Chapter 13. Catalog Views and Dynamic Management Views
SQL Server has always offered access to metadata describing your databases, tables, views, and other database objects. Prior to the introduction of catalog views in SQL Server 2005, the primary methods of accessing this metadata included system tables, system SPs,
INFORMATION_SCHEMA views, and SQL Distributed Management Objects (SQL-DMO). Catalog views provide access to a richer set of detailed information than any one of these options provided in previous SQL Server releases. SQL Server even includes catalog views that allow you to access server-wide configuration metadata.
Metadata is simply data that describes data. SQL Server 2008 databases are largely "self-describing." The data describing ...