As we embark on the 22nd year of everyone’s favorite RDBMS, I decided to create a tuple of SQL Server New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully you can find some things in this list that ring true for you.
Test your database backups – When is the last time you successfully restored a production database backup file? Ideally this is a regularly scheduled process. Make sure your backups are good, and make sure you know what to do in the event of an emergency. Do you have scripts ready to restore to a point in time if you had to?
Update your maintenance jobs – Are your databases being maintained properly? If you haven’t looked under the hood of your database maintenance jobs lately, now is a good time to make sure your indexes, statistics and consistency checks are all squared away. If you’re already using best-in-class scripts, like Ola Hallengren’s, double check that you have the latest version and are taking advantage of all the spectacular options available.
Implement a baseline – Do you know what your SQL Server looks like under normal conditions? When someone complains that the system is “slow”, can you tell if something unusual is happening? If not, it’s time to start collecting some metrics. Create a simple database and one SQL Agent job with a handful of steps to capture the basics: CPU Usage, Memory Usage, I/O, Index Usage, and Top Queries. Keep an eye on the database size, and be sure to setup a purge process.
Study up on DMVs – I don’t know if there is anyone who has completely mastered the SQL Server system catalog. I do know that there is always another gem of a diagnostic query out there just waiting for me to learn about. My favorite authority on the subject is Glenn Berry. His scripts are priceless.
Learn Extended Events – In a crunch it’s easiest to fall back on good old SQL Server Profiler, but you know it’s time to bite the bullet and learn how to use Extended Events.
Attend a user group meeting – If you’re not already doing so, get yourself out to a local PASS chapter meeting. Even if you’re shy and/or well-versed in the topic being discussed, just sitting in a room with other database professionals can be inspiring. It’s nice to be reminded that there are others out there with the same challenges you face.
There you have it. With only 6 resolutions, you could procrastinate for 2 months on each task before you’re ready for the 2016 list.
What are your SQL Server resolutions for 2015?