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Microsoft SQL Server versions 2005, 2008 and 2008 R2 are no longer supported in Automation Engine 18.0 and higher. From v18 on, Automation Engine moved to SQL Server 2017 Express for its on board SQL Server. This upgrade also required an update of the Microsoft SQL driver, and that driver no longer supports SQL Server 2008 R2 (or older).


For local database servers (i.e. SQL Server and Automation Engine are on the same computer), the installer will detect an unsupported database and block the upgrade from continuing.

In case of a remote database server (SQL Server and Automation Engine are on a different computer), the installer will not be able to detect an unsupported database, which may leave your system unsupported and broken (some components are known to be broken).


These unsupported databases are still quite commonly at Esko customers. Esko shipped 2008 R2 until Automation Engine v14.0.1 (released in October 2014).

  • Automation Engine 12.0.0, 12.0.1 and 12.1.0 were shipped with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express.
  • Automation Engine 12.1.1, 12.2 and 14.0.x were shipped with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Express.
  • Automation Engine 14.1.x, 16.0.x and 16.1.x were shipped with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Express.

Note that this limitation also applies to so-called 'External Databases' (Pilot >Tools > Configure > External Database) where the DBMS type is "Microsoft SQL Server". For these external databases,  

describes a workaround that allows to still use an older version of SQL Server.


Follow these steps to upgrade to Automation Engine 18.x:

  1. Check if the version of Microsoft SQL server is still compatible with Automation Engine 18.x (SQL 2012 or newer are supported)

    • Check the host name and instance of the configured SQL Server. Do this in the Automation Engine Pilot, go to Tools > Configure > Automation Engine Databases.
    • Check if the version of SQL Server is at least SQL Server 2012 or newer: Do this with Microsoft SQL Studio Management Express or using Server Admin, SQL Server.
      • If the installed version of SQL Server is 2005, 2008 or 2008 R2, proceed to step 2 to upgrade SQL Server 2005 to 2014 or 2017.
      • If the installed version of SQL Server is 2012 or newer, you can upgrade without problems to Automation Engine 18.x.

  1. Upgrade Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008 to SQL Server 2014 or 2017

    • Verify that the compatibility level is set to SQL 2005 (see  ).
    • Stop the Automation Engine server software on the Master server.
    • Using the Automation Engine Server Admin web page, make a full backup, including the databases. Make sure no errors occur when creating the backup.
    • Go to the Windows Services and stop the services: SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) and also (if it exists) SQL Server (EG_APPSRV_JBOSS).
    • On the Automation Engine Master server, Go to Control panel and double click Program and Features.
      • Double click either Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server 2008 (64 bit) or SQL Server 2008 R2 (64 bit ). Select the MSSQLSERVER (the unnamed instance), check the Workstation Components options and click Next to uninstall.
      • If there is a Microsoft SQL Server instance with the name EG_APPSRV_JBOSS (instance used by the EG Application Server), repeat the previous step but now select the instance EG_APPSRV_JBOSS and click Next to uninstall the named instance.
      • Check if there are other entries referring to Microsoft SQL Server 2005 in the Program and Features. If so, uninstall them as well.
      • If you get an error while uninstalling SQL Server 2005, you need to uninstall it manually. Please check
    • Once Microsoft SQL Server is completely uninstalled, reboot the Automation Engine Server.
    • After the reboot, stop the Automation Engine Server software again.
    • Go the the folder bg_data_fastserver_dbase and delete the Microsoft SQL Server database files (*.mdf, *.ldf).
    • If the operating system of your Automation Engine database server is running Windows 2008 R2:
    • If the operating system of your Automation Engine database server is running Windows 2012 or higher:
      • Using the Automation Engine 18.x DVD, go to Extra, click the link: Install the Microsoft SQL Server 2017 for the Automation Engine component and follow the onscreen instructions.
    • In the Automation Engine Server Admin web page, stop the Automation Engine server software.
    • Go to Restore and from the backup you have taken. Restore the database only and select all the Microsoft SQL databases.
    • If, previously, there was a named instance EG_APPSRV_JBOSS, this database will not be restored. Follow these steps to do this manually:
      • Stop the Automation Engine Server software.
      • In Server Admin, go to Database and unlock it so you can make changes.
      • Create a new database.
      • When asked, choose to create a database from a backup file.
      • Go to: \Esko\AEBackup\timestamp\AppServer\Database and select the file Fastlane_JBoss.
      • Make sure settings are filled in as:
        • Database name: Fastlane_JBoss
        • Database master file: \Esko\bg_data_fastserver_dbase\Fastlane_JBoss.mdf
        • Database transaction log file: \Esko\bg_data_fastserver_dbase\Fastlane_JBoss.ldf
    • Start up Automation Engine Server software. Verify if all databases are working properly (use 'Server checks -> databases').
    • In case of problems, go to Pilot > Configure > Automation Engine Databases and adapt settings to the SQL Database Server.
  2. Upgrade Automation Engine 14.x/16.x to Automation Engine 16.1

    • After either upgrading to SQL Server 2014 or remaining with an older SQL 2008 or 2012, you can upgrade Automation Engine from version 14.0 onwards to Automation Engine 18.x.

  3. After the upgrade, run a database check and optionally upgrade soon outdated versions to a newer version of SQL Server.

    • On the Automation Engine Server Admin web page, go to Server Checks and run the database check.
    • Check if you have warnings for a soon outdated version (f.e.: SQL 2012).
    • If so, we advice to upgrade to SQL 2014 or 2017, depending on your operating system. In the near future as a new version of Automation Engine might not support SQL 2012 anymore.
  4. Check and possibly update the compatibility level of the Microsoft SQL Server databases.

  5. Verify that your upgraded Automation Engine server is working OK.

    • Verify that the Automation Engine Server software is working as expected.
    • Once all done, go to the 'AE Server Admin web page' and 
      • stop the Automation Engine server software.
      • create a full backup, including the databases. 
    • Store this backup in a safe place.
Article information
Applies to

 Automation Engine 18.0 and higher



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