Client software enables client computers to connect to an instance of Microsoft SQL Server on a network. A "client" is a front-end application that uses the services provided by a server such as the SQL Server Database Engine. The computer that hosts this application is referred to as the client computer.
At the simplest level, a SQL Server client can reside on the same machine as an instance of SQL Server. Typically, however, a client connects to one or more remote servers over a network. The client/server architecture of SQL Server allows it to seamlessly manage multiple clients and servers on a network. The default client configurations suffice in most situations.
SQL Server clients can include applications of various types, such as:
OLE DB consumers
These applications use the SQL Server Native Client OLE DB provider to connect to an instance of SQL Server. The OLE DB provider mediates between SQL Server and client applications that consume SQL Server data as OLE DB rowsets. The sqlcmd command prompt utility and SQL Server Management Studio, are examples of OLE DB applications.
These applications include client utilities installed with previous versions of SQL Server, such as the osql command prompt utility, as well as other applications that use the SQL Server Native Client ODBC driver to connect to an instance of SQL Server.
These applications include the SQL Server isql command prompt utility and clients written to DB-Library. SQL Server support for client applications using DB-Library is limited to Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 features.
Although the SQL Server Database Engine still supports connections from existing applications using the DB-Library and Embedded SQL APIs, it does not include the files or documentation needed to do programming work on applications that use these APIs. A future version of the SQL Server Database Engine will drop support for connections from DB-Library or Embedded SQL applications. Do not use DB-Library or Embedded SQL to develop new applications. Remove any dependencies on either DB-Library or Embedded SQL when modifying existing applications. Instead of these APIs, use the SQLClient namespace or an API such as OLE DB or ODBC. SQL Server does not include the DB-Library DLL required to run these applications. To run DB-Library or Embedded SQL applications you must have available the DB-Library DLL from SQL Server version 6.5, SQL Server 7.0, or SQL Server 2000.
Regardless of the type of application, managing a client consists mainly of configuring its connection with the server components of SQL Server. Depending on the requirements of your site, client management can range from little more than entering the name of the server computer to building a library of custom configuration entries to accommodate a diverse multiserver environment.
The SQL Server Native Client DLL contains the network libraries and is installed by the setup program. The network protocols are not enabled during setup for new installations of SQL Server. Upgraded installations enable the previously enabled protocols. The underlying network protocols are installed as part of Windows Setup (or through Networks in Control Panel). The following tools are used to manage SQL Server clients:
SQL Server Configuration Manager
Both client and server network components are managed with SQL Server Configuration Manager, which combines the SQL Server Network Utility, SQL Server Client Network Utility, and Service Manager of previous versions. SQL Server Configuration Manager is a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-in. It also appears as a node in the Windows Computer Manager snap-in. Individual network libraries can be enabled, disabled, configured, and prioritized using SQL Server Configuration Manager.
Run SQL Server setup to install the network components on a client computer. Individual network libraries can be enabled or disabled during setup when Setup is started from the command prompt.
ODBC Data Source Administrator
The ODBC Data Source Administrator lets you create and modify ODBC data sources on computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system.