T-SQL Tuesday #135 – The Tools That Make My Job Awesome!

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Recent blog posts have been few and far between from SQL Undercover, but what better to bring us back into the swing again than T-SQL Tuesday. Invitation from this month comes Mickey bronvski

There are a lot of tools that I use day in and day out to make my life as a DBA easier so all I have decided to do is a quick run through my top 5 free tools for my work. Make it terrible.

So not in any particular order….

Backup is easily the most important part of any DBA’s job so it is necessary to have a reliable way of managing them. There are various tools and scripts out there, but it is easy for me to have Minion Backup from Minionware atop the tree.

Controlled by multiple configuration tables, it creates scheduling backups and configures them easily to a truly granular level. If you’re like me and you’ve got a large number of databases on the server, each of which needs to run on different days, then go to different locations and run with different settings, minions Only about the tool that I have found how to control things without the need for 101 different agent jobs. All your backups are handled by the same agent job and that’s what I really love about it.

Brent Ozar’s first reaction kit

“Hey, SQL Server is running slowly, can you see it?” How many times have we heard?

When I listen the first thing I want to do is to take a look at any monitoring device that is watching the server. This is fine, but most monitoring equipment costs money so not all servers are covered.

The next thing I am going to do is if I do not get any monitoring, then through various system tables and DMVs, the attack is how the servers are behaving. Even if I get all my scripts in hand, it may take some time.

This is where I would turn to the First Responder Kit. At first, it is filled with very large proxies that will tell me all sorts of SQL Server that I am looking at. But the thing I like so much is that I can run it as part of an agent’s job and enter things like wait statistics, performance counters, and disk performance into a table. It is now doubling as a monitoring tool. I’ll be honest, it captures so much great information that it’s often my first port of call on some of the commercial monitoring solutions.

SQL Undercover Inspector

Apologies for including one of our own devices here, though it’s not the only one I’m going to include.

There was a time when I would open my inbox in the morning and I would encounter emails from hundreds of servers telling me various things about myself.

Thankfully those days are gone, the inspector periodically did a health check against my server and is able to combine them all into a single report. This means that I now only know a handful of emails to see if something is going on that I need to worry about.

SQL Undercover List

The Undercover Catalog is one of our tools to make our top 5.

Going out of my server every night and making inquiries, means I’ve found a single place that I can go to to find things like server settings where the database is, security information, and a ton of other things. To find out that past I have had to roam around my various servers. The other thing I like is that it keeps an audit for any changes that it sees. So if someone applies a trace flag or changes the user’s permission, I can easily see when the change occurred and what it was before the change.


And the last among my top 5 tools is PowerBI.

I do not use this to create business reports, I am a DBA no BI production. I use it for this, imagining data from tools like the one above. All those tools are SQL based tools, if I query blitz for waiting figures, I’m going to get a wall of numbers. It is not easy to understand. So instead, I will bring the results to PowerBI and use it to create beautiful graphs that are very easy to read.

All DMVs in SQL and various troubleshooting scripts you can run are going to return data in a format that is not easy to analyze. Having a suite of reports that I can run, pull in performance data and show it in a nice, visual way, really helped me understand what I’m looking at and easily spot. Am

So these are my top 5 tools, too many that I use day-to-day but I think these are the five that make the most impact on my workday.

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