Chris Howarth (6/2/2009)
It continues to amaze me that people don't use Integration Services (to pull data into a central repository) and Reporting Services to assist with tasks of this nature - particularly as they're both included 'in the box' and are relatively easy to use.
I think part of the reason SSIS isn't used is that it's a programming environment, and it's not familiar for many DBAs. Lots of people have sysadmin backgrounds and the idea of programming, even in the visual SSIS way, is foreign, and intimidating. However, they could use Linked Servers if they really needed to do this.
Also, most companies aren't "enterprises". Most companies are smaller, relatively few servers, and this would work.
I did work in an enterprise, and we had each server gather all its information, then rolling that up with SQLCMD instead of DTS (at the time) because it worked well. We stored it in a central server, and we would have a missing row(s) if one server didn't report information. I think if I had to do it, I would use SSIS, make simple transforms that pulled data from each server to a central location.
In that company, however, we did have to mark an Excel sheet with our initials that signified we had checked on the servers for ISO/SOX compliance. It's one thing to make a report, but another to be sure someone checked it (or at least signified they did). This would work for that, get an Excel sheet mailed to each person, let someone initial it and save it off as a verified report.
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