An Introduction To Linked Servers

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  • It's very interesting.

  • Can you link to more than one (eg. sybase) server?




  • wow, it is very useful to me.. thank you buddys.... .

  • A great article, but something worth noting is that when a query is executed against a linked server using "select stuff from linkedServer.dbName.owner.objectName" SQL Server actually returns all the rows from the table(s) in the linked server and the executes the query locally (using T-SQL syntax), whereas when you use the OpenQuery() syntax the query is passed down to the linked server and only the result set is returned, this means that OpenQuery() needs to use the native syntax of the linked server rather than t-sql (assuming it's not a SQL Server!).  This was my experience at least and if I'm slightly off the mark then I'd welcome further comment.

    Thanks for an interesting article

  • Very good article.

    Okay, so when using OPENROWSET, it is using OLE DB. How about using LINKEDSERVER itself? Is it still OLEDB based connection? or ODBC ?

  • one more note: Link server does not support access on SQL Server 2005 64 bit



  • Very basic article. Even so it is explained in the article header, I would like to add that linked servers were available from SQL 7(or 6.5?) and did not change on introductory level since.

    I would also assume that in SQL 7 processinf heterogenous queries had more flexibility than in SQL 2005. I would expect from SQLservercentral publications more indpeth, detailed coverage.

  • Very good article.


  • Good introduction.  I expect more in-depth articles on this subject to follow.

    I have used this to attach, remote SQL servers, Access databases, and even text files.  I have even heard of attaching DB-400 through Client Access.

    Somebody asked about multiples.  Yes you can. 

    ATBCharles Kincaid

  • Yes - it can link to multiple servers.

    Perhaps this snippet from Books On Line will help:

    Relational Database Engine Architecture Overview

    Database Engine Components

    The relational database server of Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2000 has two main parts: the relational engine and the storage engine. One of the most important architectural changes made in SQL Server version 7.0 was to strictly separate the relational and storage engine components within the server and to have them use the OLE DB API to communicate with each other.

    So, in a sense, you have been using a linked server already.

    The local SQL server has the local relational engine “linked to” the local storage engine.

    You can choose whether the linkage to the linked server is over ODBC or OLEDB.

    It depends which driver you use/how you define the datasource.

    For each linked server in my care I have a folder with setup scripts and basic test scripts.

    Sample contents:



    sp_tables_ex 'servername'


    sp_columns_ex 'servername'


    select from a sample table using four part name

    Remember that in query analyzer that the selected/highlighted area is executed (F5) not the whole script, so I can pick out the line(s) of interest or just let the whole thing rip.

    Also, I set up a database with views so that an SQL query/script that will run in query analyzer on the target linked server host can run directly. Obviously, if the target linked server is not SQL server, then I have to be selective about what is included.

    I like to have a table in each database just for test purposes. This is nothing fancy, couple of columns and three or four rows.

    All in all, I can quickly verify if everything is working.

    Alternatively, I have actual proven syntax in front of me if something is wrong and my in the middle of the night mental table name, database name and syntax index search isn't quite functioning properly.

    On my PC I have a test database that is mirrored in MS Excel, MS Access, MS SQL server 2000, MS SQL Server 2005, DB2 9, MySQL, Oracle 10g, Sybase ASE 15 and Unisys ClearPath DMSII 51.1.

    Both the SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 have these databases as linked servers.

    The setup is scripted and so is the basic functionality testing.


  • Good article!

    Can anyone tell me if you can link from SQL Server 2000 to 2005 (not 64 bit) and run queries from SQL Server 2000 against the 2005 server?


  • Good article, I learned something about OPENQUERY, which I had not used before.

    A few things I have identified while doing linked server queries. 

    • Queries run over the local server linking to tables on the linked server take a performance hit timewise.  A query I have took 41 minutes to complete over the link, while when executed locally on the linked server took only 35 seconds.  It does depend on your tables and how much data is travelling across the link.
    • The OPENQUERY statement cannot include parameters or temp tables from the local server as part of the OPENQUERY statement.
    • You cannot specify an index or locking hint for a remote data source (i.e. "WITH(NOLOCK)" for example).
    • You must specify SET ANSI_NULLS ON  and SET ANSI_WARNINGS ON

    Thanks for the article, some useful stuff.

  • Just tried it.  Seems to work.  Use the cautions that the others have suggested here.  Pretty much if you can pull the data through ODBC it should work.

    ATBCharles Kincaid

  • Hi, This is my first post to this Forum.... I am trying to get my head around linked server, stored procedures .... I'd like to see an example of a stored procedure that: 1) links to 'remote' SQL2005 server db 2) performs an update or insert on a linked table and a local table with rollback of the whole transaction if one of the updates / inserts fails (and if possible: give appropriate error message as to which of the updates / inserts in the transaction failed)..... Can someone please help out with this? thanks....

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