Choose the Database Used for WSUS 3.0 SP2

You do not need to be a database administrator or purchase database software to use WSUS. WSUS 3.0 SP2 will install Windows Internal Database if you choose to install a minimal version of SQL Server. This version of SQL Server is designed to require very little management by the WSUS administrator. If you already have Windows Internal Database installed, WSUS will use it. If you want more control over the database, you can also use the full version of SQL Server with WSUS.

The WSUS database stores the following types of information:

  • WSUS server configuration information
  • Metadata that describes each update
  • Information about client computers, updates, and client interaction with updates


You should not attempt to manage WSUS by accessing data directly in the database. Manage WSUS by using the WSUS console, or programmatically by calling WSUS APIs.

Each WSUS server requires its own database. If there are multiple WSUS servers in your environment, you must have multiple WSUS databases. WSUS does not support storing multiple WSUS databases on a SQL Server instance. The only exception is the case of a network load balanced cluster using a SQL Server failover cluster, as described in Appendix C: Configure WSUS for Network Load Balancing.

WSUS does support running database software on a computer separate from WSUS, but there are some restrictions. See Appendix B: Configure Remote SQL for more information.

Selecting a database

Use the following information to determine what database software is right for your organization. Once you have made a selection, see if there are any additional tasks you need to complete to set up the database software to work with WSUS. You can use any database software that is 100-percent compatible with Microsoft SQL. There are two options that have been tested extensively for use with WSUS:

  • Windows Internal Database ships with WSUS 3.0 SP2. This version of SQL Server does not have a user interface or tools. Administrators are meant to interact with these products through WSUS.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 are full-featured database software from Microsoft. WSUS 3.0 SP2 requires SQL Server 2005 with Service Pack 2 or SQL Server 2008. If you use the full version of SQL Server, the SQL Server administrator should enable the nested triggers option in SQL Server. Do this before the WSUS administrator installs WSUS and specifies the database during the setup process. WSUS Setup enables the recursive triggers option, which is a database-specific option; however, it does not enable the nested triggers option, which is a server global option.

Microsoft does not recommend using Windows Internal Database (WID) over SQL. The choice of database is up to you. Some facts to consider are:

  • SQL and WID provide the same performance characteristics for a singer server configuration (where the database and the front-end server are on the same computer. This configuration scales to support several thousand clients. There is no advantage to using SQL rather than WID in this configuration.
  • Full SQL can be deployed remotely and is required for Network Load Balancing (NLB) in a multi-server configuration. NLB provides performance improvements for a multi-server configuration. Therefore, if you want to scale-up a single node, you would need to use Full SQL.
  • WID does not ship with management tools. If you already have Full SQL installed and processes in place for backing up and defragmenting the database, then you should consider using Full SQL for WSUS.
  • If you have many WSUS servers (for example, in branch offices) then you should consider using WID on the secondary servers. Because each WSUS server needs a separate instance of SQL, if you only have one SQL server, you will quickly run into database performance issues when multiple WSUS servers use difference instances of the single SQL server.

Database authentication, instance, and database name

You cannot use SQL authentication with WSUS, which supports only Windows authentication. If you choose Windows Internal Database for the WSUS database, WSUS Setup creates an instance of SQL Server named server\MICROSOFT##SSEE, where server is the name of the computer. With either database option, WSUS Setup creates a database named SUSDB. The name of this database is not configurable.

In most cases each WSUS server will use a different SQL Server instance. One exception is the network load balancing configuration, in which multiple WSUS servers use a clustered SQL Server instance. For more information about this configuration and how to set it up, see Appendix C: Configure WSUS for Network Load Balancing.