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Buck Woody

Carpe Datum!

The SQL Server Health Check

My friend Brent Ozar, who is a top-notch SQL Server Professional, mentioned on his blog (http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2007/04/sql-server-health-check/comment-page-1/#comment-17520) that he brought in Microsoft Support to do a “Health Check”. There were some questions about what this actually entails – so I thought I would post that description here.

A SQL Server Health Check from Microsoft is an offering provided through our support and consulting branches. If you’ve purchased a Premier support agreement, you can use the hours you pay for to have someone come out and check out your systems using two basic vectors: standard best practices, and the best practices for your environment. Let me explain that a little further.

Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) has an advanced set of tools and techniques to reach deep into your systems to evaluate them against a set of criteria that we establish for the best performance, safety and reliability for SQL Server. But your SQL Server Instances will be different than someone else’s, so the consultant will also spend some time in an interview with various teams to find out how you’re using the system. They’ll consult with experts in that area back at Redmond, and at the end of the engagement you get what I feel is the most valuable part of the exercise – the report. The report shows what was done, how it was done, what the findings are and what recommendations the consultant makes. It’s a thing of beauty.

You don’t have to have a Premier agreement to get a SQL Server Health Check, and companies other than Microsoft have versions of this as well. The prices vary, so if you want a Microsoft person then contact your local Microsoft office and ask for the Consulting Manager for your area. They will get you to the right person and you can work out the costs from there. If you take a hard look, most of the time the cost is well justified.

On a related note, I think it’s fantastic that Brent has the foresight to bring in “another pair of eyes” on his systems. Brent is actually in the program to gain a SQL Server “Master” certification – something only a few people in the world have. He works for a software development firm that creates fantastic products for – wait for it – SQL Server! He could evaluate his own systems, and of course he does. But he realizes that there’s always something more to learn, and someone out there may know one more little detail that he doesn’t. This is the mark of a very bright person.

Published Thursday, February 11, 2010 7:16 AM by BuckWoody

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Brent Ozar said:

Thanks for the compliments, sir!

The health checks have a couple of other benefits, too.  They help you convince your management that some of your recommendations really do hold water.  You know how it is - some managers or project managers just don't believe you when you give certain recommendations, and it helps to hear the news from an outsider too.

You can also take these findings and apply them to lots of other servers and projects.  Take the findings for one of your server, then approach your other servers and reuse the knowledge you gained.

February 11, 2010 10:19 AM
 

ihsan shanti said:

managers just don't believe you when you give certain recommendations, and it helps to hear the news from an outsider too.

February 12, 2010 6:23 AM
 

Carl Walden said:

I agreed with all the comments one point which always bugs me is that as professional person you give a recommendation to your manger or the company in question and they do not trust or believed in you what is the point in hanging around with such company by the way? I have been in the same situation more than 10 different times and I always walked away. Most will not believed and they will call Microsoft Consulting Services and 99.0% they will confirmed my findings and I thought to myself this company does not deserved me that is why I walked away. Couple of months later they want my services again and I refused I used to think there is something personal but I it came to me that I was dealing with bunch of stupid managers who does not know or understand the systems they were managing. I have dealt with Microsoft Consulting Services since 2004 I will give them 80% credit but not everything they do is right just remember and be aware of that.

February 15, 2010 7:43 AM

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