This weekend at SQLSaturday 62 in Tampa, I presented my policy-based management presentation. During my presentation
one of the cool things I cover is how policy-based management can be extended utilizing Reporting Services and PowerShell
through the use of an amazing tool called the Enterprise Policy-Management Framework available on Codeplex.
Enterprise Policy Management Framework, or EPMF, is completely free and was developed by the folks at Microsoft who created
policy-based management. I absolutely love telling folks about this project because it really helps sell the idea of
policy-based management’s application within an organization. What’s cool about this project is the built in reports make it easy to see the health state of your environment at a glance as well as let you drill down further in to each report piece to find more granular information on policy states.
One caveat of EPMF is that in order to run on SQL Server 2008 it requires SP1 Cumulative Update 3 or higher installed on your Central Management server in order to function properly. This requirement is in place in order for EPMF to be able to properly handle policy evaluation on down level systems (e.g. SQL Server 2000, 2005). An interesting question was asked during the presentation: “Does EPMF support SQL Server 2008 R2 RTM (10.50.1600)?” The answer is YES, it does!
I tested this on my local install of SQL Server 2008 R2 at RTM level and it works. Even though it works at RTM, I highly recommend you update your SQL Server 2008 R2 instance to at least Cumulative Update 3 or higher. I know, you’re thinking “but you just told me it works at RTM!” Yes, it does, however the RTM edition of R2 came with quite a nasty little bug that wasn’t fixed until the CU3 patch. This bug is outlined in this Connect issue by Aaron Bertrand (Blog | Twitter). The bug is that SSMS will not allow you to edit or create a job step after you’ve created an initial one. How does this affect you? Well when you setup EPMF you need to create a new scheduled job that executes the PowerShell script that evaluates the policies against your environment. This particular bug will stop you from editing or creating new job steps which could severely affect you trying to fix things. There is a workaround wherein you can close/reopen SSMS to make the error disappear but this can become quite cumbersome very quickly.
Policy-based management is an extremely powerful and easy to use feature in SQL Server 2008 and EPM Framework extends its awesomeness even further. If you’d like to learn more about Policy-based management you can check out some webinars I’ve done over at Pragmatic Works (webinar link) or at SQLLunch (webinar link) on the topic.