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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Operations Management Tools

Of the many tasks performed by DBAs, the task of operations management is really the oversight of the SQL Server infrastructure. It is divided into client connection configuration and overseeing and managing batch processes or jobs that run via the SQL Server Agent. Included in this is the management of replication and SQL Server Integration Services, as well as Reporting Services and Notification Services. Each of these technologies can be started and stopped from SQL Server Management Studio. From a pure management perspective, Microsoft has managed to integrate the current feature set more uniformly and consistently than in previous versions. In SQL Server 2005, the DBA can choose how operational tasks will be accomplished.

SQL Computer Manager

SQL Computer Manager allows administrators to configure basic service and network protocol options. SQL Computer Manager combines the functionality of the following SQL Server 2000 tools: Server Network Utility, Client Network Utility, and Service Manager. SQL Computer Manager is an MMC snap-in, similar to Enterprise Manager in previous versions. SQL Computer Manager also includes the ability to set service properties for the following services:

  • SQL Server
  • SQL Server Agent
  • Analysis Server
  • Microsoft Search
  • Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC)
  • Reporting Services

SQL Computer Manager displays all services, server network protocols, and client network protocols. It allows administrators to start, stop, pause, resume, or restart a service. It also lets you view properties for a selected service, including

  • Name
  • Description
  • Status (started, stopped, or paused)
  • Startup type (manually, automatic, or disabled)
  • Log On As (the service account that the service runs under)
  • Last Start Date (the service’s last known start date)
  • Last Stop Date (the service’s last known stop date)
  • Process Identifier (PID)

SQL Server Agent

SQL Server Agent automates recurring jobs performed on a server. The current version has dealt with the majority of issues that SQL Agent had in SQL Server 2000. SQL Server Agent operates as a Windows Service and can be started and stopped from SQL Computer Manager. SQL Server Agent can used to monitor servers, run jobs such as backups, and monitor server conditions via alerts. One thing customers have asked for—and that is true of SQL Server 2005—is that SQL Server Agent be included in failover clustering.

One of SQL Server Agent’s newest capabilities is that it can perform jobs for other SQL Server subsystems. For example, SQL Server Integration Services and Analysis Services jobs can now be automated. The combination of the new nonmodal dialog boxes and SQL Server Agent should pave the way for greater levels of automated server work. From a security viewpoint, SQL Server Agent runs under the least privileges possible to execute a job. Moreover, SQL Server Agent jobs can take advantage of the "Run As" functionality, meaning that SQL Server Agent jobs no longer need to run as database owner (DBO), which has all the power over SQL Server.

One issue that was prevalent in SQL Server 2000 was SQL Server Agent jobs hanging the server. SQL Server 2005 provides new objects and counters for SQL Server Agent that System Monitor can use to track SQL Server Agent activity, including enabled jobs, enabled alerts, enabled schedules, active jobs, active alerts, and percentage of job success. The counters also let you configure alerts that are triggered by SQL Server Agent performance counter conditions.

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