Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 data is stored in databases. The data in a database is organized into the logical components visible to users. A database is also physically implemented as two or more files on disk.
When using a database, you work primarily with the logical components such as tables, views, procedures, and users. The physical implementation of files is largely transparent. Typically, only the database administrator needs to work with the physical implementation.
Each instance of SQL Server has four system databases (master, model, tempdb, and msdb) and one or more user databases. Some organizations have only one user database, containing all the data for their organization. Some organizations have different databases for each group in their organization, and sometimes a database used by a single application. For example, an organization could have one database for sales, one for payroll, one for a document management application, and so on. Sometimes an application uses only one database; other applications may access several databases.
It is not necessary to run multiple copies of the SQL Server database engine to allow multiple users to access the databases on a server. An instance of the SQL Server Standard or Enterprise Edition is capable of handling thousands of users working in multiple databases at the same time. Each instance of SQL Server makes all databases in the instance available to all users that connect to the instance, subject to the defined security permissions.
When connecting to an instance of SQL Server, your connection is associated with a particular database on the server. This database is called the current database. You are usually connected to a database defined as your default database by the system administrator, although you can use connection options in the database APIs to specify another database. You can switch from one database to another using either the Transact-SQL USE database_name statement, or an API function that changes your current database context.
SQL Server 2000 allows you to detach databases from an instance of SQL Server, then reattach them to another instance, or even attach the database back to the same instance. If you have a SQL Server database file, you can tell SQL Server when you connect to attach that database file with a specific database name.