MS SQL Server is a system developed by Microsoft that is used for the management of relational databases. The main query language that is used with this system is Transact-SQL, and MS SQL Server is used both by large and small companies. Microsoft SQL Server was designed by the company to compete with IBM and Oracle. The introduction of this software announced the decision by Microsoft to move into the database market. The very first version of MS SQL Server was released in 1993. While Sybase played a role in the earlier versions, it was not instrumental in the versions that were released for NT.
As of this writing, the latest version of MS SQL Server was released in 2005. In addition to being a database tool, it is also useful for ETL and Reporting Servers. In addition to this, it can work with both OLAP and a number of different messaging devices. Transact SQL is a variation of SQL that is specifically used by MS SQL Server. T-SQL is useful because it gives syntax that is delegated towards stored procedures, and it also supports transactions. MS SQL Server can communicate through networks by using TDS, or Tabular Data Stream. It should also be noted that Open Database Connectivity is supported as well.
Microsoft has released a variation of MS SQL Server that is called Microsoft SQL Server Express. It is a free tool that is designed for those who are working with smaller programs. However, there are a number of restrictions that exist with MSSE. These restrictions are not good for those who are working on large projects. One of the most prominent restrictions is the maximum size of the database, which is 4 gigabytes for each database. However, some have figured out a way around this restriction by connecting together more than one database.
Some of the restrictions are directly connected to hardware. Only one CPU can be utilized, and the limit for RAM is 1 gigabyte. In addition to this, SQL Server Agent is not available. A computer worm was released in 2003 which took advantage of a loophole in security within MS SQL 2000, and a large part of the internet was much slower than usual. While Microsoft has been quite successful with MS SQL Server, they have a number of powerful competitors. The primary competitor that Microsoft has in the database market is both IBM and Oracle. One of the major disadvantages to MS SQL Server is that it only functions with Windows based systems.
Both Oracle and IBM offer database tools that can function with multiple operating systems. As of this writing, IBM has surpassed Microsoft in the high end market, though it should be noted that most companies use both Microsoft and IBM server tools. But IBM and Oracle are not the only competitors Microsoft faces in this market. A number of open source database tools have been released that are either free or high competitive in cost to license. Some of these are Firebird and MySQL.