Hitting the Ground Running

Camaro Burnout
Aceleration is key!

I’ve been on the job a couple days now, and I feel like I’m well on my way to contributing to my new company. On the first day I started pulling the latest backups to my local machine, and setting up a development environment where I can start diagramming the databases, and looking into the architecture they’re using. I’m using the built in diagramming tools right now, does anyone have any suggestions for other software packages to do this? I’m curious what else is out there and more effective…if there is such a package.

While building these diagrams, I’m making constant notes to myself. I note naming conventions, relationships, tables, views, etc. I look for possible improvements to the architecture that could allow more flexibility, more speed. Most of these will turn into long term goals.

Shortly after diagramming the databases, and noting what I can, I’ll turn my attention to the jobs and maintenance plans. I’ll map these out, look for any missing disaster recovery options. (are there any databases that aren’t being backed up?) I am testing the restore for these backups by adding them to my local instance of SQL Server. I know this needs to happen more often, and should be automated. But I first have to set up a QA/BAT/Testing server…. That one is going into my medium term goals.

After all that, I’ll start looking into the DMVs, and start testing out Ignite, Performance Advisor, and SQL Monitor. I want to get proactive on performance issues.  Anyone have any suggestions on other tools I could evaluate to monitor my SQL Server instances?    This will be my short term goal.

Finally, I’ll continue to work on my plans for our move to the new data center.  Our current plan has us moving from 14 physical servers to 2 physical servers in a cluster running virtual machine services to host these servers as VMs.  The other two servers will be a SQL Server cluster of two Virtual Machine nodes.  Right now, it looks like this will be a 2008R2 cluster…unless Denali is available sooner rather than later.  I really would like to use the AlwaysOn options!

By Shannon Lowder

Shannon Lowder is the Database Engineer you've been looking for! Look no further for expertise in: Business Analysis to gather the business requirements for the database; Database Architecting to design the logical design of the database; Database Development to actually build the objects needed by the business logic; finally, Database Administration to keep the database running in top form, and making sure there is a disaster recovery plan.

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