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March 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist

4439276478_8bb7a50ab8_m Are your SQL Servers healthy?  If the things went south today today, would you be able to say you can recover confidently?

If you are unsure, it is time to find out.  And if you are sure, its time to verify.  As DBAs, it is our duty to think of the worst ways in which our database platforms can extinguish themselves and plan accordingly.  As part of that missions, we need to be certain to check up on our environment.

A number of changes for this month.  Some specific changes are the releases of new cumulative updates for SQL Server and the RTM of SQL Server 2012. You can follow for these changes as well from Microsoft on the release blog. There is also a new section on Windows Server.  After a few SQL Server Health Checks I’ve done in the past couple months, its become clear that, as DBA’s, we need to put forth more effort to make sure this is also being updated.

Monthly Checklist

  1. Backup Validation: Check everything involved in the backup process.  Are your backups executing as desired?  Are the monitoring jobs properly alerting to failures?  Have their been any unexpected failures?  Have backup duration times changed?
  2. Recovery Validation: Is everything for your recovery collected and being backed up?  Have you practiced restoring at least one of your SQL Server databases from production in the last month?
  3. SQL Server Updates: Is your SQL Server environment up-to-date?  Check each of your instances and review the most recent releases of SQL Server.  Make a plan to determine when the most recent updates will be applied.  Also, be aware that support for SQL Server releases do end at some point.  Support for the version of SQL Server that you are currently using may no longer be supported.
  4. Windows Server: As important as maintain the SQL Server environment, if the operating system is not up to date, then
  5. Server Health: Check the performance statistics for your server(s).  Were there any unexpected items in your event log?  How does everything compare to the last baseline?
  6. Database Health:Check the performance statistics for your database(s). Were there any unexpected items in your SQL Server logs?
    1. Check wait stats.
    2. Analyze your indexes (via IndexAnalysis)
  7. Check Baselines: Are there any variances on the performance counters off of the baseline?  Is the baseline still valid?
  8. Validate Capacity Plan: If you have a capacity plan in place for your environment, check to see that what you had planned for June matches the actuals.  Any threshold violations that may require adding capacity?
  9. Status Report: What do you need to get done before next month?  What did you get done this month?  After the other tasks, write this all down and send it to your manager.

Something Missing?

Is there something missing in this list that you think should be included?  Leave a comment and I’ll add it in for next month.  I’ll follow-up next month on the first Monday of the month and we’ll see how everyone that reads this is doing.

Related posts:

  1. January 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist
  2. February 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist
  3. September Monthly SQL Server Checklist


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