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The DBA Database

By Steve Jones,

Do you have a DBA database on all your instances? I've always kept a small database on all instances, usually standardized with a set of tables and procedures that I used to monitor and track activity on the instance. By keeping this fairly standard, I could script and deploy it during all new installs as well as easily aggregate information from all instances on a central server, usually in a slightly larger version of my DBA database.

It's nice to see more and more DBAs using this same technique in their environments. Over the last few years I've seen lots of articles and blog posts that recommend building a DBA database and populating it with DBA-stuff. That DBA-stuff can be anything from tracking backup sizes, to storing performance metrics, to keeping trace data. I've seen some neat implementations with Service Broker that use the DBA database as a repository for a queue to which they can send messages. Based on those message, they can have the instance  perform some action.

There are any number of standards or corporate reasons not to include extra databases, but none of them really make sense. The DBA database, and any administrative tasks that use this database essentially act as a proxy for the DBA. Almost every piece of data stored in this database is data that the DBA would query or use on a regular basis. Keeping it inside a database set aside for this purpose allows the DBA to act more efficiently.

If you haven't built a DBA database, I'd encourage you to do so on all your instances. Secure it so only sysadmins can access it, but use it to capture and store information about the ongoing health of your SQL Server.

Steve Jones

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