It is that simple although you don't need to use ODBC the WHD setup process when looking at no DB will walk you through the connection, choose you connection type as SQL 2005+ and enter the IP, and db login credentials. I actually just refreshed our test system DB yesterday so we could do some testing for the 12.2 RC.
There is no quick way to prevent change the email settings. I have created separate emails with dev at the end of them and as soon as you bring up the system just go to setup --> email and change the email addresses. I guess you could also just type in junk emails that don't actually exist as another option.