T-SQL Tuesday #70 – Managing an Enterprise

Tsql TuesdayThis month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Jen McCown (b|t), and is on strategies for managing an enterprise.  I had the chance to meet Jen and her husband on SQLCruise and they really have a down to earth style about the idea of managing an enterprise and they helped me think quite a bit differently about how to tackle the enterprise monster.  This post has made me realize I have a few more blog posts to write about this topic.

Where to begin?

There are number of concepts that could be discussed and I think the links to Jen’s site will run the gambit on ideas.  My concept is a simple one, but one I think worth pursing as I continue to see a variety of environments–inconsistent SQL Server setups.  There are two facets of consistent setups.  The first being the settings and options you choose when you install SQL Server.  This could be the way tempdbs are setup, your service accounts, naming conventions, and what features you choose for an installation.  Some of this can be changed after you install SQL Server–like default parameters, but some of it can’t be changed–or at least not changed very easily.  Each of these are specific to SQL Server and important; however, I wish to address a second facet of SQL Server setups–the pieces that are specific to your organization and the tools/scripts you use to manage your environment.

Consistent Setup

After SQL Server is installed, this is a great time to run through a few other setup items before letting in the environment loose.  Backup jobs and other maintenance tasks are a given, but here are few others to consider.

  • Database Mail setup
  • Extended Events traces
  • A job to recycle the SQL Logs each day.
  • The number of SQL Server logs to keep
  • Creating operators for notifications
  • Adding Alerts Error Number 823, 824, and 825

Screen Shot 09-08-15 at 11.08 PMNeed help starting your script collection?  Don’t forget to script out your options as you create them through the GUI.  This is a great way to start building your configuration nest egg.

Junk Drawer

While there may still be some debate about whether you should store items in the master database, you will need to have a place to stick your stuff.  Remember, we are talking about creating some consistency here and you will need to have a bit of order to make that work.  Growing up, my mom reserved a little pull out drawer in the kitchen for my dad.  Only his stuff was in it and if something was left on the counter, it would wind up in the ‘junk drawer’, but then my dad would always know where to go look for something when he couldn’t find it.  I suggest you do the same with your database environments–create a database dedicated to ‘admin’ stuff.  This stuff isn’t for use in other database; however, I have caught myself using my admin database for a staging table, but that should not be the norm.

This database will be for your scripts you run in your enterprise.

What’s in there?

Examples of scripts I put in my admin database include:

  •  backup scripts
  • certain common Dynamic Management View I use for performance monitoring
  • sp_whoisactive
  • System Log files–If I am auditing something or getting backup history, those tables go in the admin database.

Having all the admin utilities in a single database just makes it easier for when other folks come into the environment and you need to collaborate.  Good luck to you and I hope to see you on the SQL trail.

T-SQL Tuesday 59–My Hero

Today’s T-SQL TuesTsql Tuesdayday is being hosted by Tracy Mckibben (t|b) and he has invited us to talk about our heroes with it being Ada Lovelace Day and all.  As Ada is created with being the first programmer and this topic got me thinking about firsts in my family.

My grandmother came to the United States in the early sixties looking for a better life for her family.  She left behind four children who would join her over the next four years.  She worked as a maid to a family in Connecticut and earned $50 a week–$45 of which would go back to her family in Costa Rica.  Those efforts led the family here, where my father earned his bachelor’s degree from BYU and then later earned a masters from Clemson University; the first in the family.  She continued to work until her body would not let her and always encouraged us to do our best.  Her sacrifices those 55 years ago led to all the blessings my family now enjoys.  Grandma is one my heroes.

Of course, I would not be able to pursue independent employment as I know it today if it weren’t for my family–especially my wife who has supported me and my sometimes crazy whims.  I am grateful for their support and am glad I have a partner for all eternity. 🙂

Also, I need to give a shout out to Andy Leonard, who helped start the Richmond SQL Server Users Group.  Before we even knew what PASS was, Andy was there with a group of folks in Richmond talking shop and his even though he hasn’t had direct interaction with the group for some time, his influence is still felt and the core leadership team are involved because of Andy’s example.  The opportunity to belong to that group has been all the difference in what I have been able to do professionally.

T-SQL Tuesday #34: Help! I Need Somebody!

Tsql TuesdayAs I am really just starting to blog on a regular basis, I thought this T-SQL Tuesday topic on someone who has helped you would be a good first topic to write about in this wonderful SQL community.

I took two database classes in college and I can still remember saying to myself–“I will NEVER be a dba.”  I was actually on track to become a network admin and was studying for my CCNA.  It still makes me laugh when I think about it.

My first job out of college was with a company called IndigeTech, which is now part of CodeX, Inc.  At the time IndigeTech was a small consulting firm and I was their internal IT guy and I had the privilege of working under the tutelage of José Castaños.   José taught me several important things

  1. How to find answers to questions I didn’t know.
  2. How to form good questions so I could get information from other people.
  3. Don’t evade work you don’t know how to do.

All of these points have played a role in my career development and I am so grateful I had challenging experiences early in my career so I would be willing to take on more challenging assignments later.  Isn’t that how we learn best–by solving a problem?

Two others I should thank are Robert Pollard, who convinced me to apply for my first DBA position, and Paul Oster, who told me I should go to our local SQL Server users group meeting.  He kept pestering me to go and I haven’t missed many since.  🙂