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Microsoft SQL Server Software Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is SQL Server?

Microsoft SQL Server is a Database Management System, or DBMS. The iSchool (Go Fudge! IST 359) hosts a version of Microsoft SQL Server for use in class instruction. In a nutshell, there are two components of the SQL server product:

  1. The database engine, which stores the database files, database structure and actual data
  2. The client tools software to connect remotely to the DBMS.

To learn more about SQL server, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver

Q: How does the iSchool teach with SQL Server?

In the iSchool's class environment, each student has their own account hosted on the school's SQL Server, and they use SQL Server Management Studio as the client tool to connect to the hosted database. With SQL Server Management Studio, students can create database structures, add data, and execute SQL statements.

Q: Do I need the SQL Server Software to complete the coursework?

No, you only need the client package (SQL Server Management Studio ) to complete your coursework. This software, which runs on the Windows platform has been installed in the iSchool Labs.

If you would like to use your own Windows computer, then you'll have to download and install it. Watch this video, which walks you through an install of the product on windows 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7whqA-VZaYc

If you want a simpler "lighter client" try http://www.albahari.com/queryexpress.aspx

Q: Where can I download the "Full" SQL Server Software (Database Engine + Client Tools)?

  • For Windows Server Operating Systems (Windows 2003/2008 Server): SQL Server is available at no cost for students via the MSDNAA program https://msdnaa.ischool.syr.edu If you're not a student, or you'd like to get a license of SQL Server for your start-up business, try the BizSpark program.
  • If you're a software or web developer, you get the developer's version of SQL Server installed with Visual Studio. Once again Visual Studio is available at no cost to students on MSDNAA .

Confused by all of these different editions? You're not alone. Check out this blog entry for clarification.

Q: How do I install only the stuff I need (to work on a remote SQL server)?

The easiest method by far is to download and install the Microsoft Web Platform installer. http://www.microsoft.com/web/downloads/platform.aspx

When you run the platform installer, Click on Products at the top, then Database on the left-side find SQL server 2008 R2 Management Studio Express and click Add to install it.

There's also a youtube video which demonstrates how to install it without the platform installer (but the platform installer is by far the easiest method). http://www.youtube.com/michaelfudge#p/a/u/2/7whqA-VZaYc

Q: Can I Run SQL Server on my Mac?

The SQL Server product runs natively ONLY on the Windows platform.

If you have a Mac, you have options, all of which require you to have a legal copy of Windows. You may get a copy of windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 from the MSDNAA program.

Once you have your copy of a Windows Operating System, you can:

After you have Windows installed, then follow the instructions in the "how do I install only the stuff I need" section.

Q: What if I want the SQL client without all the "bloat"

Try Query Express. http://www.albahari.com/queryexpress.aspx It's a lite version of SQL Management studio, and you don't need to install it to run it.