About SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It is a highly scalable product that can be run on anything from a single laptop, to a network of high-powered cloud servers, and anything in between.

Of course, by "anything", it still needs to satisfy the usual hardware and software requirements, but these requirements are reasonably modest, considering what SQL Server is capable of.

SQL Server is the number 1 most-used database in the world. Well, according to Microsoft it is! But they could be right - it's certainly widely used.

Since the release of SQL Server 1.0 in 1989, SQL Server has evolved to become a true, enterprise information platform. While it's core function is that of an RDBMS, SQL Server has become much more than that. SQL Server 2014 includes built-in business intelligence tools, as well as a range of analysis and reporting tools. This is on top of the database management tools such as database creation, backup, replication, security, and more.

This tutorial focusses more on the database management tools.

Database Management Tools

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

Some typical database administration and programming tasks could include:

These are some of many tasks that a database administrator (DBA) might need to perform. SQL Server provides the means for performing these tasks.

Server Database Systems

SQL Server is a server database system, as opposed to a desktop system such as MS Access.

Server based database systems are designed to run on a central server - or servers - 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. 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. So users are both reading and updating the database simultaneously. You need a good, robust database system for this type of usage. After all, you wouldn't want your database to lock up because too many users are trying to access it. Or worse still, you wouldn't want corrupt data in your database due to wires getting crossed somewhere along the way.

Generally, it's the website application that provides the functionality to these visitors (for example, the website could be built using say, ColdFusion, HTML, and JavaScript). It is the database that stores the data and makes it available. However, 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 SQL Server 2014 with Tools.

The next lesson discusses the various editions of SQL Server 2014.