About SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) designed to run on platforms ranging from laptops to large multiprocessor servers. SQL Server is commonly used as the backend system for websites and corporate CRMs and can support thousands of concurrent users.

SQL Server comes with a number of tools to help you with your database administration and programming tasks.

SQL Server is much more robust and scalable than a desktop database management system such as Microsoft Access. Anyone who has ever tried using Access as a backend to a website will probably be familiar with the errors that were generated when too many users tried to access the database!

Although SQL Server can also be run as a desktop database system, it is most commonly used as a server database system.

Server Database Systems

Server based database systems are designed to run on a central server, so that multiple users can access the same data simultaneously. The users normally access the database through an application.

For example, a website could store all its content in a database. Whenever a visitor views an article, they are retrieving data from the database. As you know, websites aren't normally limited to just one user. So, at any given moment, a website could be serving up hundreds, or even thousands of articles to its website visitors. At the same time, other users could be updating their personal profile in the members' area, or subscribing to a newsletter, or anything else that website users do.

Generally, it's the application that provides the functionality to these visitors. It is the database that stores the data and makes it available. Having said that, SQL Server does include some useful features that can assist the application in providing its functionality.

SQL Server Editions

SQL Server comes in many editions. Some are paid versions others are free. The examples in this tutorial were done using the free Express version of SQL Server.

The next lesson discusses the various editions of SQL Server 2008.