Throughout this book, we'll look at specific features of the Microsoft SQL Server engine. In this chapter, we'll examine what makes up that engine and how it works. If you're interested only in the functional operations of SQL Server and want to consider everything as a black box operation, you can safely skip this chapter. Or if you're new to databases and don't have a clear idea of what makes up an RDBMS, you can come back to this chapter after you become more familiar with SQL Server's external capabilities. This chapter will focus on what happens inside the engine. We'll also point out system behavior that might affect application development and suggest ways to deal with it.