SQL SERVER – Learning SSIS – Where Do I Start? – Notes from the Field #014

[Note from Pinal]: This is a new episode of Notes from the Field series. SQL Server Integration Service (SSIS) is one of the most key essential part of the entire Business Intelligence (BI) story. It is a platform for data integration and workflow applications. As wikipedia says – It features a fast and flexible data warehousing tool used for data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL). The tool may also be used to automate maintenance of SQL Server databases and updates to multidimensional cube data.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series I asked SSIS Expert Andy Leonard a very crucial question – How to learn SSIS and where do we start with it? Andy was very kind to answer the questions and provides plenty of information about how a novice developer can learn SSIS from the beginning and become expert in the technology.


Where Do I Start?

I often meet people who want to learn SSIS but don’t know where to get started. There are several great places to learn SSIS.

Articles

I recommend the Stairway to Integration Services at SQL Server Central, but I am clearly biased – I wrote it (and I’m still writing it…). The stairway is a systematic walk-through laden with images which, I believe, helps when learning something new.

Books

There are lots of good books on SSIS. You can learn something from all of them. At Amazon, you can find an assortment of books by the major publishers such as Apress, Microsoft Press, and Wrox – as well as self-published works – by simply searching for SSIS.

Free Training

There are a number of online resources where you can obtain free training. Individuals and companies offer training on YouTube, Vimeo, and other online video websites. The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) stores recordings of Virtual Chapter meetings and various presentations.

You can also obtain free training at events such as SQL Saturday or local SQL Server user groups. The Linchpin People blog contains some free SSIS video training.

Free training is usually good training, but not always. One caveat about free training: You often get what you pay for.

Paid Training

You can opt for professional training delivered in-person, remotely, or via video. There are several sites that provide excellent SSIS training via video. Some are subscription services for which you pay a yearly or monthly fee. Others allow you to purchase a course of collection of courses.

In-person training is usually the most expensive option. Why? Remember: you get what you pay for. Many students who attend the Linchpin People SSIS training courses report learning more during the Day 1 morning session than they knew entering the classroom. In-person training is the best and fastest way to obtain a working knowledge of SSIS.

Why So Much?

So why does in-person training cost so much? First, the curriculum must be developed. This may sound trivial – putting together some slides and talking points and a handful of exercises – but it is not. I spent almost a year developing the labs for Linchpin People’s course: From Zero to SSIS. Why so long? Several reasons. I wanted the content to:

  1. Represent real-world data (No one’s data is as clean as AdventureWorks).
  2. Build from a central starting point (spiral-out).
  3. Emphasize the techniques and SSIS components and tasks you will use as an SSIS Developer, not deliver a survey of all SSIS components and tasks (some of them don’t work very well, after all).

(Shameless plug: I am personally delivering From Zero to SSIS 19-23 May in Reston Virginia, and SQL Server Integration Services 2012 Design Patterns 8-11 Sep in London, England.)

Time and Hard Work

There is no substitute for spending time working hard to learn anything, and SSIS is no different. In fact, learning SSIS will take more time than learning almost any other technology. Why? Integration Services is a software development platform for moving data. Learning it well requires understanding both database technology and software development.

As I tell students in my SSIS training, “If it was easy, anyone could do it.” Many people are not interested in learning something difficult. The result is there are not enough SSIS developers to do all the available SSIS work. So if you learn SSIS, you should enjoy some measure of job security.

Working in Information Technology requires a commitment to lifelong learning. You should not expect to be able to learn one version of SSIS – or one version of any technology – and be able to work in that version of the technology for the next 20 years (you will be fortunate to be able to work in a single version of a technology for 20 months!). If you don’t like “keeping up,” Information Technology is not the right field for you.

You will need to invest time to learn SSIS, and you will need to continue investing time to improve your SSIS skills and keep up with changes in new releases of the technology.

Conclusion

You can learn SSIS. You need to make up your mind that you are going to learn it and let nothing stop you. Treat each obstacle as “something to overcome.” Accept no shortcuts. Do the work. Put in the time.

I have the utmost confidence in you. You can do it.

If you want to get started with SSIS with the help of experts, read more over at Fix Your SQL Server.

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

SQL SERVER – 9 Things You Should be Doing with Your Backups

SQL Server backups are essential for any business that store their data in SQL Server. The following is a list of best practices you should be following if you are the person in charge with maintaining your organization’s databases.

1. Backups should not be stored in the same physical location as database files

This very simple rule will save your business from a lot of difficult situations in the event that a physical drive becomes faulty.

In case something like this occurs, you sahould have the possibility to use other drives or to remote to a different location that has stored a backup of your database so that you are able to restore your database from that location.

2. Backup schedules are set up

Another good safety precaution is for your backups to always be accompanied by proper schedules which have been established to meet the application needs and your particular business requirements.

Creating backup schedules is very important because as time passes and your backups get older, the risk of data loss becomes higher, unless you are protected and you have a way to reestablish all the data up to the point of failure.

Backup schedules will provide you a consistent and constant history of your data which will always be useful, not only in disaster situations.

3. Test the restore procedure of your backup on a test server

You should always try to restoring your backups on a test server and make sure that you can recover all of the data with all the options you need to use during a restore on the main server.

Just because a backup process has finished successfully, this will not guarantee that the backup can also be restored. You might not be aware that your backup was not created correctly, and when trying to restore it on the main server, the process might fail due to media corruption or other factors.

4. Make use of all available verification options when doing backup

Another good practice is to use all options provided in the process of backing up your database in order to make sure that the end result is a transactionally consistent backup.

If you are using T-SQL scripts to back up your database, then make sure that when using the BACKUP command you also add the CHECKSUM parameter, in the WITH clause, which will imply that each page will be passed through a checksum operation to ensure the consistency of your backup on the backup media.

BACKUP DATABASE MyDatabase
TO DISK = 'Z:\MyBackups\MyDatabase.bak'
WITH CHECKSUM;

If you prefer doing your backups manually through a visual interface like the one available in SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), make sure to check the first two checkboxes in the Reliability section, on the Options page.

These two options, Verify backup when finished and Perform checksum before writing to media will add a level of verification to your backup process which will ensure your backups are consistent.

If you choose a different wizard to do your backups, like the one available through SQL Server Maintenance Plans, make sure to tick the box that corresponds to Check Database Integrity option.

A different piece of software which I prefer to use to use for this operation, mainly because of its simplicity in use, is SQLBackupAndFTP. It has all the most important options in an easy to access and intuitive interface.

5. Do a FULL backup daily

Based on the needs of your organization you should choose a recovery model that will allow you to protect your organization’s against data loss. If your organization can afford to lose 15, 30, 60 minutes worth of data, choosing a simple recovery model is the option you should go for.

In this case, having a FULL database backup is the best method of protection against data loss in any data protection plan and in conclusion, most cases would require it to be performed daily, despite the overhead added by the time required for such an operation.

If your organization’s databases are small with easily recoverable data, then a FULL backup should be the way to go.

As I am already using SQLBackupAndFTP for my backup process, I find it very convenient that it has, by default, set its backup schedule to do a FULL back up every 24 hours.

This is very helpful and this way the risk that a detail that is most important will be eliminated.

The biggest advantage of this best practice is that the recovery is easier as the backup is just one file and no database log is needed, while the downside for this type of backup is that data that can be recovered is only up to the time of the backup and depending on the size of your database, it can take up a lot of disk space.

6. Do differential backups more frequently

If you consider doing FULL backups are too expensive for your organization, from a resource availability and data loss point of view, there is the option of doing differential backups of your databases, which can and should be done more frequently than FULL backups.

In terms of advantages, differential backups will take less time to complete and also less disk space as they contain just the data from the last FULL backup operation. No database log is needed in this case either and the restores are more precise in terms of data.

The disadvantages of this would be that still, the data that can be recovered is only up to the time of the restore and the restoring process is a bit more complicated as there are two files involved.

7. Do transaction log backups even more frequently

The following most important step in doing backups, after FULL and differential backups, would be to back up the transaction log. As the transaction log contains all the recent activity in the database, it could be used to make a restore of the database to a specific point in time, which is its biggest advantage.

Doing a transaction log backup also truncates the log, which keeps it from becoming full. Similar to database backups, transaction log backups can be done while the system is active.

If your organization has a high activity with some of its databases, doing a transaction log backup every 10 minutes is recommended, while other databases which are less active might have their transaction logs backed up every 30 minutes or 60 minutes.

The negative side of this type of backup is that the database is required to have transaction logging activated which will increase the size of the database and the effort required when doing the restore process.

8. Practice recovery operations

A successful company is flexible and quickly adapts to the changes in the market. In such a case, where business requirements could change unexpectedly, this could mean that your backup strategies can become obsolete.

Testing your backup strategies on a frequent basis and covering different scenarios that might appear, scenarios that include both system and individual database restores will ensure that your backup plans will have the expected efficiency and will work at the time they are needed.

9. Regularly back up system databases

Even though backup strategies will save you from losing user data, it is incomplete without a backup plan for your SQL Server system databases, master, model and msdb databases.

These databases are essential because they contain system configuration along with SQL Server job information which has to be restored in case of a total system restore.

You should also keep a strict and frequent plan of backing up your system databases, preferably on a daily basis, if you’re frequently changing instances. Otherwise, for installations which are more stable, you can do this backup operation with less frequency.

If you have already considered taking a look at SQLBackupAndFTP for your backup process, I still have good news regarding this software.

As you can see above, it also offers you the possibility to backup, along with your user databases, the system databases just with one extra click. You still have the options to back these databases up with a schedule and to your favorite location, be it on the same disk or in a different location.

Conclusion

If you are to follow these best practices in your backup process you will eventually find an optimum and the most efficient combination of steps to manage your organization’s databases. Software is here to help us and make our lives easier, while making us more efficient. This is why, for some of the steps above I recommend using SQLBackupAndFTP, which in my opinion has the most complete and easy to use set of tools necessary to manage your databases.

Also, by incorporating any of the steps above in your backup practices you are going to improve your organization’s efficiency against data loss and speed up the recovery process of your data.

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

SQL SERVER – Virtualized SQL Server Performance and Storage System – Notes from the Field #013

[Note from Pinal]: This is a new episode of Notes from the Field series. A common comment I often hear from the developers is – “I have virtual environment and I have followed all the tricks and tips which I should apply to SQL Server but still I do not see a performance improvement to my server. I believe virtualization is not a good thing.” The matter of the fact is that we do not know how to tune virtualized server. Regular SQL Server where we have dedicated server and virtualized SQL Server have few different tricks associated with them.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert David Klee explains a very crucial issue DBAs, and Developer faces in their career – how you can improve performance of overall server. Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. Read the experience of David in his own words.


Out in the field, the sheer number of trouble scenarios that you run into is mind boggling. But, over time, you start to see a number of patterns appear, and you start to build this list of cause-and-effect relationships in your mind. The list of common patterns helps you be more efficient at troubleshooting different problems. In having virtualized SQL Server and other mission-critical workloads for quite some time now, storage performance is the number one recurring item on that list. Let’s discuss why this is, and how to get underneath the symptoms and into the root causes of some of these common themes.

Performance Collection

Paramount to any discussion on storage performance, in both the physical and virtual worlds, is performance statistic collection. What amount of I/O performance do your SQL Servers consume throughout the day or week? You cannot begin a conversation about good or bad storage performance without having a usage baseline to compare the current system state against. Use your favorite performance statistic collector (Perfmon is mine) and collect data around the clock. Use this data to start to trend your usage. Common Windows performance counters that you should sample for disk include:

Counter Group Counter Set
PhysicalDisk % Idle Time
Average Disk Bytes / Read
Average Disk Bytes / Write
Average Disk Read Queue Length
Average Disk sec / Read
Average Disk sec / Write
Average Disk Transfer Bytes / sec
Average Disk Write Queue Length
Current Disk Queue Length
Disk Read Bytes / sec
Disk Reads / sec
Disk Write Bytes / sec
Disk Writes / sec

Remember to use the option to sample all of the drives individually instead of just the total aggregate counter.

Scenario

Take this scenario as an example. You currently have 20 mission-critical SQL Servers that you are looking to virtualize. Each one exhibits steady-state business-day storage utilization of 8,000 IOPs (with bursts to 15,000) and 45MB/s (and bursts to 275MB/s). Given the state of your virtualization environment regarding CPU and memory consumption, you feel comfortable with six SQL Server virtual machines per physical host. Do the math and do you find that each host can handle the aggregate storage workload? It equals between 48-90K IOPs and between 270-1650MB/s, per host.

Uh-oh.

Virtualize these machines and you most likely cannot achieve that level of performance at each host. You now have a performance bottleneck based on your physical server’s performance, and you are going to notice.

Now What?

Each of your hosts and shared storage devices (usually a SAN) should be carefully examined before you virtualize your SQL Servers. The SAN itself should be configured in a manner that can exceed your aggregate I/O requirements, both per host and per LUN. RAID types, controller counts and cache values, disk group configurations, whatever – should all be able to exceed what you need. Most of the time, the core SAN can handle your requests without a problem. Other times, more spindles or SSDs, controller cache, or reconfiguring RAID types can possibly fix the situation.

At the host level, though, things get interesting. Each host will have some means to connect to the storage (fiber HBAs, Ethernet adapters, etc.). A default configuration is usually what I see in the field, which is usually not optimal for resource-intensive workloads such as SQL Server. Round-trip path performance may be slow, active multipathing may be misconfigured or not configured at all, individual paths can be congested and not load balanced, or not enough overall paths to the SAN may be available. Any one of those items can cause an individual VM’s performance to suffer, and in aggregate this impact can be very devastating to the overall performance of all of the VMs on a host.

At the VM level, you have some tricks that can help you improve performance even more. Configure your SQL Server VMs with multiple virtual disks and spread out your workload. A common disk layout for my SQL Server templates is as follows.

Letter Purpose
C: Operating system
D: SQL Server home and system databases
F: User database data files (1 of X)
L: User database log files (1 of X)
T: TempDB database data and log files
Z: SQL Server database backup target

By utilizing multiple virtual disks, you allow the hypervisor to more efficiently multipath the I/O requests rather than funnel all of that I/O traffic down one route. You can then place the virtual disks on the appropriate type and configuration of storage. For example, the OS disk can go on a SAS tier of disks. The backup volume could go on a SATA tier, as well as rarely used archival data. Commonly used data could get placed on SSDs. Maximize your performance where you need it, and minimize costs where you don’t quite need top performance.

Another quick tip is that for VMware-specific environments, you can utilize the VMware Paravirtual SCSI driver. You can get a sizable performance improvement for a virtual disk. Michael Webster has a great post demonstrating the performance differences here, and I have a how-to guide that you can use to retrofit your existing I/O-intensive virtual machines to take advantage of this free performance boost here.

Conclusion

Hopefully your virtualized SQL Servers and other mission-critical systems are performing beautifully in your virtual environment. If not, review these tips to see what improvements you can make. Even if things are good right now, incorporate these tips to help squeeze more performance from your virtualized SQL Servers to help you scale into the future!

If you want to get started with performance analytics and triage of virtualized SQL Servers with the help of experts, read more over at Fix Your SQL Server.

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

SQL SERVER – Tools for Proactive DBAs – Policy Based Management – Notes from the Field #012

[Note from Pinal]: This is a 12th episode of Notes from the Fields series. When taking a vacation the biggest worry any DBA has it that in their absence what will happen to their database. They are often worried that something will go wrong with their server or some users will change something without their permission and knowledge. This keeps on them so much worried that even though they take vacations they keep on looking at the phone or email continuously. Here is a simple trick which DBA can implement and take their vacation without worrying about their database.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert John Sterrett (Group Principal at Linchpin People) explains a very common issue DBAs, and Developer faces in their career – how to be proactive and manage database policies before they are violated. Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. Read the experience of John in his own words.


In this week’s tip from the field were going to cover Policy Based Management. Policy Based Management (PBM) allows you to import and build policies that could be enforced or checked to validate that your SQL Server Farm is compliant with best practices. Today, were going to show you how to import best practice policies. In a future tip, we will show you how you can leverage Central Management Server and Policy Based Management together to validate best practice settings against your SQL Server farm.

In order to use Policy Based Management you will need to enable it. In this case PBM is enabled, but this would how you would enable it incase it’s not already enabled on your instance.

For those of you who are familiar with SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer you will noticed that several of these checks have been included as policies that can be imported. We are going to take a look at how you can import some of these policies.

Policy Based Management can be accessed via SSMS under the management node for an instance as shown below. Right click on policies and select Import Policy.

Once you click on import you will see the following window. When you click on the ellipse next to “Files to import” you will see the folder by default is pointed to the folder that includes the default best practices shown below.

You will notice that there are several best practices policies. Today, we are going to import just the Database Auto Close policy.

Once we import the following policy we will see it inside the policies tree in SSMS.

You will notice that there is a red arrow on the Database Auto Close policy we just imported. This is because the policy evaluation isn’t scheduled. You can manually evaluate it or schedule a SQL Agent job to run on a schedule to evaluate the policy.

In this tip, were going to execute manually. This is done by right clicking on the policy and selecting evaluate. You will see that the “Database Auto Close” policy was evaluated for every user database on the instance.

If you enjoyed this tip from the field, checkout several other posts on Policy Based Management.

Are your servers running at optimal speed or are you facing any SQL Server Performance Problems? If you want to get started with the help of experts read more over here: Fix Your SQL Server.

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

SQL SERVER – Check for Database Integrity – Notes from the Field #011

[Notes from Pinal]: There is always scenario when we suddenly end up having an error in our database query which is related to database integrity. We see error where SQL Queries are not executed due to there is corruption in the database file. When we see this happening, in many cases it is pretty late to correct the issue. It would be nice we have been checking the database integrity frequently and making sure that our database is in the best state to return us result anytime when we want. Tim tasks about database integrity in this episode of Notes from the Field.

Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. In this 11th episode of the Notes from the Fields series database expert Tim Radney (partner at Linchpin People) explains a very common issue DBA and Developer faces when they are dealing with database integrity. Do not forget the most important aspect for any system – Database Integrity!


When I get asked to review a database server environment, a very important check that I perform is to review when the last DBCC CHECKDB scan was ran on each database.  It is very important to check for integrity regularly on all production databases.

Scheduling DBCC CHECKDB to run on a regular basis is a really good practice.  DBCC CHECKDB checks the logical and physical integrity of all the objects in the respective database in which it is being ran.  I highly recommend reading a previous blog post that Pinal Dave wrote that gives a great introduction and explanation on DBCC CHECKDB.

As a consultant and full time DBA I perform these checks very often and have a set of detailed scripts that I use.  The basics of obtaining when the last time DBCC CHECKDB was ran can be obtained from running the following script.

EXEC ('DBCC DBInfo() With TableResults, NO_INFOMSGS')

The output will resemble the following:

 

You will want to review the output from this script and look for “dbi_dbccLastKnownGood’ in the Field column.  This isn’t too difficult to perform if you are just searching for a few databases but in my experience I have to run this against many instances with numerous databases on each instance.  I would recommend building a script that will loop through each database, insert the output from the above result set into a temporary table and only report back where Field = ‘dbi_dbccLastKnownGood’. There are a number of these scripts already written and published on the web.

What is crucial is that you are performing regular DBCC CHECKDB scans. If you are not proactively checking for integrity problems you are putting yourself at risk of losing data.  If data becomes corrupt and you do not have backups predating the corruption then you have in most cases lost data.  I recommend even if you have a job scheduled to run regular checks to create a report to scan each server to validate they are being ran.

It is worth noting that DBCC CHECKDB is a very IO intensive operation and should be ran during maintenance windows or during nonpeak times.  I know of several organizations that have a process in place to perform backup restore validations in a dedicated environment.  They perform their integrity scans as part of that process enabling them to offload the integrity checks to a non-production environment.

However you architect your integrity checks, just make sure you are performing them and that your backup process protects you in the event corruption is found.  If you are prepared then when corruption does happen, you will be ready.

If you want me to take a look at your server and its settings or if your server is facing any issue we can Fix Your SQL Server.

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

SQL SERVER – Auditors, Passwords and Exceptions – Notes from the Field #010

[Note from Pinal]: This is a 10th episode of Notes from the Field series. Every other day, I read online about various security breach happening worldwide – some have lost passwords, some have lost phone numbers and some have lost credit card information. Security is the most important aspect of the application. The worst scenario would be when theives comes to your door and you have kept your key under your door-mat, which they are able to guess. Password is just like key to get into the database. If you keep your password so easy that everyone can guess, it would be very bad for your system. You need to keep it complex and also follow your organization’s policy. In this blog post Brian hits very important concept about application security.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert Brian Kelley explains a very crucial issue DBAs and Developer faces on their production server. Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. Read the experience of Brian in his own words.


Auditors focus on logins, especially the password settings. Why? They do because it’s easy to audit and those audits find that too many organizations still get them wrong. With respect to SQL Server, you can’t control things like how many days before the password expires or what the complexity rules are. Those are controlled by the operating system and SQL Server follows the operating system’s rules. What can be controlled is if a login follows the login policy rules. There are actually three options here:

  • The login doesn’t follow any of the policy rules.
  • The login follows all of the policy rules.
  • The login follows all of the policy rules except for password expiration.

Auditors are interested in exceptions. When something doesn’t follow the rules or doesn’t follow all of the rules, an auditor gets interested. If you’re asked to show the auditors evidence of what a login follows, there are two ways to do this: via the GUI or via a script. In many cases auditors will ask for a screenshot that looks something like:

Auditing SQL Login (GUI)

Note the areas I’ve highlighted. This is the information most auditors are looking for with respect to logins that are created within SQL Server (not domain accounts like domain users or groups). If you only have a small number of logins, then using the GUI is not very time consuming. If you have a lot of SQL logins or SQL Servers to audit, however, you want to script this. While an auditor may ask for a screenshot, what an auditor really wants is the information contained in the screenshot. Clicking through every login and taking a screenshot is a waste of time. Thankfully, there is a particular catalog view, sys.sql_logins, that contains all the information the auditor will want.

The catalog view sys.sql_logins contains all the same information as sys.server_principals plus other information that is applicable only to SQL Server-based logins. What’s more, it only contains the SQL Server-based logins. It doesn’t contain any information on Windows users and groups. Therefore, it’s the right catalog view to use to satisfy the auditors asking about logins and passwords. This query will return the information they need:

SELECT name, is_disabled,
is_policy_checked, is_expiration_checked
FROM sys.sql_logins;

You can still give them a screenshot, however instead of giving them a screenshot of each and every login, you should give them the screenshot of the query and the results of that query. In the following screenshot, I’ve flagged two logins that would be of interest to the auditors because these do not follow the password policy (is_policy_checked = 0).

SQL Login info by Query

If you have a lot of SQL Servers, you could simply automate this query with a PowerShell script that queries each server and dumps the results to a text file. In that way you save a lot of time providing the results needed, freeing you up for other tasks. Remember, auditors need the information, they don’t necessarily need a screenshot for each and every login.

If you want to get started with performance tuning and database security with the help of experts, read more over at Fix Your SQL Server.

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

SQL SERVER – Tools for Proactive DBAs – Central Management Server – Notes from the Field #009

[Note from Pinal]: This is a ninth episode of Notes from the Fields series. If you are DBA and Developer there is always a situation when you want to execute the same query on multiple servers. This can work out very well if you have a servers in single digit, however, there are cases when we have hundreds of the server and each require multiple queries to be executed. In this blog post John explains how we can achieve this goal with the help of CMS.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert John Sterrett (Group Principal at Linchpin People) explains a very common issue DBAs and Developer faces in their career – how you perform a performance related root cause analysis. Linchpin People are database coaches and wellness experts for a data driven world. Read the experience of John in his own words.


One of the mistakes I see repeated in the field is not leveraging included features inside of SQL Server. Today, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite tools to help DBA’s be proactive. This tool is Central Management Server “CMS.”  In a nutshell, the central management server allows you to run queries or policies against a group of servers. CMS is included in standard and enterprise edition and utilizes an msdb database to configure servers and groups of servers. CMS requires windows authentication and the windows users account connected to CMS is authenticated against all the instances in a group when you execute queries or policies.

In todays, example we will look at general database properties across many servers in a production group.

In order to take advantage of CMS you will need to enable a CMS server. Typically, I would use a non-production server for this task. To start click on view in the menu bar and select Registered Servers.

Once you have the Registered Servers window open you can right click on the Central Management Server to create your CMS.

In this example we are using a server named “PBMDEMO” as our central management server. Once the CMS is configured you can create folders to group servers. In this example we have a Development group and a Production group.

Now that you have imported your instances into your groups you can right click on a group and say new query. This will create a connection to each instance using your windows authenticated account.

Now you can type a query. In this example we are using “Select * from dbo.sysdatabases.”  You will see that it fired on each instance and returned the results into a single result set.


In a future tip from the field we will cover using Policy-Based Management with a Central Management Server.  In the meantime, you can watch a video showing you how to monitor missing backups or check out my several blog posts on Central Management Server.

Are your servers running at optimal speed or are you facing any SQL Server Performance Problems? If you want to get started with the help of experts read more over here: Fix Your SQL Server.

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