Using any programming language, you can use ADO and OLE DB to connect to any data source. SQL Server 2000 uses OLE DB to give you access to any available data source.
You can write ad hoc queries in SQL Server to access external data using a rowset function in the FROM clause, as if it were a result set from a local table. All you need to use this functionality is an OLE DB provider and the properties required to establish a connection to the data.
For common queries, it is more efficient to define a linked server, declaring the connection properties permanently, so any user connected to the local server will have access to the remote server without specifying any connection property manually.
For this chapter, you ...