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A Healthy SQL Server

fitnessT-SQL Tuesday has come and gone and I missed the boat due to some ongoing work constraints. With that said I liked the topic and wanted to do a separate post as I hated to miss it.

Robert Pearl (B|T) was the host for January and I think the topic he chose was spot on with the time of year and well, why not just jump in and get started?

What can you do to make your SQL server healthy?

The theme is broad, and there are plenty of tips and tricks that can be said. I’ll only touch on a few that may be of some use in this upcoming year and hope they can resonate with someone in the community.

PBM\CMS

Policy Based Management and Central Management Server are two useful resources at the data professionals disposal that can aid in a multiple SQL server configuration shop.

PBM allows you to execute a set of standard and custom policies against one or a set of servers allowing you to receive custom daily automated reports. Why not have this at your disposal to see what is going on with your servers before you even get into the office.

CMS allows for a one stop shop of all your servers. One thing I like about CMS is execution of scripts against multiple servers at one time; with that said with much access such as this comes great responsibility and not for the faint of heart. It’s imperative you truly understand what you are working with before getting involved with this but is a great resource to have.

Monitoring

If you aren’t monitoring your servers then why not start today. Some ideas you can take into consideration but not limited to are:

  1. Job notifications on event of failure
  2. Space limitations
  3. Wait Stats
  4. Index Fragmentation
  5. Statistics
  6. User\Login information
  7. General baselines
  8. Backups
  9. New servers brought online
  10. Blocking

Don’t end with these; the intent is to get you to think about what might work for you at your shop.

Backups

I put this topic in here because I wonder how many people are testing their restores? Do you receive notifications in event of backup failures? Trust me on this; don’t be the one to get caught not having a backup or not knowing if your backup works.

Automate, Automate, and Automate

Look at your day to day activities and then ask yourself; can any of these tasks be automated? The idea is to become more efficient and be pro-active instead of re-active.

DBA Standard Database

Do you have a standard DBA database on all the servers that can house your maintenance stored procedures, tasks, server info (yes you need to know what is in your environment), any other pertinent documentation.

Source Control

Is your code source controlled? If not time to get in the game. One good place to start is Red Gate’s Source Control utility

Conclusion

Listen, these are just ideas and not even the tip of the iceberg. The intent is to jump start your mind and think of some possibilities that  you may not already be utilizing.

I sure hated to miss this month’s block party, but that is okay. Time doesn’t always work out in our favor, but we pick ourselves up and move on. Nothing is handed to you; work hard for it. Look at your environment and be that impact player or game changer. You be the one to make the difference.

**Always always always test new things you find on a test environment. Do not put anything straight into production.


The SQL Professor

Chris Yates is a Database Administration Manager with over thirteen years of experience in the SQL industry. His experience includes design and implementation of both OLTP and OLAP solutions as well as assessment and implementation of SQL Server environments for best practices, performance, and high availability solutions accompanied by a strong development background. He enjoys helping others in the SQL Server community and does this by contributing on several SQL forums, creating “The SQL Professor”, and speaking at several SQL functions. His passion and focus is not only with technology but also helping others along their way and career path.

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