SQL SERVER – 7 Essential Tools to Support Core Database Administration – SQL DBA Bundle

The biggest fear of any DBA is that something will happen to the server he is monitoring after of hours and he will have to run back in the middle of the night to fix it. There are two main   sources  of anxiety for the DBA 1) Users who make mistakes and create disasters for the server and 2) Hardware failures or natural disasters.

Two Reasons behind DBA’s Fear

Personally, I am more worried about reason #1 than reason #2. There is nothing more dangerous than database users who make mistakes knowingly or unknowingly. If a user has no idea what they have done and consequently  brought an  entire server down it is even more scary. The only way  to keep us safe from users who make errors is to just keep  them  away, but this  suggestion is not practical. We can’t keep users away from servers all the time. They have access to the server because they need it and if we restrict access, they will be never be able to get the necessary business information they need. 

Solutions – Knowledge and Tools

The solution is not to keep the  users away from the database but the to educate those individuals. Any database user should have two things 1) knowledge to perform the tasks and 2) the necessary tools to perform their tasks.

Knowledge

Knowledge comes from a combination of experience and education, and requires some effort from the individual involved to learn and grow. If you love your job and want to master  new tasks, you must spend the required time learning and developing yourself. One should demonstrate the commitment to learn new things and, most importantly, prioritize what is of   the utmost relevance to the job. There are few excuses one can make not to adopt this approach, especially if you want to be successful in  your work .

Tools

It is true that DBA’s and Developers should be committed and dedicated to acquiring the expertise required for the job, it is equally true that organizations should provide the necessary tools for their DBA and developers to perform their tasks hassle-free. I believe every single database developer and DBA should have the tools in their belt that can  enable them to get their job done effectively and this only requires a small investment from their employer .

Frequent Tasks of DBA

In the real world there are some  tasks that we do quite frequently and  those that we complete  only once in a while. It is very crucial to make a list of the most common daily tasks and find the most efficient tools to accomplish them. The following constitutes a  list of activities, which  I have observed DBAs do very frequently in the industry:

  • Make backups with backup encryption and verification
  • Monitor  SQL Server performance and be alerted
  • Deploy development scripts on a production server
  • Compare and synchronize database schemas
  • Compare and synchronize database contents
  • Write and refactor  SQL
  • Automatically generate database documentation

SQL DBA Bundle – 7 Essentials Tools

Although there is not a single tool    to cover  all the tasks above,  luckily when I was looking around, I found the SQL DBA Bundle from Red Gate. It contains all the essential tools which I believe any DBA needs to perform daily tasks efficiently. In essence, the SQL DBA Bundle consists of  seven tools that support the core database administration tasks.

The SQL DBA Bundle includes:

  • SQL Backup Pro – It helps you schedule back up jobs and compresses, encrypts, and verifies as part of the process . You can recover and restore data whenever you want.
  • SQL Monitor – It proactively monitors servers and ensures servers  are performing optimally, highlighting potential problems and bottlenecks ahead of time before users notice anything is wrong,  averting disasters.
  • SQL Compare – It compares and synchronizes schema changes within SSMS
  • SQL Data Compare - It compares and synchronizes data changes within SSMS
  • SQL Prompt - It completes queries for you as you type, and also takes care of formatting, and lets you save, search, and recover
  • SQL Multi Script – It can run multiple scripts on multiple servers with just one click and allows you to deploy changes with ease
  • SQL Doc – It quickly produces high quality database documentation and it integrates with SSMS

In all honesty,  each of the above tools  warrant a  blog post of their own due to the benefits they bring to your process and I will talk about them in future. They all come with the benefit of a easy to use UI.  For the moment, I am extremely happy that I have landed on a great tool  set that can take care of my daily  core tasks. Installation of the SQL DBA Bundle is also very easy. Here is the screenshot of how quickly one can install 6 of the total 7 tools in a single click-through wizard.

SQL Monitor requires separate installation but it is one of the most user friendly installation I have ever seen in my life.

I strongly suggest that you download and experiment with the free tools of the SQL DBA Bundle. It has a free trial that does not require a credit card. I think every organization should invest in  this set of tools  for  their DBA to save time and money.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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