SQL Server

What is it?

SQL Server logo

SQL Server is a database engine used to store data. Unlike Microsoft Access (which can also store data), it does not come with tools to input or display data. That is done via web pages that connect to the database or a program written using a program like Visual Studio by a developer that connects to the database.

What does it do?

The SQL Server program can run many databases. Perhaps one department of your company needs a database for their purposes only. A different department also needs one for a completely different purpose that has nothing to do with the other department.


It's possible you already have it without realising it! SQL Server comes with different versions of Windows Server.

There are different versions:

What do we do with it for you?

Cloud version

There is now an alternative to running your own SQL Server software, which is to let Microsoft run it for you!

Microsoft Azure logo

In order to run the SQL Server software locally you may need to;

  • buy a machine to run it on,
  • have somewhere to keep it (they're often noisy as they need cooling),
  • buy Windows Server software,
  • buy SQL Server.

All of which could be quite expensive.

Cloud computing
  • You will also need to back it up and have the expertise to restore it.
  • If you have a Windows application or Access front end at different sites that need to connect to the database you will need to set up your network to allow this access.

Azure SQL Database does away with these problems as it runs in Microsoft's data centres. Your front end programs are pointed to your Azure SQL Database database not your internal one.

Of course there are things you need to consider:

But probably the biggest advantage is cost. The pricing starts at £6 per month. Yes it's not a typo - six pounds per month!

We have one customer running out of three sites with an Access front end and about ten users. They are very happy with it.

The Microsoft Azure site has more information, but it can be overwhelming as it's pretty technical!


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