Turning your PC into a functional database solution is potentially a fairly straightforward process, even if you will need to be a bit of an SQL whiz to make the most of your efforts once the initial setup is over.

With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of the things you will need to do to combine SQL Server with a computer you have either bought from a vendor or put together yourself.

Check the system requirements

As with any piece of software worth its salt, SQL Server has a few minimum requirements for both hardware and software that need to be met before you can be certain that it will run smoothly on your machine. Also remember that these requirements vary depending on the version of the platform you intend to use, so check the small print to avoid disappointment.

For both the 2016 and 2017 editions, a minimum of 6GB of storage space is needed for the install alone, along with at least 4GB of RAM, a 1.4GHz processor, and a monitor with a resolution of at least 800×600. These are incredibly lenient specs, for sure, but to actually make a database worth using you should aim to exceed these as much as possible.

You will also need an OS with which SQL Server is compatible. Windows 10 works with certain editions of the platform, although Windows Server is more widely supported, for obvious reasons.

Support for Linux has also been introduced more recently, which is a nice touch, although there will be a few more hoops to jump through here and more complex processes like learning how to identify blocking in SQL Server using third-party monitoring software may not be as straightforward, depending on your experience levels.

Install the software

You will need to acquire a license for SQL Server via Microsoft’s official channels, and as mentioned earlier there are several versions to consider, each of which offers different features and benefits.

There is a free edition known as SQL Server Express which may be a good starting point, particularly if you are looking to get to grips with this software without needing to invest a lot of cash for the privilege.

Installation is straightforward, and if you have installed any other piece of software in the last two decades it should be a breeze.

After installation, make sure you check for updates and install any that have been rolled out recently to keep performance and security levels as comprehensive as possible.

Test your server

In order to put your new SQL Server instance through its paces, you will need to use the SQL Server Database Engine, of which up to 50 instances can be hosted on a given machine.

Doing this from a separate device connected to the same network, such as a new laptop, rather than on the host machine itself, is a good way of gauging the effectiveness of your current deployment.

From here on out you will need to make use of SQL Server as you see fit. The good news is that with its low system requirements and broad compatibility, this is a surprisingly accessible database solution for amateurs and pros alike.