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I'm researching and implementing log shipping as part of disaster recovery for our SQL server. I've seen that a monitor server is recommended (but not required) for monitoring the log shipping process. What is the advantage of having that monitor server? Is it the only way to view the history of the log shipping process? Is it useful to have in case one of the servers goes down so you can get some data on what happened?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can monitor the process on the primary and secondaries, here's where a monitor comes in really useful though...

Let's say your log backups and copies are running just fine, no problems, but one of your secondaries goes down. You aren't monitoring the secondary and so are not aware of this. Your log shipping restore alerts are based off of the secondary server, so you are none the wiser (server being down then you are not getting restore alerts that things are out of date).

You notice a couple of days later, but by then it's too late and you have to restart log shipping from scratch.

Having a monitor server just helps to keep an eye on things and gives you a warning point not related to the servers involved in log shipping (think of it kind of like the witness server in mirroring, but without the automatic failover)

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Wouldn't I be able to detect that with a scheduled script that would query the appropriate stored procedure on both the primary and secondary servers -- checking one or more of the following: log_shipping_monitor_error_detail, log_shipping_monitor_history_detail, log_shipping_monitor_primary, log_shipping_monitor_secondary. Of course, that checking would be done via a third server. I'm not trying to go as minimal as possible, just making sure I'm not missing anything that the monitoring server would take care of for me. –  Curtis Jan 18 '13 at 15:24
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You can absolutely do that. Realistically that's all the monitoring server does anyway. It doesn't provide you anything more than that. You can also use any existing server as the monitoring box, just so long as it is able to access both the primary and secondary(s) –  Nic Jan 18 '13 at 16:39
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