Although it's not strictly an administrative task, one job that almost every Microsoft SQL Server administrator needs to do is import and export data to and from SQL Server. SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 provide two primary tools to accomplish this: Data Transformation Services (DTS) and the bulk copy program (bcp). DTS is by far the more user-friendly tool. DTS has both a wizard-driven UI and a more advanced designer shell that lets knowledgeable users perform sophisticated data transfer and data-transformation actions. The Wizard interface is more than adequate for performing most simple transfers. You start DTS from Windows by selecting Start, Programs, Microsoft SQL Server, Import and Export Data.

However, although DTS will probably be your first choice for data transfer, you shouldn't completely ignore bcp. You can easily incorporate bcp data transfer into command-shell scripts for automated processing. You can start bcp at a command prompt by entering

bcp

The test-base program then prompts you to enter the direction of the transfer, the table and columns to be transferred, and the filename.