The easiest way to start learning SQL Server is by having a database with data and Microsoft does provide a sample database for this purpose. It is called AdventureWorks (in the old days there was Northwind Sample database).
AdventureWorks VS AdventureWorksDW
There are two versions of the sample Database:
- AdventureWorks - This is an OLTP Version (Operational Database) so it is normalized (snowflake).
- This database is suitable for people who work or want to work on with live databases (or copied of live database).
- AdventureWorksDW - This a Data Warehouse version which can be used to query data or build OLAP cubes. The database was created by extracting data from source system (AdventureWorks / OLTP), transforming and loading into this database that uses Star Schema approach (Dimensional Modelling).
- This database is suitable for people who work or want to work on Data Warehouse / BI projects or Reporting projects.
- We often use AdventureWorksDW in our tutorials as it is simpler to query and this is what we specialize in (DW/BI).
- Cubes. Microsoft also offers Samples cube Database for SSAS Multidimension and Tabular.
- This is suitable for people who want to learn SSAS.
Before you download AdventureWorks
If you want to download the database than ensure your SQL Server version is the same or higher version than the file you download.
For instance if you have SQL Server 2008 Installed than you won't be able to install AdventureWorks 2012 but if you have SQL Server 2012 than you will be able to install AdventureWorks 2008.
AdventureWorks Download & Installation
Below are videos we have prepared to help you with the download and Installation: