April 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist

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4439276478_8bb7a50ab8_mAnother month goes by and it’s time again to ask… are your SQL Servers healthy?  Have they been properly configured?  Is your SQL Server patching up to date?

You should know.  And if you don’t you should make it your business to find out.  At the end of the day, regardless of what the business wants out of their applications and the silly requests that may sometimes come from that, we are responsible for our data platforms.  It’s important that we take the time to make sure thinks are running smooth.

Not too many changes this month, just a couple cumulative updates for the service packs on SQL Server 2008.

Monthly Checklist

  1. Backup Validation: Check everything involved in the backup process.  Are your backups executing as desired?  Are the monitoring jobs properly alerting to failures?  Have their been any unexpected failures?  Have backup duration times changed?
  2. Recovery Validation: Is everything for your recovery collected and being backed up?  Have you practiced restoring at least one of your SQL Server databases from production in the last month?
  3. SQL Server Updates: Is your SQL Server environment up-to-date?  Check each of your instances and review the most recent releases of SQL Server.  Make a plan to determine when the most recent updates will be applied.  Also, be aware that support for SQL Server releases do end at some point.  Support for the version of SQL Server that you are currently using may no longer be supported.
  4. Windows Server: As important as maintain the SQL Server environment, if the operating system is not up to date, then
  5. Server Health: Check the performance statistics for your server(s).  Were there any unexpected items in your event log?  How does everything compare to the last baseline?
  6. Database Health:Check the performance statistics for your database(s). Were there any unexpected items in your SQL Server logs?
    1. Check wait stats.
    2. Analyze your indexes (via IndexAnalysis)
  7. Check Baselines: Are there any variances on the performance counters off of the baseline?  Is the baseline still valid?
  8. Validate Capacity Plan: If you have a capacity plan in place for your environment, check to see that what you had planned for June matches the actuals.  Any threshold violations that may require adding capacity?
  9. Status Report: What do you need to get done before next month?  What did you get done this month?  After the other tasks, write this all down and send it to your manager.

Something Missing?

Is there something missing in this list that you think should be included?  Leave a comment and I’ll add it in for next month.  I’ll follow-up next month on the first Monday of the month and we’ll see how everyone that reads this is doing.

As an aisde, the book I’ve been working on is nearly complete and I should finally have time to start blogging about each of the subject areas above.  It’s taken some time, but this was meant to be more than just a list of things to do.