Chapter 1. Before you begin

SQL Server is Microsoft’s relational database management system (RDBMS), and it’s at the heart of many corporate applications. Its job is, quite simply, to store data. Application developers write applications that add, remove, and change data constantly. As a major platform component, SQL Server requires a bit of ongoing maintenance—and that’s what this book is designed to teach.

1.1. Is this book for you?

Let’s start by making sure this is the SQL Server book for you. This book doesn’t set out to make you a Database Administrator (DBA), nor does it cover anything in the way of SQL Server development or programming. Instead, this book is meant as a starting point, and from here you could go on to being a DBA or developer. This book is about maintaining SQL Server, monitoring it, and doing a bit in the way of performance tuning. Mostly, this book focuses on how to spot problem situations that you might not even have permission to fix, and that you’ll have to report to someone else, such as an application developer. I’ll help you understand where to look, and what data to collect, so that your report can be as useful as possible to whomever you send it.

1.2. How to use this book

1.3. Setting up your lab environment

1.4. SQL Server documentation

1.5. Online resources

1.6. A word on my recommendations

1.7. Being immediately effective with SQL Server