System tables contain data about objects in the SQL Server databases (that is, metadata) as well as information that SQL Server components use to do their job. Many of the system tables are now hidden (in the
resource database) and are no longer available for direct access by end users. In SQL Server 2008, compatibility views, which are discussed later in this chapter, have the same names as the system tables available in SQL Server 2000. For example, if you had a query in SQL Server 2000 that selected from
syscolumns, this query continues to work in SQL Server 2008, but the results come from a view instead of a system table.
The system tables that you can view are now found in some of the system databases, such as