new database project in Visual Studio 2010 (in other words it installs a “stub project” that allows SQL Server 2012 users to acquire the latest SSDT version from the web).  So to install SSDT-DB, follow Install SQL Server Data Tools.  I did not realize I was missing the database project functionality until I could not find the SQL Server Object Explorer window in Visual Studio.  Then after wasting much time I realized I still needed to install SSDT-DB.

If you have not installed SQL Server 2012 (or you did install it but did not select  “SQL Server Data Tools” on the Feature Selection page), and go to to download and install SSDT, it will automatically install the Visual Studio 2010 Integrated Shell, apply SP1, and install SSDT-DB, but does NOT install SSDT-BIDS.  If you then install SQL Server 2012 and choose “SQL Server Data Tools” on the Feature Selection page, it will install SSDT-BIDS.  It notices that you already installed the Visual Studio 2010 Integrated Shell and won’t install it again.

Note that when SSDT-BIDS is installed, it also installs the menu item “SQL Server Data Tools” under the “SQL Server 2012” Start Menu option.  When SSDT-DB is installed, it also installs the menu item “Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools” under the root of the Start Menu.  Both of these menu items point to the same executable.

If you have Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition or above installed before you perform an installation of SSDT through SQL server 2012 or on its own, then you must install SP1 manually before installing SSDT.  The SSDT installation will integrate all the functionalities of SSDT into your existing VS environment.

More info:

SSDT – What’s in a name?

FAQ: Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools

Database Projects – Installing the Database Project Template

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
This entry was posted in SQLServerPedia Syndication, SSDT/Juneau. Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to SSDT – Installation confusion

  1. Vishal Pawar says:

    Truelly Confusion to me Too ! Yes James i am really happy to tell you i am also successfully install SQL Server 2012 on machine .. Really thanks for all your update and post !! I will also post on soon them !

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  3. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the helpful post. I have spent all morning trying to figure out why I can’t find the bids templates when I installed SSDT. Could MS make this anymore confusing.

  4. AaronLS says:

    Nice post. I can’t believe this isn’t explained anywhere by MS. I googled and googled. I was thinking that SSDT was only new DB projects and BIDS was still something separate, only because I installed SSDT and it didn’t give me any of the BIDS stuff.

    Can the 2012 BI projects(SSAS/SSRS/SSIS) target a 2008R2 server?

    I am using SSDT-DB for a 2008R2 server. It would be nice if I could upgrade my BI projects so that I can put them in the same VS2010 solution instead of having a separate solution for BIDS 2008(since it is VS 2008).

  5. Thom Pantazi says:

    Nice post, I was excited to see you mention you couldn’t find SQL Server Object Explorer, but I don’t see an answer to my problem. I do see the Data Tool link and it does bring up Visual Studio. Yet when VS loads, there is no SQL Server Object Explorer to be found.

    Wish there was a way to use the stuff Microsoft puts out without all this pain.

  6. Mahesh says:

    Thank you for the post and for all the tips.

    This is the n th time I have struggled or faced confusions due to improper or non-documented info; figuring out issues related to Microsoft products!


  7. Paul says:

    i am working with vs2008 for SSAS, SSIS and SSRS also we use vs2010SP1 for out dbases solutions. I have SSMS2008R2 installed and i would like to know what to install to get the SSAS, SSIS and SSRS running VS2010. Do i need to install SQL2012 first or will it work on SQL2008R2 too.



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  10. Steven says:

    Hi James,
    Could you please clarify, is all the above guidance relevant to SQL Server 2012 Express with Advanced Services too?
    I have Visual Studio 2010 SP1, SSDT and SQL Server 2012 Express installed but cannot create or open VS Reporting Services projects. I don’t have any relevant project type in VS as far as I can make out.
    Many thanks,

    • James Serra says:

      Hi Steven,

      SQL Server 2012 Express does not support any of the BI components (SSIS, SSRS, SSAS). You will need to install a higher version of SQL Server to get those components.

  11. Arun says:

    Thanks for this Great information!!
    we have faced this issue in our side and tried to fix it with the help of your post.

  12. PolishPaul says:

    Microsoft should include this in their documentation, which seems to get worse with each article i read… Thanks!

  13. Stéphane Beauchemin says:


    Thank you so much for this helpful post. I agree that Microsoft should have clarified things around SSDT. I myself spent a couple of hours trying to figure out which package to install.

    Just to be sure, if I install SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2010 in the following sequence:
    1- SQL Server 2012 Developer Edition RTM
    – I uncheck the SSDT from the “select features” panel
    – I then apply the RTM CU1 patch only.
    (I’m not upgrading at this time to SP1 because of many issues
    2- Visual Studio 2010 professionnal + SP1
    3- SSDT using the installer downloaded from the web (June 2013 edition)

    I understand that I will get the SSDT-DB installed. SQL Server BIDS should be gone. Right?

    In your 3rd paragraph from the end, you mention the following:

    “If you then install SQL Server 2012 and choose “SQL Server Data Tools” on the Feature Selection page, it will install SSDT-BIDS.”

    Can you clarify if, by repeating this “SSDT install” using this time SQL Server, I will recover SSDT BIDS while keeping SSDT-DB untouched or if SSDT-BIDS will just replace SSDT-DB?

    Finally, when in your article you mention “a replacement for Visual Studio Database Developer edition” can you clarify what it means? What do you mean by “a remplacement”? Considering that I precisely install Visual Studio 2010 Developer Edition, what change(s) should I observe once I then install SSDT-DB?

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  15. H R says:

    Thank you so much for this info – it was amazing. I was struggling with this issue and had a deadline to meet, but I finally nailed it ONLY after reading your blog!

  16. gerba says:

    Not just confusing, but truly infuriating.

    So to deploy a CLR UDF from VS 2010 I need… SSDT for VS 2010.
    But the download page that you linked no longer has SSDT for VS 2010… as MS is no longer UPDATING it… Okay, do not update it – it’s fine by me. But do provide a link to download still!!! MS only provides the download links for SSDT for VS 2012 and 2013 and tells the VS 2010 users to download those.

    I tried and ended up with a brand new application installed called guess what? Visual Studio 2012. That is not very helpful for VS 2010 user that I am, is it?

  17. Anna says:

    This was so incredibly helpful – thank you! I wish I had found it before chopping up my SQL Server installation to all hell trying to do system restores.

  18. Raj says:

    A quick question – I have just installed SQL Server 2012 along with the VS 2010 shell with Data Tools . However, is it possible to add the Visual Basic and C++ components also?


  19. RK says:

    Where can I find to install Just SSDT without installing SQL server features in local pc. I just wanted to use SSDT to create tabular model, test and deploy it to remote tabular server. is it possible. Can I create analysis server tabular project or import from tabular/powerpivot model without installing SQL server features…

  20. Feriel says:


    I have my database engine installed (sql server 2012) without having ssis, ssrs and ssas services installed. by installing SSDT should I have those services and the visual studio installed ?


    • RK says:

      Hell Feriel,
      I had same issues where I wanted to have just SQL server database and SSDT installed. Just don’t select SSIS, SSRS and SSAS services during installation time, just select SQL engine and SSDT. if you already installed SQL server engine, then just run the setup again and select SSDT so you can have SSDT on your PC and will be ready to use.

  21. Prasad says:

    Hello Sir –

    I am getting following error while running my package from SQL server 2014 server
    Both deployment server as well as agent job servers are 2014.

    “To run a ssis package outside of sql server data tools you must install Lookup of Integration Services or higher.”

    Initially package was designed in 2008 R2 later was upgraded to 2012.

    Please guide. Please let me know in case you need any more information.

  22. Preeti says:

    Hi James,
    I have installed SQL Server 2012 and Visual Studio 2010. When I try to create new SSIS project, it only shows Analysis Service installed under Business Intelligence drop down.

    Can u help me ?


  23. Pooja says:

    The VS file is 6.5GB!! And apparently Windows 10 is not a supported OS with VS 2013.
    I cannot see the Server Objects folder in SQL Server Management Studio.
    Ripping my hair out.

  24. Hemmjy says:

    Very useful and well explained, thank you.

  25. Rameshwar Pawale says:

    SQL Server Visual Studio-SSIS version SSIS PackageFormatVersion

    2005 Studio 2005 (BIDS) 2

    2008/2008R2 Studio 2008 (BIDS) 3

    2012 Studio 2010 SSDT &
    Studio 2012 SSDT-BI 6

    2014 Studio 2013 SSDT-BI 8

    2016 Studio 2015 SSDT 8

  26. Phani says:

    Thank you so much James. This worked perfect. I have been banging my head since 2 days and this article rescued me.

  27. senthilkumar says:

    Hi James.

    I tried to apply patches in 2012 sp1 to Sp3, completed succesfully but data tools failed. Please help me to fix the issues.


  28. Kumar A says:

    I have SQL 2008R2 Databases and Visual Studio 2013 and TFS server 2010. if i try to create SSDT project if it throwing unresolved references. is there any compatibility issues ?

    to create a SSDT solution for SQL 2008r2 what do we need? like what version of Visual Studio, what version of TFS server?

    thank you for help in Advance