Database unavailability or outright failure is no joke. Not only do such incidents often cause massive internal stress (along with the inevitable blame game between IT staff), but they can also negatively impact business outcomes and lead to dissatisfied or lost clients.
The good news? You don’t have to wait for things to go sideways.
By being proactive you can ensure a better optimized, more efficient, scalable and highly available database that’s aligned with industry best practices – and that won’t conk out when you need it most.
But that’s easier said than done if you don’t have the right experience on staff — not to mention all the other competing priorities to make sure your core business is running smoothly. To make matters worse, Microsoft and other vendors now update their software at a breakneck pace; making it hard to keep up with new and deprecated best practices for every product version or edition in your data estate.
Here are seven important reasons why conducting regular SQL health checks can be a lifesaver:
To facilitate top performance from your SQL Server environment it’s crucial to follow industry-standard configuration best practices in areas including:
- Hardware and infrastructure such as storage, network and machine specs.
- Your virtual environment (if applicable) such as VMware or Hyper-V configurations.
- Operating system elements such as power options and user group policies.
- SQL Server Instance such as memory allocations and parallelism options.
- SQL Server database including database options and database files location.
2. Costs related to hardware specs or machine size
Purchasing hardware requires walking a fine line; it has to handle the size of your database and transaction loads, but you don’t want to go overboard and spend a needless amount of money for power and capacity you’ll never use.
If your environment is badly configured, however, you’ll likely need more powerful hardware and more performant storage than you otherwise would – kind of like paddling upriver. The same thing goes in the cloud, where you may end up paying too much for power you don’t need simply because your environment isn’t well configured.
A SQL Server health check ensures your environment is as optimized as possible so you don’t need all that extra power.
3. Data growth and capacity planning
Optimizing your existing SQL Server environment by following best practices means your existing setup can handle any curveball that’s thrown at it, from increased data volumes and loads, to new data types.
4. Increased transaction volumes by users or processes
Even if you don’t see significant data growth, your system may eventually run into much more intensive user or process activity. Optimizing your system for performance and availability means it’ll be able to handle any such increase without struggling (or outright failing).
5. High availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR)
You must also follow best practices to optimize for the highest possible availability and make sure your disaster recovery is up to the job. Imagine the nightmare scenario of your failover setup not properly failing to the DR site, or the DR site being unable to handle the load because it’s not configured properly. A health check guards against this.
6. Meeting service-level agreements (SLAs)
The ability to meet SLAs is usually related to both performance and your HA/DR setup. Optimizing your SQL configuration helps avoid or minimize downtime and performance incidents, keeping you on the right side of your SLAs.
7. Security and compliance
Even after a database audit it’s possible to miss or not realize some security configurations aren’t set up properly – especially if the auditors only sample a portion of your environment (not to mention any configurations made between audits). Application or database processes can also automatically change some security configurations, potentially leaving you vulnerable to an attack or data breach.
SQL Server’s default security settings, especially in older versions, need reconfiguring to be effective. A security best practices review can uncover any potential security gaps that exist.
If you’re feeling overdue for a complete health check and performance assessment of your SQL environment, it’s probably time to get proactive. Although there is online documentation addressing many SQL Server best practices, there’s fierce debate within the SQL community about which ones are important to follow, making it incredibly difficult for non-SQL experts to know which path to take.
That’s why Pythian’s Microsoft MVPs and SQL Server experts have developed a field-tested list of best practices by version, edition, and environment type (on-premises or cloud), based on Microsoft’s recommendations, community suggestions and testing, and our own real-world experience with thousands of customer environments. One of Pythian’s knowledgeable Microsoft MVPs will perform a comprehensive analysis of your entire SQL estate, highlighting performance and availability recommendations while pointing out areas of concern, to improve efficiency, reliability and scalability, whether your environment is on-prem or in the cloud.
There’s no better time than right now — we’re currently offering a limited-time deal of 60 percent off the regular price of a Pythian SQL Server Health Check. That means we’ll provide a full review of your entire environment along with a comprehensive report delivered within 10 business days, followed by a valuable debriefing session with a Microsoft MVP.