SQL Mail and the SQL Server Agent are tools that allow SQL users to integrate SQL Server with an existing mail service. One of the benefits of this integration is automatic notification of the status of certain jobs and alerts generated in SQL Server via e-mail, pager, or a Net Send message. By not having to monitor the system constantly to identify when scheduled jobs have failed or the system has run out of resources, administrators can devote more time to their users' needs. These tools, along with the other tools available in SQL Server 2000, help administrators maintain an efficient and dependable database system.
In addition, the mail stored procedures can be used to provide useful e-mail capabilities within your SQL code. For example, xp_sendmail can be used to automatically send the results of a report to a recipient list without having to save the results to a file manually and then manually insert or attach the file to an e-mail. For a more robust and customizable means of sending information or data to users, you may want to consider using SQL Server Notification Services, which is discussed in Chapter 45.
Admittedly, getting SQL Mail working can be troublesome at times. With the information presented in this chapter, you should be able to successfully configure SQL Mail and take advantage of the benefits it provides.