In this post we will look at 5 free tools that I use on a daily basis, I'll give a little bit of detail about them, why I find them useful and the links for you to download them.
1 - Maintenance Scripts - Ola Hallengren
What can I say about these maintenance scripts? They just work, the only time I have ever seen a failure is when I have been a bit of a numpty! They quite literally cater for every eventuality when backing up / consistency checking and performing index maintenance. For example if you are taking native SQL Server backups on any version of SQL Server and are not using these scripts I would have a bit of a re-think.
2 - SSMS Tools Pack - Mladen Prajdic
I have been using the SSMS Tools Pack for at least 3 years now. There are some great features but my two favourites are Window Connection Colouring and Local SQL Query History. Window Connection Colouring allows you to configure a different coloured strip for all instances which appears at the top of each Query Window in SSMS. I use a traffic light scheme of Red for Live, Orange for QA and Reporting and Green for Dev and my local instance. It is in the peripheral view so no need to reach for the mouse or check the bottom left of the Window for the instance I am working on before truncating a table or dropping a database. Local SQL Query History has saved my ass on numerous occasions, each and every time I personally thank Mladen via Twitter. I have been burned many times in the past when SSMS has crashed and the script(s) I was working on have not been saved and do not get recovered. With Local SQL Query History, every time you run a query it gets saved. Simple but extremely effective.
3 - SQL Sentry Plan Explorer - SQL Sentry
SQL Sentry plan explorer is a must for me. If you spend any time analysing execution plans then download this tool! You will save so much time especially in larger more complex plans as all the information in the execution plan is more easily visible / accessible. The traffic light scheme for the most expensive operators in the graphical plan view alone makes this tool worth a look.
4 - Internals Viewer
Internals viewer is a tool for looking into the SQL Server storage engine and seeing how data is physically allocated, organised and stored. I am new to internals viewer and it is fantastic, If like me you are a geek and enjoy learning about how and why SQL Server does what it does, then this is a must!
5 - SQL Fragmentation Analyzer - Idera
Apart from the adverts, which can be found just about everywhere (but hey it is free!) this is a fantastic little application. It allows you to quickly and easily check the fragmentation of table, there are quite a few options for filtering but you can just as easily choose a table or entire database.
I've grown up reading Tom Clancy and probably most of you have at least seen Red October, so this book caught my eye when browsing used books for a recent trip. It's a fairly human look at what's involved in sailing on a Trident missile submarine...