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In SQL Server 2008 Essential Training, Simon Allardice explores all the major features of SQL Server 2008 R2, beginning with core concepts: installing, planning, and building a first database. Explore how Transact-SQL is used to retrieve, update, and insert information, and gain insight into how to effectively administer databases. The course also covers features outside SQL Server's database engine, including technologies that have grown up around it: SQL Server Reporting Services and Integration Services. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you're new to SQL Server you'd be forgiven for thinking that there is one program, one application that manages all of it. But if you could look at the desktop or the laptop of a typical SQL Server database administrator, you'd see a bunch of installed Microsoft programs that they would consider to be just part of their SQL Server 2008 toolkit. In fact, these that I'm looking at right now are the programs that you'd see on your Start menu after a typical SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition installation.
Although the SQL Server database engine itself might be installed on a separate machine in your back office or data center or even in the cloud, these programs are what you'd want to have on your desktop or laptop. They are what you're going to use to connect to the SQL Server machine. Now you could ask which one is the most important and of course I'd say that they're all important. But for this course we're initially interested in three of the available tools and really in one of them more than anything. Here is the main one, SQL Server Management Studio.
This is the program we'll spend most of our time in. We'll use it to connect to SQL Server, even to different SQL Server machines. We'll use it to explore what's on the server. We'll create databases with it. We'll work with security with it. We can edit the data in those databases. We can write SQL to administer our database. We'll spend a lot of time in SQL Server Management Studio. Now at some point, you're also going to need to use SQL Server Configuration Manager. Now this is actually a small program.
It's small but it's essential. This manages which parts of SQL Server are running. What other machines can talk to SQL Server and what network protocols are allowed. It lets you start and stop the different pieces of your SQL Server machine. Now after SQL Server has actually been installed and configured for the first time, you probably won't need to use this all that often, but you will run into it now and again. You should also have access to SQL Server Books Online. This is the help system.
Now wait, wait before you dismiss this. Yes, we've all encountered help systems that aren't worth the name, where you just end up going out to the web to find the assistance that you're looking for. But SQL Server Books Online is one of the best technical help systems you'll ever come across and it's often underestimated by beginners. It's well thought out. It's huge. It covers everything from installation and setup to using and creating your databases. It's both a complete reference of every little piece of SQL Server and it's full of tutorials as well.
You'll find that when you need to look things up, you'll often go to Books Online first, instead of out to the web. Now you can find a web-based version of SQL Server Books Online but I'm a big fan of having it installed on my desktop as it's easier and faster to use it, to navigate and search through it, and as you get more advanced you'll use even more of these available tools. Now there are several tools that a database administrator might use that we won't be using in this course. Things like the Database Engine Tuning Advisor or the Analysis Services Deployment Wizard, as they are beyond the scope of this course and we don't need to know them to get moving with SQL Server.
But the ones we do need to worry about right now are SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server Configuration Manager, and SQL Server Books Online. So how do we get these if we don't have them already? If you're going to be installing SQL Server yourself, you can just choose to install all of these tools during the full install and we'll see that a little later on. If you already have a database engine installed somewhere else and you just need the tools to talk to that and work with it, you can run through a regular SQL Server install but you have an option to just install the tools.
Now to get to this you will still need the regular SQL Server Install Media, the DVD or the ISO file. If you have an MSDN or TechNet subscription, you can download it from there. If you're working with the free SQL Server Express editions you'll find your download options at www.microsoft. com/express/database and the default downloader that you can get here installs the database and the management tools. It's a cut down version of SQL Server Management Studio called SQL Server Management Studio Express.
You want to take care with this because you will find that SQL Server Express is available in a variety of editions ,some which are just the database only, some are just the management tools, some are both of them together and some with advanced services, which includes reporting services. We'll see this when we get to the install. SQL Server Express edition doesn't include Books Online but you can download that separately and in this case you would go to microsoft.com/downloads and just search for it.
I'd be careful here that I would search for "books online 2008 r2," because whenever you're downloading anything from Microsoft do pay close attention to the version numbers. Because there are so many versions of SQL Server that still need to be supported, it's very easy to end up downloading a SQL Server 2005 program. So again everything I'm being careful to look up is not just 2008 but 2008 r2. But with all that in mind we can go ahead and get ready for the install.
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