SQL SERVER – Exploring 3 Underutilized Features

SQL SERVER - Exploring 3 Underutilized Features underutilized-800x800 SQL Server is a robust database management system with many features. While some of these features are widely adopted, others are less frequently utilized despite their potential benefits. This blog post will explore three underused features that can significantly enhance your SQL Server experience. Let us discuss 3 Underutilized Features.

1. Policy-Based Management

Policy-Based Management (PBM) is a system for managing one or more instances of SQL Server. With PBM, you can create policies about the state of your SQL Server instances, such as the settings and objects they should have, and apply these policies across all instances.

For example, you can use PBM to ensure that all stored procedures follow a particular naming convention or that all tables have a primary key.

Despite its usefulness, PBM is often underutilized. One reason could be the initial investment required to set up the policies. However, once set up, PBM can save administrators a lot of time by automating checks and enforcing consistency across the server instances.

2. SQL Server Audit

SQL Server Audit is a feature that helps you track and log events on your SQL Server instances. This can be extremely useful for understanding who is doing what in your databases and when they are doing it.

SQL Server Audit can track various events, such as modifications to a table’s data or structure or login and logout events. The results are stored in a log file that can be reviewed anytime.

Despite its usefulness, SQL Server Audit is often underused, perhaps because setting it up can seem daunting. However, once you understand the basics, it’s a powerful tool for maintaining database security and accountability.

3. Data Compression

SQL Server allows the ability to compress data at the row or page levels, which can result in significant space savings and potentially improved performance. However, it’s a feature that’s often overlooked.

Row compression saves space by storing fixed-length data types (like integers and characters) as variable-length data. Page compression uses row and prefix, and dictionary compression to reduce the size further.

One reason for its underuse might be the concern about CPU overhead. While compression does require extra CPU resources, the impact is often less than expected, and the benefits, such as reduced disk I/O and potentially faster queries, often outweigh the costs.


While there are certainly reasons why these features may not be used in every situation, they are worth considering as part of your SQL Server toolkit. These underutilized features offer unique advantages and can help streamline your database management and improve performance.

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

Compression, Policy Management, SQL Audit
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  • I love the PBM feature, but it is a feature that seems to be unfinished. You have the ability to automate built-in checks, but not custom checks for security reasons. The ability to mark a custom check as trusted, such as signing it, is the missing piece. Not having this ability cripples the potential this feature has.


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