August 2012 – Monthly SQL Server Checklist

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ChecklistSummer is beginning to wrap up for those of us in the northern hemisphere and were finally to August.  Maybe the use of “finally” is a little much.  If you are like me, you likely feel like we got to August too soon.  It seems the older I get the less time it takes to get to the end of the year.  Too much time is spent with preparing for and cleaning up from events and holidays.  The months have become a blur of the time between, rather than the individual days that should be lived fully. At some point, this bustle and bustle will snap and life can become overwhelming.

Sometimes, being a DBA can be much the same way.  Instead of enjoying our jobs for the challenges and joys that they can bring, we are instead swamped with preparing for the next disaster or recovering and explaining the last.  We need to run less in our jobs, so that we have the time and energy to do the job well.  As part of that goal, you should be examining your SQL Server environment with a SQL Server checklist, such as the one provided in this post.  If you know that everything is working as it should, there will be fewer “incidents” and less stress on your life as a DBA.

Just a few changes with this months checklist.  First, SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 2 has been released.  Make sure that you get this in the pipeline and check to see that your platform is up to date with available updates.  A link has also been added pertaining to writing case studies of the work that you do.  There are fewer better ways to communicate your impact that through a case study on what was done.

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.

  • Jonathan Allen

    I think it would be OK to put a small reminder in there to help the DBA to remember to look after themselves too. How about a note to checkout the community events coming up and if any look relevant that a proposal to the decision maker is written to request the DBA can attend?

    • http://feeds2.feedburner.com/StrateSql jstrate

      Great idea. I’ll work that into next month’s checklist.