Microsoft System Center Tools for SQL Server DBAs – Intro

This post is an introduction to the beginning of a new 4-part series that I am going to start this week. What I am going to do is to introduce my primary audience, SQL Server DBAs, to 4 of my favorite offerings in the Microsoft System Center Suite that are specific to helping maintain a healthy & scalable SQL Server environment. There are certainly a lot of tools included with SQL Server, especially the 2008 R2 enterprise edition, that make management, monitoring and maintenance of your SQL Server environment easier, but up to a limited point. I am going to consolidate my past postings here on MSSQLDUDE shortly after this series to help you evaluate your options between in-the-box capabilities in SQL Server management, monitoring and maintenance and the System Center options to extend those capabilities.

When you evaluate these options, it is important to also think about some of the other non-Microsoft 3rd party options, too. But one of the advantages that I like to point out with a suite like System Center is that your investment in data center tools like System Center go beyond just the database-specific offerings that I am going to mention here. Not only is there more in the box with System Center than I can cover here, but it can also extend to provide similar benefits to managing the entirety of your data center environment including other database types like Oracle databases, and other infrastructure systems like Exchange, operating systems, etc.

The 4 areas that I will focus on in parts 1 – 4 will be:

Part 1: Monitor SQL Server with System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and the SQL Server Management Pack

Part 2: Manage SQL Server virtualization and “private cloud” or “data center optimization” with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (VMM)

Part 3: Backup protection and automation with System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM)

Part 4: Manage server configuration with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)


Backup, Index & Integrity database utility

Codeplex is now hosting a popular set of utilities for SQL Server 2005, 2008 & 2008 R2 written and maintenance by Ola Hallengren.

There are many SQL Server DBAs that use Ola’s utilities and SQL Server Magazine has written about his work. He describes these utilities this way:

I have developed a solution for backup, integrity check and index optimization in Microsoft SQL Server 2005, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. The solution is based on stored procedures, functions, sqlcmd and SQL Server Agent jobs.

If you would like to check it out, you can download these utilities here from Codeplex. Also click on the link to his site in this posting above to see how he compares his methods to SQL Server maintenance plans.