Free DBA Tools for SQL Server Professionals – Notes from the Field #133

[Note from Pinal]: This is a 133rd episode of Notes from the Field series. I know Mike for many years and Mike has always inspired me with his positive energy. I have always enjoyed spending time with him as I have always learned something new but along with it, I have also improved as a human. It is very critical that we often meet someone who is not only technically brilliant but gives us a different viewpoint of life. I really respect Mike and enjoy love talking to him.

In this episode of the Notes from the Field series database expert Mike Walsh talks about one of the very interesting topics about free DBA tools for SQL Server professionals. Who does not like free stuff, we all like it, but free does not mean it is good, actually it gets more difficult to sometimes accept that free tools as we are not sure about the quality of the product. In this blog post Mike talks about amazing story which is related to Free DBA tools.

Every month, a different SQL Server blogger hosts a blog round-up called “T-SQL Tuesday”. You should search for it and see the great content that comes out in them. This past month SQL Server blogger Chris Yates asked the SQL Server bloggers to share a Present for the SQL Server user community. Or for themselves or for their colleagues. It was his birthday and he must have had presented on the mind. Over on my own blog, I contributed with a list of features that I wish SQL Server would change to make life easier (and safer!) for the accidental DBAs installing SQL Server.  I thought I’d extend the T-SQL Tuesday concept, and think about presents for others… That got me thinking about a blog series I started over on my own blog. Each week, in this series, I’m highlighting a different free tool for SQL Server professionals. Which got me thinking about a topic here. So, as I usually say, here goes in three parts…

First A Reminder Free Tools Are Out There!

This is a simple reminder. But when I think back to when I was a new DBA, it’s one I often ignored. Also, there just weren’t as many free tools out 15 or 17 years ago. If you are studying SQL Server. Any aspect of SQL – be it database administration, reporting, analytics, cloud strategies, etc. There are people out there committed to making tools to make your life easier. The site you are reading this very post on is a site with a leader who is committed to giving free knowledge and tools to the world (Thanks, Pinal!). “Internet Famous” folks like Brent Ozar and Thomas LaRock have created free scripts and tools. PowerShell experts. The creators of the PAL tool. So many options out there.

The point here is – before you roll your own tool. Before you start from scratch and have to start maintaining for the various versions, go to your SQL Server community and see what exists. Now I think the process of creating your own scripts is invaluable. I believe cracking open the internals and understanding the DMVs teaches more than, say, firing up Adam Machanic’s very powerful and still relevant sp_whoisactive script. Or Brent’s blitz family of scripts he’s recently put on github. These tools, however, are great for many reasons. They get the job done. They open a world of learning as you study the output. They open a world of learning as you study how they are created.

Get out there. Look at sites like SQL Server Central, Pinal’s blog, Linchpin People’s blog, my blog series on free DBA tools I mentioned above. Spend some time on the #SQLHelp hashtag on twitter. Watch SQL Server bloggers and look for free tools. You’ll be impressed and your life will be easier because of them, I promise.

I’ll give you a taste of the first tool in the series I blogged about. It’s a powerful tool. I just recently discovered it. It’s truly free. It’s already made my life easier and made me happy. It’s already made some clients happy.

DBATools PowerShell Module

So I won’t copy and paste all I said on my post. You can see all the gory details about the tool and why I love it on the first in the series here, DBATools PowerShell Module, Free DBA Tool of the Week.

Here I’ll say the important things, though. The things that make me really feel comfortable in saying “Go. Check out free tools today and play with them. Learn from them. Use Them.” (Of course I’ll give my standard warning: read the licenses/EULAs, understand the scripts, try in dev first, always have an cautious approach to scripts from the internet!!).

So the important things about this tool:

  • You can download it here on the site the creators of the tool stood up: DBATools.IO
  • It is an amazing collection of PowerShell commands. To do things like sync logins between servers (Hello AlwaysOn Availability Group login synchronization!), sync Agent jobs between servers, perform SQL Server n to n migrations – even from 2000 to 2016!!! It’s amazing. And every DBA needs to have it in their environment.
  • The DBATools site has many videos and tutorials.
  • It’s so easy, even I can use it ;-)

Go check out the scripts. Read my posts about these. Hunt for more free tools. Be sure to say thanks to the creators of the tools. Be sure to say thanks to the bloggers like Pinal, who give up so much of their time to do things for our SQL Server community!

Reference: Pinal Dave (

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