Home > Sample chapters > Programming > SQL Server

Overview of Microsoft SQL Server 2012

In this chapter from Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Step by Step, you will examine the components and features of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and determine how they fit into your installation.

After completing this chapter, you will be able to

  • Explain SQL Server components and features and their uses.
  • Identify SQL Server features vital to your environment.
  • Define and scope your SQL Server installation topology from a high level.

The process of learning a new technology can be daunting and sometimes involves a tremendous amount of time and effort. Each step of the process, from installing and configuring the software to deploying the first project, introduces new challenges. These challenges often grow when the technology includes several components and features, so the first step, especially with a multicomponent technology, is to identify the components your environment requires and gain a good understanding of the functionality of each component. To that end, in this chapter, you will examine the components and features of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and determine how they fit into your installation.

Like most relational database management systems (RDBMS), SQL Server 2012 includes several components. The product itself, however, is often divided into two distinct categories: business intelligence (BI) and the Database Engine.

Business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) refers to data transformed into knowledge that can then be used to make more informed business decisions. For example, a company whose primary purpose is to sell bikes could use its data to identify sales trends and the purchasing patterns of its customers. From that analysis, the company could decide to focus sales efforts on a particular area or region, which in turn could lead to better opportunities and offer the company competitive advantages in its industry.

While the BI features of SQL Server 2012 can add highly visible and effective value to business users and data consumers, in this book you’ll focus primarily on the features specific to the Database Engine.