For years I have been working in the Corporate Work Place, I think going on 15 now. The biggest challenge that I have faced over the years is how do I manage 200 SQL Servers? Microsoft has provided me tools along the way that include SQL H2, that I used, and Reporting Services that helps but out of the box they both require set up, and some custom code that will gather information about your servers. For anyone that has heard me speak, I talk a lot about Management and how to we get a grasp on managing servers. One well attended presentation has been SQL Server Checklists, what I should do on a day to day basis. I have wrestled with myself for years about how to do it.
- Do I do it manually the brute force method, to time consuming and to easy to forget or put aside doing checklists when I have a server down.
- Do I do it with SQL H2 – I could, but the process to set this up can sometime be a bit tedious when looking for performance counters, and then I am left with writing custom reports for me. Another issue that I found with SQL H2 was my service would stop sometimes and if my staff did not catch it I was left without information for days.
- Do I use Reporting Services – Well that was the direction that I went. And it is a good solution. It requires some coding and some work each time a server is taken off line, or a new one brought on line.
I have used all 3 methods in my management style, the one I have liked the best is Reporting Services, well that was until now. SQL Server 2008 gives me the ability to group my servers and to manage them together. I can run queries on all the servers at the same time along with dumping the results to a single point. From this single point I can create new reports, or run existing ones with a few changes.
So when people as me why I want to Upgrade to SQL Server 2008, I tell them. My life as a DBA is going to be much easier to find problems. It may still take time to get to the problem and fix it, but the big deal is that I can do this now with a lot less code in my trouble shooting process. In other environments I have been in I would hear that an order had not processed. Once I heard that I would have to trace down what server a job may have failed on. But it may not have been a job, it may have been that the order status was not set to process. Then I had to check inventory, and billing, and shipping, and so on. In 2008 I can run a query that will tell me all the failed jobs, I can run a query that will tell me all the order status and then I can put this in a table. I can create a report that will tell me what looks good and what does not.
SQL Server 2008 will make my life easier. It will give me the tools that I need to manage hundreds of databases across hundreds of servers. I believe that Microsoft is trying to make it easier to do my job and I thank them for that.