Why Comprehensive Health Checks for MS SQL Servers Matter: Part 1

Posted in: Microsoft SQL Server, Technical Track
sql healthcheck

How you access and retrieve data is crucial to your database’s performance and resilience: the more transactional or analytical the data processing requirements for applications, the greater the likelihood of introducing inefficiencies. As these inefficiencies increase, you may need to update the underlying infrastructure, which requires more processor cores, maintenance and, ultimately, licensing costs. This first post discusses why regular health checks are a crucial part of any high-performance system.

 

In some organizations, a developer might be responsible for writing SQL statements with or without peer review by another developer or database administrator (DBA). If they don’t know how to structure the queries to pull data from a single or multiple tables, the database won’t perform well. Meanwhile, some employers lack these resources and tools because budget constraints prevent them from hiring skilled database architects or DBAs to proactively manage and monitor the data performance problems that occur in today’s complex environments.

IT experts can generally improve a database’s performance without adding much or any new hardware. But fine-tuning a database for optimal performance is a different ballgame. Let’s say you want to migrate part of your on-premises database to a multi-cloud environment. It sounds simple at the onset, but the project would require an expert with hybrid cloud architecture skills to manage and optimize your new hybrid deployment without interrupting daily business operations. Most organizations find it difficult to hire and train DBAs and manage complex database systems in a hybrid environment in parallel.

With only limited or no expert database management skills at your disposal, you’d eventually find yourself reducing the performance of your business’s critical applications to dedicate your energy to solving issues—issues that could’ve been avoided with an on-site DBA (or a remote DBA from a managed services provider) with expertise in analyzing database problems, interpreting the findings and optimizing your environments.

Not all services are created equal

Most IT service providers conduct basic health checks with free tools that will assess basic elements of your database, such as your CPU, memory, I/O, disk space and SQL Server metrics. They might also assess values, properties instances and database configurations on your SQL Server instances and hosting operating system. But generating a list of symptoms about performance problems is really just the starting point.

Most of these free tools or scripts focus on application-level issues and don’t address the root causes of the performance issues. Nor do they support critical advanced areas such as backup for disaster recovery strategy and complex functions in a hybrid estate environment. With a superficial understanding of the status of your database, you’re stuck investigating and solving a problem without the help of a skilled, on-site DBA. That’s an easy recipe for wasted time and frustration. For example, poor performance of business-critical applications that are connected to your databases (e.g., e-commerce platforms and payment processing applications) would quickly impact your revenue.

The Pythian difference

At Pythian, we like to simplify things for our customers, so we create simple solutions. SQL Health Check includes a set of in-house tools we’ve designed that offer organizations a 360° view of their entire SQL Server environment. With 88 tools at their disposal, a Microsoft MVP performs a comprehensive audit and evaluates all aspects of an organization’s database server, culminating in four distinct, custom reports—performance, security, backup and recovery. With a deep-dive analysis of their infrastructure’s performance and availability, organizations can quickly uncover opportunities to reduce inefficiencies, improve the performance of their databases and boost their bottom line.

It doesn’t end at the analysis: We also offer a 60-minute knowledge transfer session where the Microsoft MVP helps explain the analysis, interpret the recommendations and answer all customer questions.

If you’ve held off on evaluating your database server’s performance or have questions about its resilience, why not entrust it to a Service Provider with more than 20 years of experience supporting SQL Server environments? 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where we’ll examine specific technical scenarios and their solutions. Sign up for updates so you don’t miss it.

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