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The Default DBA

December 4, 2012

When we setup SQL Server, there are a few choices we need to make, some of which require a few items be prepared in advance. Service accounts are one of those preparation tasks that DBAs usually perform in advance of installing an instance. There are a few things, however, that aren’t configured when SQL Server is installed, like alerts and operators. I find that often these items can be missed by inexperienced DBAs, who forget to configure standard alerts. They might also not have a mail account ready, which is required for the instance to send mail.

Perhaps there’s a better way for SQL Server to request this information when it is installed. If one part of the setup program asked for default mail information, it would be easy to pre-configure the instance to setup alerts and enable them for communication with a DBA. Personally I’d prefer that setup get a mail profile and a default DBA group email address that receives information about the operation of the instance that the DBA should be aware of.

There can be a hesitation from experienced DBAs that don’t want setup to install mail for them, but it would be easy to make this an optional component, with a checkbox like the one for a blank sa password. You actively choose to install the server differently if necessary, but otherwise setup would push DBAs to ensure that notifications are configured. We could even see a pre-selected list of alerts that will be enabled, with the option to disable all or just selected items.

I don’t know that Microsoft will build these types of defaults into SQL Server, but I wish they would. We’ve done that with SQL Monitor at Red Gate, and we have seen the advantages that come when you provide good practices and knowledge to less experienced DBAs: they gain some knowledge transfer and have software running at a high level from the very beginning.

Steve Jones


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