This editorial was originally published on Nov 21, 2008. It is being re-run as Steve is out of the country.

Andy Warren and I have been business partners for years, first starting this site, and now with JumpStartTV and End to End training. In that time we've built quite a few systems to manage the business and learned some things about software development. One thing we've learned is that we're no better than anyone else and sometimes cut corners in software development to get things done, but that's another story.

As we've built systems, one thing we always discuss is what we have to watch out for, or what problems might occur in the data. For example we use DRI to ensure that we don't have orphaned children and good relations, but we do note things like "what if all the emails don't go?" or "what if this email for xxx notification isn't sent?"

Andy, having embraced Agile development and pre-writing test cases, has often made notes and then written "checks" as we go along that will look for issues. We run those as a series of scheduled jobs with SQL Agent and their sole purpose is to ensure that one (or both) of us is notified of issues so we can handle them.

I have written a few in the past, but never with focus that Andy brought to our companies. So for this Friday's poll I wanted to see if any of you do something similar.

Do you write queries to check things for you?

By this I mean do you build up a series of custom queries or alerts that might look for technical or business issues and alert yourself (or your team)? Are you using SQL Agent or some third party software to do this?

I think it's a great idea and any place that you find something slipping through the cracks, it is probably time to write a new check and schedule it to run regularly. For Andy and I (and our other partner Brian), we're busy, we have other jobs, and we can't act as dedicated system administrator or DBA. Writing these checks is a way to leverage the SQL Server platform to do our work for us.

Kind of like a "mini-me" to help out.

Steve Jones

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