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I am looking to better my knowledge without actually being in the field, I was wondering what initial steps you take when you are assuming the responsibility of a server with SQL-Server installed on it. There are a few basics like hardware inventory, and permissions, backups. But what else do you do? I did find some decent infromation on a few forums such as...

1. Backups

  • Ensure all db's are being backed up(system plus user dbs)
  • Ensure transaction logs backups are implemented where needed (check DB Recovery Models)
  • Check whether backups are native backups or 3rd party(ex. Red-Gate SQLBackups or Quest LiteSpeed)
  • Ensure to test the db backups on a test server using restores

2. SQL Jobs / Replication / Reporting Services / Analysis Services / Integration Services

  • Check on all and ensure functional

3. Logs

  • Check SQL Server Error Logs, Windows Logs for issues

4. Security

  • Server-Level Security, Services Security, Logins/Users Security, Audit Security, File System Security

5. Baseline the System

  • Use tools like Performance Monitor, SQL Profiler, Active SPID Performance

6. Implement a Monitoring, Alerting & Performance Tool

  • www.sqlserverops.com, Microsoft Systems Center, www.idera.com, Quest, Red-Gate

7. Implement a Change Control System for all Production Changes

  • all changes go through a process(request ticket, change ticket, approvals, deployments)
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I would

  1. Get together a simple spreadsheet of your estate, find out exactly what you are responsible for. You are almost putting together a small CMDB for SQL really, you want to know the application names, service owner names etc. This will be invaluable later.
  2. Find out if you have any company build standards on SQL, someone may have left behind a Handbook for you listing things like, domain names, accounts for dbas, patching schedules, mechanisms, CMS details, MDW details, details of password databases etc.
  3. Go round the systems, check you have suitable passwords and make sure you can get in ok. Update you spreadsheet with some key info such as what components are installed, what backup strategy is being used, comare the setup to any company build standards you have.
  4. Try and put in some basic monitoring solution if you can, if you are on your own looking after quite a few servers this again will be invaluable.

I know the above is all the boring stuff and its just the start of what I would do, but sometimes you cant look after something or move forward until you have spent some time seeing what's there.

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That is a great list. I would also use Brent Ozar Unlimited sp_Blitz, http://www.brentozar.com/first-aid/sql-server-downloads/. It will give you great overview of what might not be setup quite right.

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