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SQL Server Basics


SQL Server is a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that runs on platforms as diverse as tablets and smartphones up to 64-bit Clustered Servers.In all “Editions”, SQL Server runs only on Microsoft operating systems. It can also run inside a Virtual Machine (again, the guest must be running almost any modern Microsoft operating system). The database is accessed by many users who access the database through programs on their desktop or through a website application.It’s important to understand that while SQL Server must run in a Windows Operating system, the clients do not. They can run almost anything.

SQL Server is controlled by a set of Windows Services. The main service that starts the database is called MSSQLServer. There can only exist one default SQL instance in a Server.
If you see that service name followed by a $ sign and then more letters which means your SQL instance has been setup as Named Instance. An Instance is just a way of having more than one SQL Server running on a single box.

Another service you’ll see is called SQLServerAgent. This is a service that controls all of the automatic things/jobs that run on the server which is sort of an AT command or a CRON system if you’re used to those programs.

If the system has automated maintenance on it (always a good idea) then you should see this service running.

The most likely versions you’ll see of SQL Server are 2000, 2005, 2008 and 2008 R2. Expecting release of SQL Denali is few months.

Within these versions, there are different Editions. The Editions have to do with the limitations and capabilities that are available. They range anywhere from the MSDE engine (in versions through 2000) and the Express edition (2005 and higher), Personal, Standard, Workgroup (2005 and higher) and then Enterprise and Datacenter Editions.

On the security side, SQL Server can use Windows accounts to allow access to the server and then the databases and their objects (such as tables and views) or you can create new logins within SQL Server that don’t require Windows accounts.

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