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Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 11:54 AM
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So, to put it simply, I suddenly found myself as unofficial DBA. I've been working with SQL in a casual test environment on my own at home for about a year.

And now I'm officially in charge of our server, The One Ring and it's backup, Gollum.

I know there isn't a huge difference between 2005 and 2008 (at home is 2k8, work is 2k5), but I've been going through the files to see what's basically going on with our server here.

Now, maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but I can't seem to find any backup schedules. I checked Config Manager, I checked Task Scheduler, I even checked to see if maybe there was just a plain Word doc somewhere.

I'm also pretty concerned because, on our backup server, there's a bunch of folders indicating that, until recently, backups were being done daily (diffs and fulls weekly on Sundays). But there's no record showing backups for this month, so to be safe, I went ahead and created a full backup.

My question is, should I continue in the pattern that was set? (Diffs daily and fulls weekly). It seems about how I'd do it, but I feel REALLY inexperienced.

I definitely want to set up Jobs and arrange so the backups are done automatically. I also know we need to purchase a new battery; the Event Viewer is FULL of error messages to do with our battery.

The problem is, its expensive (average 700 from what Googling I did) and I'm not sure if they'll sanction it.

Anyone have any basic advice for a (very) new DBA?


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MCTS: SQL 2008R2
Post #1405583
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:19 PM


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Jamie Scharbrough (1/10/2013)
Now, maybe I'm not looking in the right place, but I can't seem to find any backup schedules. I checked Config Manager, I checked Task Scheduler, I even checked to see if maybe there was just a plain Word doc somewhere.

In the SQL Server itself (when you connect to the engine), there's a node for SQL Agent. Check there, that's where most SQL tasks are scheduled from.

My question is, should I continue in the pattern that was set? (Diffs daily and fulls weekly). It seems about how I'd do it, but I feel REALLY inexperienced.

Normally, yes. This is a solid method of implementing backups. You'll also want to check the recovery model of your databases. If they're in anything but simple, you'll want to check your log backups as well.

Anyone have any basic advice for a (very) new DBA?

Over on the left side of the site, there's a section for books. There's a number of free ebooks in there. Near the top, Troubleshooting SQL Server, a guide for the accidental DBA is basically your #1 read. It'll help you get the keywords and general ideas you need to help you feel more confident in your own research.



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Post #1405594
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:22 PM


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If you're talking about a RAID array write cache backup battery, then you either must replace it or must disable the write cache or you are risking a corrupt database.

Start with this
http://www.simple-talk.com/books/sql-books/troubleshooting-sql-server-a-guide-for-the-accidental-dba/

As for backup strategies, don't start with the backups, start with the business requirements for maximum data loss. If the business thinks that there will be no more than 15 minutes of data lost in any disaster (and losing a few hours would be catastrophic), then a strategy of weekly fulls and daily diffs could result in unpleasant surprises and job losses (probably yours)



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Post #1405599
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:28 PM


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Sounds like you're off to a good start.

A couple of things you can do:

Right-click a database in SSMS (Management Studio), then Report -> Standard Reports -> Backup and Restore Events. That'll give you the backup/restore history of a particular database.

Get familiar with the system tables in database msdb. It's under Sytem Database in SSMS. The ones you want (for this subject) all start with "backup". They'll look cryptic at first, but once you read up on them, they'll tell you everything about backup history: where the backup files are going, when/if the databases are being backed up, what types of backups, etc. There are lots of good scripts available online for querying details out of these tables.

Get familiar with testing Restore on the backups. Always remember, you don't need a "backup plan", you need a "restore plan". Backups are useless if they can't be restored effectively and rapidly.


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Post #1405600
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:50 PM
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GilaMonster (1/10/2013)
If you're talking about a RAID array write cache backup battery, then you either must replace it or must disable the write cache or you are risking a corrupt database.

Start with this
http://www.simple-talk.com/books/sql-books/troubleshooting-sql-server-a-guide-for-the-accidental-dba/

As for backup strategies, don't start with the backups, start with the business requirements for maximum data loss. If the business thinks that there will be no more than 15 minutes of data lost in any disaster (and losing a few hours would be catastrophic), then a strategy of weekly fulls and daily diffs could result in unpleasant surprises and job losses (probably yours)


You're right about the backups; I'll doublecheck.

As for the battery, we currently have a APC Smart-UPS 1500VA USB & Serial 230V and I'm not sure if its a RAID array or not.


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-Jamie Scharbrough
MCTS: SQL 2008R2
Post #1405610
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 12:54 PM


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That's a UPS, not a storage device.


Gail Shaw
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Post #1405614
Posted Thursday, January 10, 2013 1:04 PM
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That's what I thought but wasn't sure.

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-Jamie Scharbrough
MCTS: SQL 2008R2
Post #1405619
Posted Friday, January 11, 2013 5:11 AM
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Okay so I just got in and I realized...there's no SSMS on this server. Since our original IT guy was overseas, it may be located on his machine as I know he remote logged in to set up backups and such.

Should I download SSMS (and by extension SQL Agent), or is that going to screw something up?


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Post #1405921
Posted Friday, January 11, 2013 5:22 AM


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You can use SSMS on your workstation. Personally I don't feel that user apps should be installed on a server.

(no, it can't be downloaded, you'd install SSMS from the SQL installation disks/ISO). Also, SQL Agent is not part of SSMS. It's a SQL Server service, it's installed with the database engine.



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Post #1405924
Posted Friday, January 11, 2013 5:25 AM
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Sorry, not downloaded, I used the wrong word.

Yeah that's definitely doable (installing it on my workstation). I'm so used to everything being in the same place that I kind of panicked when I realized it wasn't there.

EDIT: Oh good grief. The original installation disks are overseas. And there would be some serious other issues in trying to get them. (The long and the short of it is, our parent company has disassociated from us and legally we are no longer allowed to work with them. It's complicated.)

Is it possible to download the 6 month freebie SSMS that Microsoft offers, or would there be issues in connecting them?


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-Jamie Scharbrough
MCTS: SQL 2008R2
Post #1405926
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