Chapter 3. Maintenance and Automation

After you have installed and configured a server, even before you let the first user on it, you need to create a maintenance plan. Maintenance includes more than just backups and defragmenting a systemit includes audits and checking the system for operational status. In the first part of this chapter, I explain what you need to understand about maintenance and the audits and other documentation you need to create.

In the second half of this chapter, I explain how automation works in SQL Server 2005. Automation is getting the computer to do what it does best: repetitive tasks. Although you will use automation in lots of places, the first logical application is in automating the maintenance your system needs. I show you various methods to automate your system, and I show you a prepackaged wizard that creates a maintenance plan that you can tailor to your own needs. In the "Take Away" section, I provide a checklist for maintenance tasks and a method to automate tasks and monitor them from a central location.

Database administrators (DBAs) perform several functions in an organization: database design and development, creating data structures, and performing system maintenance. Above all, maintenance is at the core of what you are expected to do. System maintenance is part of the umbrella that the term administration covers.

Maintenance is not just backing up databases. That is certainly part of the job, but you will need to do other periodic tasks to guarantee the availability and responsiveness of your system. There are logs to monitor, capacity plans to create, user accounts to manage, and many other things to do to be prepared for the daily emergencies that inevitably arise.