Consolidation, in general terms, is the combining of various units into more efficient and stable larger units.
When applied to an IT department, consolidation specifically translates into improved cost efficiency from higher utilization of resources, standardization and improved manageability of the IT environment, and (more recently) a focus on a “green” IT environment through reduced energy consumption.
This is especially true in large organizations with SQL Server infrastructures, where IT staffs often find themselves running many underutilized SQL Server installations.
An underutilized SQL Server can result in increased hardware and management costs, lack of standardization and other challenges associated with business continuity.
For example, SQL Server instances and databases using less than 30% of their hardware's processor, memory and disk space are excellent candidates for consolidation.
Additional business software to support these processes can take the form of standalone applications from different vendors, homegrown applications, or a variety of spreadsheet workarounds.These technologies' implementations can and do depend on the needs of the business and the sensitivity/confidentiality of the data stored in the database, and the price the business is willing to spend on ensuring data security, consistency and integrity.When discussing access to distributed databases, Microsoft favors the term distributed query, which it defines in protocol-specific manner as "[a]ny SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE statement that references tables and rowsets from one or more external OLE DB data sources".It may be stored in multiple computers, located in the same physical location; or may be dispersed over a network of interconnected computers.Unlike parallel systems, in which the processors are tightly coupled and constitute a single database system, a distributed database system consists of loosely coupled sites that share no physical components.