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What is Microsoft SQL Server instance?

Experience Level: Medior
Tags: DatabasesQuality Assurance (QA)


  • SQL Server instance is a separate copy/installation of SQL Server.
  • You can install multiple instances on a same machine and identify them by instance name that you select during installation (named instances).
  • If you don't select custom instance name, SQL Server will be installed as a default instance (that has no name defined).
  • There can be only 1 default instance (however it doesn't need to be installed if you don't want to).
  • More that 1 active instance can run at a time.

When is it helpful to use multiple SQL Server instances?

  • When you need to use multiple SQL Server versions side by side
  • When you want to have multiple databases with the same name on one machine (for example when DEV and QA environment are running on the same box)
  • When you want to isolate SQL Server instances from each other
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