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How Healthy is your SQL Server?

sql server emergency suppor

Let’s not beat around the bush, SQL is complex. There are few “experts” out there that deal with the intricacies on a day-in, day-out basis and as such, there is a large portion of sub-optimal configurations in businesses today. Whilst this may not be a factor for small business, if you’re running a high-transaction database with business-essential services, then your server performance WILL be costing you money.

Even Microsoft recognises that SQL Server is one of their most complex software offerings, and yet so many database server environments are managed by generalist systems administrators. And while this may suffice for basic backup and restoration duties, the risks associated with improper SQL Server database management can become very costly to your business, very quickly.

Common Symptoms

At DBA Services, we deal with databases every day. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the same issues arise time and time again, appearing in 80% of systems we review. Issues caused not by neglect, merely a lack of detailed understanding by system administrators. To be fair, they have a lot on their plate, dealing with a wider range of issues than just your database. But you know what they say, “Jack of all trades…”. That’s why we’ve identified the following key factors when it comes to tuning the performance of your database:

There’s a few tell-tale signs that your database infrastructure isn’t getting the attention it needs. The most obvious of which being users who are complaining of slow load times and poor application performance. This in itself is a serious productivity killer and isn’t something to be ignored. Another commonly overlooked indicator is to ask whether management has answered the following question: what are your recovery time and point objectives? That is to say, how long can your business last without its mission critical applications being online, and what’s the most amount of data your business could withstand to lose in the event of a critical failure. If these questions have never been asked, then chances are your business is at risk.

Maintenance plan configurations

Maintenance plans are an essential component in keeping your database running efficiently. A properly configured workflow will ensure that your data is regularly backed up, free of inconsistencies and optimised. An advanced maintenance plan can do even more. Microsoft’s default maintenance plans can only do so much, with more advanced systems of maintenance ensuring efficient management and consistency across your environment. Failure to perform correct SQL maintenance on the other hand, a poorly developed one can slow down your system over time as well as leave you vulnerable to data loss.

SQL Alerts

It always surprises us when we come across a system without alerts. Critical events, failure conditions, these things occur internally and can be difficult to identify without proper operator notifications. That is, until there is a system-wide outage at which point your business can grind to a halt. With a full range of alerts, minor inconsistencies can be located and corrected prior to affecting your operations.

Performance Bottlenecks

We’re talking specifically about hardware bottlenecks here. When you’re dealing with a high volume of database transactions, split second delays can add up to long queues. The hardware used to both store and access your systems plays a vital role in maintaining seamless business operations. Identification of these bottlenecks, whilst time consuming, can provide vastly improved efficiencies across all your business applications run via your servers.

The Solution

Thankfully, these and other SQL server issues don’t need to hold you back. There are people out there that specialise in database administration, of which DBA Services is one. A database administrator’s experience means that they can identify any misconfigurations in your system and address them prior to a serious fault. With ongoing management from an expert, your databases will be running optimally and securely, leaving your system administrators to focus on their areas of expertise.

If you’re concerned that your SQL server is not in tip-top shape, then come and talk to us. We offer a comprehensive SQL health check covering operating systems, performance baselining, SQL components, instance configurations and critical databases. All this, at a fraction of the price of a Microsoft SQL RAP. Find out more here.