Effective Steps to Improve SQL Server Monitoring

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A challenge that most database administrators (DBAs) face is the lack of organisation in their SQL Server environment. As the hardware that stores, manages and retrieves your entire organisation’s database, its lack of proper organisation affects monitoring. When this is left unaddressed, you open your business up to risks that may compromise your bottom line.

When you give your DBA the tools and resources to improve the monitoring of your SQL Server database’s performance, they can actively address issues before these evolve into major problems. Good monitoring combines several practices, from timely CPU diagnosis to accurate alerts on any failures. This creates an environment where capacity planning and reaction time are at the forefront.

Here are the steps on how you can effectively improve SQL server monitoring in your organisation.

Step #1: Automate Servers

The first step to improving server monitoring is to automate. This streamlines the process of discovering and adding servers to the system. Microsoft offers a toolkit that accomplishes this for you. Although it will result in new expenses, the long-term benefits outweigh the initial cost.

Step #2: Document Servers and Databases

You will need to document all existing servers and databases to assess how closely they adhere to company standards. These include configuration settings and security monitoring. The former notes every action employees take when accessing the server while the latter documents who access the servers. Once you’ve gathered this information, you can develop a method that automates the data for standardisation across all servers.

Step #3: Create Backups

These backups are not limited to the actual databases. These extend to everything that needs monitoring, including failed jobs and tasks that have abnormal duration times. Doing so gives you a comprehensive bank of information that can be used to develop solutions.

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Step #4: Plan for Growth

As your organisation grows, so does your database. Without proper capacity planning, you run the risk of running out of space and experiencing application errors. A good monitoring system creates forecasts for your growth rate so that your DBA can prepare accordingly.

Step #5: Monitor the Memory

Depending on how frequently your employees use your SQL servers, monitoring the memory can occur every other day or every few minutes. Most DBAs prefer to use a third-party tool for this so that they get accurate data every time. By providing your team with this tool, you give them the ability to create a management system that tackles memory problems immediately.

Step #6: Plan for Specific Errors

Part of an effective monitoring system is creating a set of alerts. These alerts address common problems and errors that are specific to your servers. From blocked processes to long-running queries to connection timeouts, all of these can result in unnecessary downtime when left unaddressed.

Step #7: Measure the Effects

It’s rare to develop a good monitoring system on the first try. Since a large part of its success depends on your organisation’s specificities, you will need to tweak any solutions you adopt. Every time you implement a change, measure its effects on the whole system.

Your overall goal is to improve SQL server monitoring throughout your organisation. Utilise the tools and insights available to you to make the most out of this endeavour.

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