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Analogous to my previous question What does a DBA have to know about SSAS?, which generated a really wonderful answer (thank you, @ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells!), I now ask a similiar question:

What does a SQL Server DBA need to know about Windows Server in order to be able to manage it efficiently and understand what is going on behind the scenes and to which degree is it important to know the underlying OS in which SQL Server runs to in order to become a great DBA?

It can be individual features, books, from experience, you name it!

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Not strictly 'Windows Server' but a working knowledge of storage architecture and tuning might not go amiss either. – ConcernedOfTunbridgeWells Mar 8 '12 at 16:42
up vote 12 down vote accepted

You definitely need to know your way around...

  • Performance Monitor
  • Disk Management (mount points, 64k clusters, RAID levels etc)
  • Group Policy + Active Directory + Security
  • Shares + NTFS permissions
  • Cluster Service + resource groups
  • Powershell
  • Physical/Logical sockets/cores + affinity
  • NUMA architecture

Without these (and others) you're ineffective outside of raw SQL Server work (eg setting up logins). As soon as you want backups, one or more of the above starts to apply...

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+1 great answer. Would you also think it prudent for DBAs to have knowledge of port security (not sure if you meant general security or just user security)? There are a few issues and arguably security vulnerabilities with ignorance to ports. I may be off, just a thought. – Thomas Stringer Mar 9 '12 at 4:11

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