December Monthly SQL Server Checklist

4439276478_8bb7a50ab8_m It’s the first Monday of the December, and it’s time to do a monthly checkup.  As previously mentioned, the premise of this post is to help DBAs maintain their environments by getting together a monthly checklist and running through it every month.

Now, if you were paying attention last month, you would have noticed that there wasn’t a November checklist.  We all get busy from time to time, and for me that was last month.  There’s no reason to forget to checkup on your servers.  But it can happen from time to time.

When you miss a check up, there are two things that you are going to want to make sure that you do.  First, make certain that you don’t miss doing you checkup the next time it comes up.  Don’t let a bump in the road be the end of the road.  Next, own the mistake, and don’t try to hide it.  I missed last month’s post and it’s become a topic of discussion here.  If you miss a checkup on your servers, let your manager know, and figure out what caused this to happen.  Maybe there’s too much on your plate and it’s time for new tools, a new hire, or some outside assistance.

There are a number of changes to this month’s checklist.  First, there have are a few cumulative updates to check out depending on your environment.  Second, SQL Server 2012 RC0 has been released and it’s time to get that downloaded to see if it can help streamline your environment and improve your daily life.

Monthly Checklist

  1. Backup Validation: Check everything involved in the backup process.  Are your backups executing as desired?  Are the monitoring jobs properly alerting to failures?  Have their been any unexpected failures?  Have backup duration times changed?
  2. Recovery Validation: Is everything for your recovery collected and being backed up?  Have you practiced restoring at least one of your SQL Server databases from production in the last month?
  3. SQL Server Updates: Is your SQL Server environment up-to-date?  Check each of your instances and review the most recent releases of SQL Server.  Make a plan to determine when the most recent updates will be applied.  Also, be aware the support for SQL Server releases does end at some point.
  4. Server Health: Check the performance statistics for your server(s).  Were there any unexpected items in your event log?
  5. Database Health:Check the performance statistics for your database(s). Were there any unexpected items in your SQL Server logs?
    1. Check wait stats.
    2. Analyze your indexes (via IndexAnalysis)
  6. Check Baselines: Are there any variances on the performance counters off of the baseline?  Is the baseline still valid?
  7. Validate Capacity Plan: If you have a capacity plan in place for your environment, check to see that what you had planned for June matches the actuals.  Any threshold violations that may require adding capacity?
  8. Status Report: What do you need to get done before next month?  What did you get done this month?  After the other tasks, write this all down and send it to your manager.

Something Missing?

Is there something missing in this list that you think should be included?  Leave a comment and I’ll add it in for next month.  I’ll follow-up next month on the first Monday of the month and we’ll see how everyone that reads this is doing.