Learning SQL Server 2005: Where to Start

I'm a database administrator, and I'm trying to install SQL Server 2005. Everything looks different. Help! Where do I start?

SQL Server 2005 is the most significant upgrade to ever come out of the SQL Server family. The product offers a lot of new functionality but, just as significant, the various management tools you use to interact with SQL Server 2005 are entirely different from what you're used to. SQL Server 2000 offered significant improvements over SQL Server 7.0, but a skilled SQL Server 7.0 user could sit down at a clean server and get SQL Server 2000 up, running, and configured without a lot of research because the tools were similar. Because the SQL Server 2005 tools are vastly different from SQL Server 2000, however, you'll need to spend a considerable amount of time learning the new tools and UIs in addition to learning about the new features in the engine and other services.

Attempting to walk you through even the basics of learning the new management tools is well beyond the scope of one question in a Q&A column. So, for now, I strongly encourage you to read SQL Server 2005 Management Tools, August 2005, InstantDoc ID 46798. Although the article spends six full pages covering the basics, it barely scratches the surface. But it's a great place to start. I also encourage you to watch a TechNet Webcast called SQL Server 2005 Series (Part 1 of 10): Administration Tools, which is available at http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx? EventID=1032269830&Culture=en-US. It's just the first in a series of 10 Webcasts that walk you through new tool and management concepts, so there's clearly a lot to learn. But the initial Webcast will help you make sense of the changes in the new administration and management tools, with a heavy concentration on SQL Server Management Studio, the tool that replaces SQL Server 2000's Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer.

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