SQL Server Definitions

This glossary explains the meaning of key words and phrases that information technology (IT) and business professionals use when discussing Microsoft SQL Server and related software products. You can find additional definitions by visiting WhatIs.com or using the search box below.

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  • A

    ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability)

    ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation, and durability) is an acronym and mnemonic device for learning and remembering the four primary attributes ensured to any transaction by a transaction manager (which is also called a transaction monitor).

  • ActiveX Data Objects (ADO)

    ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) is an application program interface from Microsoft that lets a programmer writing Windows applications get access to a relational or non-relational database from both Microsoft and other database providers.

  • AdventureWorks Database

    AdventureWorks Database is a sample OLTP database that Microsoft ships with all of its SQL Server database products.

  • AlwaysOn Availability Groups

    AlwaysOn Availability Groups is a database mirroring technique for Microsoft SQL Server that allows administrators to pull together a group of user databases that can fail over together.

  • application server

    An application server is a server program in a computer in a distributed network that provides the business logic for an application program.

  • AS1 (Applicability Statement 1)

    AS1 (Applicability Statement is a specification for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) communications between businesses using e-mail protocols.

  • Azure Data Studio (formerly SQL Operations Studio)

    Azure Data Studio is a Microsoft tool, originally named SQL Operations Studio, for managing SQL Server databases and cloud-based Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse systems.

  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse

    Azure SQL Data Warehouse is a managed Data Warehouse-as-a Service (DWaaS) offering provided by Microsoft Azure.

  • B

    B-tree

    A B-tree is a method of placing and locating files (called records or keys) in a database.

  • binary tree

    A binary tree is a method of placing and locating files (called records or keys) in a database, especially when all the data is known to be in random access memory (RAM).

  • BLOB (binary large object)

    In computers, a BLOB (binary large object), pronounced BLAHB and sometimes spelled in all lower case, is a large file, typically an image or sound file, that must be handled (for example, uploaded, downloaded, or stored in a database) in a special way because of its size.

  • block

    A block is a contiguous set of bits or bytes that forms an identifiable unit of data.

  • C

    C++

    C++ is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language that is viewed by many as the best language for creating large-scale applications.

  • catalog

    In computing, a catalog is a directory of information about data sets, files, or a database.

  • Collaboration Data Objects (CDO)

    Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) is Microsoft's technology for building messaging or collaboration applications or adding these capabilities to existing applications.

  • columnstore index

    A columnstore index is a type of index used to store, manage and retrieve data stored in a columnar format in a database.

  • comma-separated values file (CSV)

    In computers, a CSV (comma-separated values) file contains the values in a table as a series of ASCII text lines organized so that each column value is separated by a comma from the next column's value and each row starts a new line.

  • Commerce XML (cXML or Commerce Extensible Markup Language)

    Commerce XML (cXML) is a standard for the online exchange of business transaction information in common formats.

  • commit

    A commit is the final step in the successful completion of a previously started database change as part of handling a transaction in a computing system.

  • Community Technology Preview (CTP)

    The Community Technology Preview (CTP) is an early version of a Microsoft product that is released to testers during the software development process. Microsoft releases several CTPs for each product, adding new features, updating pre-existing ones and fixing bugs with each release.

  • contiguity

    Contiguity (from Latin contiguus and contingere, to have contact with) is the state of being in close proximity with or even touching another object.

  • contiguous

    Contiguous describes two or more objects that are adjacent to each other.

  • CORBA (Common Object Request Broker Architecture)

    Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is an architecture and specification for creating, distributing, and managing distributed program objects in a network.

  • Java container

    In Sun Microsystems' JavaBeans component architecture and in Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM), a container is an application program or subsystem in which the program building block known as a component is run.

  • D

    DAO (Data Access Objects)

    DAO (Data Access Objects) is an application program interface (API) available with Microsoft's Visual Basic that lets a programmer request access to a Microsoft Access database.

  • data aggregation

    Data aggregation is any process whereby data is gathered and expressed in a summary form.

  • data corruption

    Data corruption is the deterioration of computer data as a result of some external agent.

  • data hiding

    Data hiding is a characteristic of object-oriented programming.

  • data mining

    Data mining is the process of sorting through large data sets to identify patterns and establish relationships to solve problems through data analysis.

  • data preprocessing

    Data preprocessing describes any type of processing performed on raw data to prepare it for another processing procedure.

  • data structure

    A data structure is a specialized format for organizing, processing, retrieving and storing data.

  • database (DB)

    A database is a collection of information that is organized so that it can be easily accessed, managed and updated.

  • database administrator (DBA)

    A database administrator (DBA) is the information technician responsible for directing or performing all activities related to maintaining a successful database environment.

  • database management system (DBMS)

    A database management system (DBMS) is system software for creating and managing databases.

  • database normalization

    Database normalization is intrinsic to most relational database schemes. It is a process that organizes data into tables so that results are always unambiguous.

  • Database: Glossary

    This is a glossary of database-related terms.

  • DDBMS (distributed database management system)

    A DDBMS (distributed database management system) is a centralized application that manages a distributed database as if it were all stored on the same computer.

  • drilldown

    As currently used in information technology, to drill down (verb) is to focus in on something.

  • DSTP (Data Space Transfer Protocol)

    DSTP (Data Space Transfer Protocol) is a protocol that is used to index and retrieve data from a number of databases, files, and other data structures using a key that can find all the related data about a particular object across all of the data.

  • E

    ECMAScript (European Computer Manufacturers Association Script)

    ECMAScript is a standard script language, developed with the cooperation of Netscape and Microsoft and mainly derived from Netscape's JavaScript, the widely-used scripting language that is used in Web pages to affect how they look or behave for the user.

  • EDM (Electronic Document Management)

    EDM (Electronic Document Management) is the management of different kinds of documents in an enterprise using computer programs and storage.

  • entity-relationship model (ERM or ER model)

    The entity-relationship model (or ER model) is a way of graphically representing the logical relationships of entities (or objects) in order to create a database.

  • F

    Fast Guide: SQL Server 2000 commands

    Here are ten commands you need to know!

  • fetch

    In computer technology, fetch has several meanings related to getting, reading, or moving data objects.

  • FileMaker (FMP)

    FileMaker is a relational database application in which an individual may design -- and easily share on the Internet -- a database file by starting with a blank document or implementing ready-made and customizable templates.

  • flat file

    A flat file contains records that have no structured interrelationship. A flat file typically consists of a text file, from which all word processing or other structure characters or markup have been removed.

  • full-text database

    A full-text database is a compilation of documents or other information in the form of a database in which the complete text of each referenced document is available for online viewing, printing, or downloading. In addition to text documents, images are often included, such as graphs, maps, photos, and diagrams. A full-text database is searchable by keyword, phrase, or both.

  • G

    GIS (geographic information system)

    A GIS (geographic information system) enables you to envision the geographic aspects of a body of data.

  • H

    hashing

    Hashing is the transformation of a string of characters into a usually shorter fixed-length value or key that represents the original string.

  • hybrid online analytical processing (HOLAP or Hybrid OLAP)

    Hybrid online analytical processing (HOLAP) is a combination of relational OLAP (ROLAP) and multidimensional OLAP (usually referred to simply as OLAP).

  • I

    In-Memory OLTP

    In-Memory OLTP is a Microsoft in-memory technology built into SQL Server and optimized for transaction processing applications.

  • information

    Information is stimuli that has meaning in some context for its receiver.

  • Ingres

    Ingres is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that evolved from a research project at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1970s.

  • initial extent

    The initial extent is a set of contiguous blocks in a database segment that is automatically allocated when the segment is created.

  • intelligent database

    An intelligent database is a full-text database that employs artficial intelligence (AI), interacting with users to ensure that returned items (hits) contain the most relevant information possible. This is in contrast to a traditional database, which is searchable only by keywords and verbatim phrases connected by Boolean operations such as AND, OR, and NOT. Intelligent database technology is in its infancy, and is evolving as AI becomes more advanced.

  • L

    library

    In computing, a library is a collection of similar objects that are stored for occasional use - most frequently, programs in source code or object code form, data files, scripts, templates, fonts, and physical storage units such as tape cartridges.

  • M

    meta

    Metadata is a description of data.

  • Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB

    Azure Cosmos DB is a Microsoft cloud database that supports multiple ways of storing and processing data. As such, it is classified as a multimodel database.

  • Microsoft GeoFlow

    Microsoft GeoFlow is a three-dimensional data visualization mapping tool for Microsoft Excel.

  • Microsoft PowerPivot

    PowerPivot is a free Microsoft Excel tool that increases the capabilities of Excel's pre-existing pivot table tool by allowing users to import data from multiple sources.  

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2016

    SQL Server 2016 is a SQL-based relational database management system released by Microsoft for general availability on June 1, 2016. It supports transaction processing, data warehousing and analytics uses and provides new and updated features with a 'mobile first, cloud first' approach.

  • Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)

    Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is an integrated environment to manage a SQL Server infrastructure.

  • Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (SQL Server PDW)

    Microsoft SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (SQL Server PDW) is a pre-built data warehouse appliance that includes Microsoft SQL Server database software, third-party server hardware and networking components.

  • Microsoft SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services)

    Microsoft SSIS (SQL Server Integration Services) is an enterprise data integration, data transformation and data migration tool built into Microsoft's SQL Server database.

  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro (Microsoft VFP)

    Microsoft Visual FoxPro (VFP) is an object-oriented programming environment with a built-in relational database engine.

  • MOLAP (multidimensional online analytical processing)

    MOLAP (multidimensional online analytical processing) is online analytical processing (OLAP) that indexes directly into a multidimensional database.

  • multidimensional expressions (MDX)

    multidimensional expressions (MDX)

  • O

    ODL (Open and Distance Learning)

    Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is a general term for the use of telecommunication to provide or enhance learning.

  • OLE DB (OLEDB or Object Linking and Embedding Database)

    OLE DB is Microsoft's strategic low-level application program interface (API) for access to different data sources.

  • OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)

    An OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) is an online bibliography of a library collection that is available to the public.

  • P

    pivot table

    A pivot table is a statistics tool that summarizes and reorganizes selected columns and rows of data in a spreadsheet or database table to obtain a desired report.

  • primary key (primary keyword)

    A primary key, also called a primary keyword, is a key in a relational database that is unique for each record.

  • Q

    query

    A query is a question, often expressed in a formal way. A database query can be either a select query or an action query.

  • R

    record standardization

    In data management, record standardization is a process in which files are first parsed (assigned to appropriate fields in a database record) and then translated to a common format.

  • replication

    Replication (pronounced rehp-lih-KA-shun) is the process of making a replica (a copy) of something.

  • rollback

    A rollback is the undoing of partly completed database changes when a database transaction is determined to have failed.

  • S

    Microsoft SQL Server

    Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system, or RDBMS, that supports a wide variety of transaction processing, business intelligence and analytics applications in corporate IT environments

  • schema

    In computer programming, a schema (pronounced SKEE-mah) is the organization or structure for a database.

  • segment

    A segment is a defined portion or section of something larger such as a database, geometric object, or network.

  • spatial data

    Spatial data, also known as geospatial data, is information about a physical object that can be represented by numerical values in a geographic coordinate system.  

  • SQL (Structured Query Language)

    SQL (Structured Query Language) is a standardized programming language that's used to manage relational databases and perform various operations on the data in them.

  • SQL Azure

    SQL Azure is Microsoft’s cloud database service.

  • SQL Server 2014

    SQL Server 2014 is relational database management system (RDBMS) designed for the enterprise environment.

  • SQL Server buffer pool

    An SQL Server buffer pool, also called an SQL Server buffer cache, is a place in system memory that is used for caching table and index data pages as they are modified or read from disk. 

  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

    SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a SQL Server subsystem that enables the creation of graphical, mobile and printed reports using SQL Server and other data sources.

  • SVVP (server virtualization validation program)

    SVVP (server virtualization validation program) is a policy that allows administrators running running Windows Server on certified virtualization technologies other than Hyper-V and Microsoft Virtual Server to receive technical support for Windows Server from Microsoft.

  • T

    T-SQL (Transact-SQL)

    T-SQL (Transact-SQL) is a set of programming extensions from Sybase and Microsoft that add several features to the Structured Query Language (SQL), including transaction control, exception and error handling, row processing and declared variables.

  • tablespace

    In a database management system (DBMS), a tablespace is a logical group of data files in a database. A typical database contains at least one tablespace, and usually two or more. In a database, a tablespace plays a role similar to that of a folder on the hard drive of a computer. (Continued)

  • transcription error

    A transcription error is a specific type of data entry error that is commonly made by human operators or by optical character recognition (OCR) programs.

  • trigger

    A trigger (from the Dutch trekken, meaning to pull) is a lever which, when pulled by the finger, releases the hammer on a firearm.

  • U

    U-SQL

    U-SQL is a Microsoft query language that combines a declarative SQL-like syntax with C# programming, enabling it to be used to process both structured and unstructured data in big data environments.

  • Universal Data Access (UDA)

    Universal Data Access (UDA) is Microsoft's model or framework for a single uniform application program interface to different software makers' databases, both relational and nonrelational.

  • V

    Versioned Object Base (VOB)

    A Versioned Object Base (VOB) is a centralized database that stores version information about the files and folders in a software configuration management (SCM) system.

  • view

    In a database management system, a view is a way of portraying information in the database.

  • X

    XQuery

    XQuery is a specification for a query language that allows a user or programmer to extract information from an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file or any collection of data that can be XML-like.

  • Y

    Yukon

    Yukon is the code name used for the beta version of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005. SQL Server 2005 is said to provide enhanced flexibility, scalability, reliability, and security to database applications, and to make them easier to create and deploy, thus reducing the complexity and tedium involved in database management.

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