Microsoft SQL Server is Microsoft's classic relational database management system (RDBMS) and one of the best-selling databases on the market.
The database runs in server mode, but can only be installed on Windows servers, providing data and structure access and manipulation services, which can be used from client applications or tools such as SQL Server Management Studio, SQLCmd, or third-party tools that can use connectors such as ODBC, ADO.NET or OLE-DB to execute TSQL commands on SQL Server.
For manipulation of data and database structures, SQL Server uses the Transact-SQL language, or TSQL, derived from standard SQL.
Apart from the basic data management services, this RDBMS has incorporated new services in successive versions, such as advanced textual search and, above all, Business Intelligence services, so that this Microsoft product also includes the necessary tools to implement a BI system.
These tools are the ETL SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), the SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) tool for creating OLAP cubes and the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) tool for creating and accessing operational reports.
SQL Server also provides easy-to-use tools and utilities for managing backups, applying data compression, replication services, scheduling and executing tasks, sending emails, a service broker, and tools for maintenance, profiling, activity tracking and performance optimisation.
SQL Server 2016 incorporates new features such as the use of in-memory technology, R Services for advanced analytics with the R language directly from the database, and services for creating reports for mobile devices with SSRS.
The latest release, SQL Server 2019, builds on previous versions to leverage SQL Server as a platform that provides diverse choices of development languages, data types, on-premises and cloud environments, and operating systems. This release incorporates enhancements such as Big Data Clusters for the database, and additional features for SQL Server Database Engines, SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Machine Learning Services, SQL Server on Linux and SQL Server Master Data Services.
In terms of purchasing and licensing, Microsoft offers different editions of SQL Server, ranging from a free and very limited Express version to the Enterprise version, which includes the full functionality of the database system and Business Intelligence for environments requiring high performance for a large number of users. The intermediate version is the Standard Edition which, although more basic, also includes the main Business Intelligence tools and functionality.
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