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Allen White

Tools for the Reluctant DBA

We all know them, they're usually developers or network admins who show some abilities when database problems arise, so they're "elected" to the role of DBA, whether they want it or not. They often don't have the necessary training or insight into the issues inherent to managing enterprise database systems, but they've got the job.

What tools do they need? Of course, we all know that backup is critical, as is the ability to restore those backups. What else?

In my presentation at Tech Ed 2008 on Automating DBA Tasks with PowerShell I offered a set of scripts to do the basic administrative tasks.

What do you think? What tools does the Reluctant DBA need?


Published Monday, July 7, 2008 11:00 AM by AllenMWhite



aspiringgeek said:

With one exception, my tools are all out-of-the-box.  I'm unsure how suitable they are for reluctant DBAs, but since you asked here are my staples

Windows PerfMon

SQL Trace



 Expensive Queries:

   sys.dm_exec_query_stats as qstat

   CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_query_plan(qs.plan_handle) as qplan

   CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(qs.sql_handle) as qtext

 Wait Stats:


 Virtual File Stats:


 Plan Cache:

   sys.dm_exec_cached_plans as c

       CROSS APPLY sys.dm_exec_sql_text(plan_handle)

 Real-Time Blocking:

   sys.dm_tran_locks as locks

     JOIN sys.dm_os_waiting_tasks as waiters

July 9, 2008 9:57 AM

ALZDBA said:

in addition to the scripts posted above ....

- IMO the once in a while DBA needs SSMS including PerformanceDashboard !

- tons of ice to keep the head cool at incident time.

- a shortcut to a good sqlserver related forum.

- the guts to ask for more SQL-training. (Is this a pingback nowadays  ? ;) )

- A boss that is aware of the gamble he is taking and is willing to take the blames for this. (and not just rounding up the issue by firing his firefighter)

- and off course - I wouldn't be me if I didn't refer to it - a good fridge, to keep his beer at the desired temperature till the crisis is over :))

July 15, 2008 2:16 AM

IowaTechBear said:

SSMS is a given.  A hit about Googling any error messages and a few links, as a start.  I would also throw in a copy of SQL Server 2008 (or other version) Internals by Kalen Delaney for when they are ready to start understanding WHY they should be following the advice from the established people here and on SQLSkills.

I find this interesting since I am working on a presentation on something similar.  I started out in SQL Server as a "DBA by Default" and I would welcome to hear from others who were put into the same position and the types of things they came across and the hard lessons that they also learned.

May 14, 2012 4:56 PM
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About AllenMWhite

Allen White is a consultant and mentor for Upsearch Technology Services in Northeast Ohio. He has worked as a Database Administrator, Architect and Developer for over 30 years, supporting both the Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server platforms over that period.

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