Management Studio is now a completely standalone product, not tied to any specific version or edition of SQL Server, and no longer requires licensing of any kind. You can read about some of the major changes to this new release cycle approach here:
You should also note that there is a new, much more aggressive support policy for SSMS, meaning you will want to stay up to date. If you contact Microsoft about an issue with a build that is a point release behind, they will just tell you to upgrade:
And you can always download the latest releases here:
Typically, you should expect a new build about every 30 days, though as you can see below they will sometimes sneak out an out-of-band release (or take a little longer, such as when 17.0 came out of RC). People seem to be quite happy dealing with this faster-paced delivery model, even though during the beta cycles it comes with the risk of an occasional setback and waiting a few days for a fix. To me this is way better than the old model, where sometimes we would wait months or years for any change at all.
|Label||Build #||Date Released|
|18.0 Preview 6||15.0.18075.0||2018-12-18||18.0 Preview 5||15.0.18068.0||2018-11-15||18.0 Preview 4||15.0.18040.0||2018-09-24||17.9.1||14.0.17289.0||2018-11-21||17.9||14.0.17285.0||2018-09-04||17.8.1||14.0.17277.0||2018-06-26|
Microsoft has made it a little bit easier to find previous supported releases of Management Studio by putting up a download page here. It will continue to offer the latest builds for SQL Server 2012 and SQL Server 2014 for as long as they are supported, but with two active branches in development (and with 16.5 all but ceasing, with the focus on 17.0), you should not expect many new updates outside of any remaining service packs that will be released.
This page doesn't offer anything in the 2005, 2008, or 2008 R2 flavors though. The following table has a link to the latest known publicly available download if you need 2008/2008 R2 SSMS support for things like SSIS packages. You can install this older release side-by-side with 2012, 2014, or the new branch. Not sure there is any plausible reason to choose 2012, 2014, or 2016 over the new branch, but if that's what you want to do, you can.
|Version||Service Pack||Build #||Date||Download|
|SQL Server 2014||SP1||12.0.4100.1||2015-05-14||Download|
|SQL Server 2012||SP3||11.0.6020.0||2015-11-21||Download|
|SQL Server 2008 R2||SP2||10.50.4000||2012-07-02||Download|
|The 2008 R2 link takes you to the 2008 R2 Express download page. When you click "Download" on that page, you'll have some choices; for SSMS you want SQLManagementStudio_x64_ENU.exe or, if your hardware is from last century, SQLManagementStudio_x86_ENU.exe.|
It may be possible, of course, to get a later build of SSMS by subsequently applying newer service packs, but it is not something we've gotten around to testing.