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SQL Server DBA Tips & Tricks

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Look Boss, The (Execution) Plan, the Plan!

fantasy-island

That’s right, I went the Fantasy Island route since everyone else took the good jokes. Well Tim Ford kicked off a blog meme with this setup:

So You’re On A Deserted Island With WiFi and you’re still on the clock at work. Okay, so not a very good situational exercise here, but let’s roll with it; we’ll call it a virtual deserted island. Perhaps what I should simply ask is if you had a month without any walk-up work, no projects due, no performance issues that require you to devote time from anything other than a wishlist of items you’ve been wanting to get accomplished at work but keep getting pulled away from I ask this question: what would be the top items that would get your attention?

I was tagged by Jason Massie (Twitter) for this one and I’ve got to admit I love this scenario especially fitting considering all the crap I’ve been through the last couple of weeks with catastrophic power failures, shoddy backup software and database corruption fun. So let’s get to it.

Get Control of Backups

Man, if I’ve learned anything in the last week is that I need to get the backup situation under control. My first task (and hopefully this will become a reality here sooner than later) is to get Arcserve the hell out of our environment. I’ve never seen a piece of software this unstable since the release of Windows ME. Half the time you try to do something the GUI freezes up. Ugh, but I digress. Basically I need something reliable to be able to handle my backups, and most importantly, RESTORES!

Learn that Business Intelligence Stuff

I love the fact that SQL Server has so much to offer and the BI part of it is not only interesting but extensive! Whenever I get a chance I watch webcasts and presentations on Analysis Services, SSIS and Reporting Services but sometimes it just starts going over my head (especially AS). I think if I could take that 6 months and head-down study that stuff I’d be alright and definitely add more value to the organization.

PowerShell

PowerShell, the magical language that Microsoft is pushing as the standard scripting language for administrators. I’ve watched Buck Woody do a cool webcast on PowerShell for Database Administrators but I haven’t had time to sit down and learn PowerShell the way I’d like to. Then again I don’t have thousands of servers to deal with so for me it’s really not a priority for me at the moment. But if I have those 6 months with Wilson staring at me from an adjacent rock, I might as well learn something cool and scalable.

Security Auditing and Cleanup

I jumped into my current environment with servers that were just kind of stood up with no real security policy and no real thought/regard to performance. Now that I’ve been here a year I have a “lay of the land” and if I had time I’d like to go back through everything and clean up stuff like built-in administrators in sysadmin group and whatnot. This task will definitely be helped using Policy Based Management but what I need is the time to plan, coordinate with our IT security team, and execute/enforce. Pipe dream? Maybe.

I’m sure there are probably a hundred other things I’d like to do including certification but I’ll leave the list as-is. Time to pay it forward and tag some of my SQL bretheren:

Marlon Ribunal (Blog Twitter)

Aaron Alton (Blog Twitter)

Chuck Boyce Jr. (Blog Twitter)

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