July 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist

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ChecklistThe year is half over and for many of us, specifically those in the United States, it’s a tricky week to get work done.  With a national holiday on Wednesday, the US Independence celebration, a lot of us will be left with a partial work week and a real challenge in tracking down people needed to move projects forward.  This week is one of those weeks where you want to know that your SQL Servers are in tip-top condition and ready for you to be out of the office, or maybe out of town, without interruption.

Fortunately, the downtime with people out of the office can be to your advantage, since it coincides with the beginning of the month and gives you a chance to check to see that everything with your servers are behaving as expected.  On the other hand, if you’ve been making certain your servers are working as intended, you can leave the office and your fear of the unexpected and spend some time relaxing.

With this month’s list, there are just a few changes with the most recent cumulative updates.  It’s good to check those out that could affect your environment and see if there are changes that could make your life easier.  Also, if you are running SQL Server 2008 R2, you shoud be preparing for Service Pack 2; which has a Customer Technology Preview available.

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 Serverreleases 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?
  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.