Connect to Any SQL Server Component from SQL Server Management Studio
SQL Server Management Studio provides functionality for managing every component of SQL Server. Use Management Studio to connect to:
An instance of the SQL Server Database Engine.
Although Management Studio allows you to work with queries without first establishing a connection to a data source, most other tasks require a connection. Management Studio provides the Connect to Server dialog box to configure connection properties to SQL Server components. When Management Studio starts, it opens the Connect to Server dialog box and prompts you to connect to a server. The Connect to Server dialog box retains the connection settings from the last time it was used.
This feature can be turned off so no connection is automatically initiated. For more information, see Database Engine Service Startup Options.
You can save connections to specific servers in Registered Servers, or you can save connections in projects with Solution Explorer.
Saving Connections in Registered Servers
When you register a server, Management Studio saves the connection information in Registered Servers. To connect to a registered server, double-click the server name in Registered Servers. Object Explorer then opens a connection to the server.
Saving Connections in Solution Explorer
Solution Explorer allows you to store related queries, scripts, connections, and other associated information in a project. Each script project contains a node called Connections, where you can save one or more connections. To add a connection, right-click Connections, and then click New Connection. To access a saved connection, expand Connections and double-click the connection. Management Studio opens a query window associated with that connection. When saved, scripts retain their association to a specific connection.