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SQL Server Advent Calendar 20 – Accidental DBA’s

Day 20 of my virtual advent calendar, about stuff I like in SQL Server 2008..

The accidental DBA is a DBA who ends up looking after SQL Server as part of a number of other duties e.g. Exchange admin, developer etc. This often occurs because SQL Server can survive pretty well despite long periods of neglect, but then suddenly something goes wrong and then someone gets nominated to look after it post fix. 

As databases grow in complexity and size they do eventually need some attention, and some tasks can be bit daunting if you not immersed in SQL Server every day.  There are excellent add on tools from the likes of Idera, Quest and Redgate to ease the management burden, but SQL Server 2008 itself has a few things to help with this:

  • Powershell (which I have posted about here) gives a common scripting language for the Microsoft platform.
  • Policy Based Management works a bit like group policy in active directory to put a range of SQL Server into a set state.  I have already made a short screencast of this…


  • Data Collection which I covered yesterday
  • Central Management Servers,  Are simply a special registered server which adds to the power of registered servers that we are used to using by allowing T_SQL or the Policies I just mentioned to be fired at multiple servers.  The central management server is also a good candidate for your data collection management data warehouse. I have screencast on this too, although when I did it the feature was called configuration servers..
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A lot of this stuff (Policy Management, Central Management Servers, Powershell) will work against SQL Server 2000/2005 so all you need to do get started is to have one instance of SQL Server 2008 as a base (for the Central Management Server) or just the client tools for the rest.