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We're trying to upgrade to SharePoint Server 2016 and I understand that there is no Foundation version for it anymore.

My question is, when I buy the SharePoint Server 2016 Standard/Enterprise license, is there a free SQL server that I can use?

Currently, I have SQL Server 2012. Can I still use that?

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SharePoint Server 2016 supports SQL-Server 2014 (with SP1), 2016 and 2017. You cannot install it on SQL-Server 2012.

You also need a paid version of SQL-Server (Standard or Enterprise Edition). SQL-Express is not supported as it's limitations are not sufficient to serve a SharePoint environment.

You must also consider the SharePoint User CAL in your price calculation!

Reference: Hardware and software requirements for SharePoint Server 2016

If your budget and the number of users are limited, you might want to evaluate SharePoint Office 365. SharePoint is included in several plans:
- A bunch of "SharePoint-only" plans
- Office 365 Business Premium. You are limited to a maximum of 300 users here!
- Office 365 Enterprise E1, E3 and E5

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