- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 7323 KB
- Print Length: 278 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1906434344
- Publisher: Red Gate Books; 1 edition (18 Jan. 2010)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003Y3BR3O
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,275,861 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plans Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
The book starts with a very important discussion on why DB maintenance is important before explaining the two different approaches described in the book - those being the Maintenance Plan Wizard (MPW) and the Maintenance Plan Designer (MPD)
Chapter 3 starts with an introductory (simple) example of the use of the MPW which results in a very usable maintenance plan. This is followed by 12 chapters that give details of the various components that can be configured using the (MPW). Very few stones are left unturned related to the available options.
Chapter 16 then introduces the MPD. The MPD is graphical tool that enables maintenance plans to be created in a dynamic fashion. The final few chapters then cover the detail on the MPD including amending exists plans created by using the MPW.
This book is a very welcome aid to help the amateur become a more fully rounded professional. The explanations are clear the reading style is very easy. The clear guidelines on the pros and cons of each tool on top of the recommendations on things to avoid will save much time both in one's learning curve and on the eventually performance and effectiveness of created maintenance plans.
I've never used the wizard myself - the SSIS-style drag and drop interface in the plan designer is so easy to use that I don't see the need. Brad also recommends using T-SQL or Powershell scripts for more complex maintenance. In fact he recommends this on average once per chapter, so it tends to get a little tedious.
To my mind, this leaves a lot of middle ground where the simplicity of the graphic maintenance plan designer does the job neatly and effectively. Want to take a backup? Just pick the backup task, spend a few moments telling it what to backup and where to, and then schedule it to run at a convenient time. Job done! Why write the code when the plan can do it for you?
Here's why - you can rebuild indexes, or reorganise indexes - but best practice is probably to read the fragmentation level of each one and then decide whether to rebuild, reorganise or leave alone. Especially on large databases, especially if you have a narrow maintenance window, you don't want to do an unnecessary rebuild. For this your best bet is a custom script.
But for most stuff the maintenance plan is fine. Brad reminds me of all the things I should be doing - like the history clean up task. Have I scheduled this? Probably not everywhere - note to self - go and check. And he explains very well the point of multiple sub-plans which I hadn't grasped before
It explains very clearly what a maintenance plan is designed to do, what it can and can't do and in some cases why you don't want it to do some things. Once the intent of each feature is established Brad then walks you through configuring the task options to your requirements and how it can be linked to or affects other tasks you need carried out on your databases. A clear format of what the task does, why you want it done (or not) and how to make it happen is followed in each chapter. Pitfalls and limitations of the various tasks are explained clearly and where there are options to avoid or work around these they are explained so that they can be implemented. The tasks are described with enough background information that someone unsure about SQL Server will clearly understand what the task is attempting to achieve and will then be able to decide whether that is something they want to apply to their systems.
While the majority of the book refers to the process followed by the Maintenance Plan Wizard Brad also explains how to make your own custom Maintenance Plan or alter existing plans with the Maintenance Plan Designer. Implementing schedules and operator notifications into your plan is explained so that a user can keep up to date with the status of any executions without having to read through the detailed reports along with using logic to control flow from one step to another within a plan and adding multiple copies of tasks in order to get the exact results needed.
If you have any databases in your remit and you are wondering how to look after them, or want a guide on how to make your existing maintenance plans more effective, then this book will be a valuable asset to you.
It could be as simple as reading this book for a couple of hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then over a similar time on Thursday and Friday you could have your SQL databases fully covered by a set of maintenance plans to ensure your data is well maintained and backed up.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
To give my SQL Server background - I have around 10 years development experience on the platform and am a Microsoft Certified IT Professional in SQL Server 2008 Development. However, my administration experience is limited, and I am what Brad would call an "accidental" DBA, i.e. I manage the servers alongside my other daily work.
My company has recently been upgrading its network, and this has involved the addition of more SQL Servers. As we're now starting to see lots of capacity coming through these servers, I decided it was high time I started maintaining the servers properly, and this book seemed like a good place to start.
Maintenance plans are essentially the "easy" way to manage SQL Servers. The book concentrates on the two methods used to create maintenance plans - the wizard and the designer.
The first half of the book is dedicated to the maintenance plan wizard. This is a useful tool that can create plans that run scheduled maintenance tasks. It does have some limitations, and Brad points these out throughout the book. Each task the wizard can perform is well explained and there's lots of helpful screenshots to walk the reader through the process. Crucially, Brad also highlights which tasks should not be performed using the wizard, which is great for those less experienced. The book continually states that if more control needs to be exerted over a particular task, PowerShell or custom T-SQL scripts should be used.
The second part of the book moves on to the more powerful maintenance plan designer, which allows DBAs to exert more influence over their maintenance plans. Again, the various parts of the process are well explained, and Brad clearly shows why the designer is often a better choice than the wizard (improved control over scheduling and support for different database backup types are just two examples).
This is a great book for inexperienced DBAs and DBAs who are not really DBAs but have "acquired" the job as an addendum to their daily work. More experienced DBAs will probably find its handholding approach and the lack of technical depth annoying, but then it isn't aimed at them. It will help experienced DBAs is in the training arena. For anybody running classes on SQL Server maintenance, this is an ideal starter text as it clearly and reasonably concisely shows the principal maintenance tasks DBAs should be performing.
In short, this is a well written and information book, and will help beginners just starting to learn about SQL Server maintenance. Well done Brad.
A rule of thumb: LESS IS MORE.
If most IT professionals are like me, when I need answers, I don't want to be spending realms of my precious time shifting through endless pages of "page stuffing" to get the information I really need and want. Goodness knows that our project timelines are already too short and expectations are already off the chart.
So that being said, here is what I look for when I start to read a book on technology (How-Tos and Reference books alike), what is it about, what are the facts. This is what I like about "Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plan", he is giving me the facts and not the fluff.
For a guy like me who doesn't do a lot of administration, Brad gave me some great advice on how to maintain my databases with little effort. I think this is a must have book for developers who also do maintenance on database servers. I can't speak for DBAs because one I'm not. I didn't even know of some of the topics Brad's wrote about existed like the Maintenance Plans and the Maintenance Designer. He also showed me through his simple and clear examples how to use and write PowerShell scripts. I, like a lot of people in IT, have heard of PowerShell but haven't used it before.
Great job Brad
That being said, if you are a full-time experienced DBA, I think you should pass on this book. Unless you mentor junior DBA's and you want them to read this book as a starting point.
If you're a junior DBA or just-starting out DBA, I think this book has a lot to offer.
If you're a developer tasked with DBA-like duties, or a developer that wants to learn more about DBA duties, this book is REQUIRED reading.
My knowledge of the main topics covered, such as the Maintenance Plan Wizard and Maintenance Plan Designer, was cursory and basic at best. Just knowledge that I had picked up from watching DBA's through the years or from skimming a Microsoft manual/help file.
Brad does a very good job of explaining these topics in clear, down-to-earth language, without getting all elitist and being a techno-snob. I also like that Brad assumes very little when explaining the topics, the instructions are clear cut and many picture diagrams (i.e. screenshots) accompany the text.
Where Brad's book really excels is he explains the "why" and even "why not" of doing a task. I find this to be the most important factor in the book, as too often manuals and books just detail instructions, not the reasoning and theory behind performing a task. A great example of this is Brad's insistence of not using SHRINK DATABASE, he goes as far as actually stating he refuses to show us how to use it, because he believes so strongly against it's misuse.
Now, why 4 stars and not 5. Honestly, I'd give it 4.5 stars, but Amazon doesn't allow that distinction. I think the book could have benefited from more samples and a little bit more coverage on some of the advanced topics (and perhaps a little less on coverage like database mail setup, which is fairly straight-forward, even for non-DBA's).
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