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SQL Server Expert–Recommended New Year’s Resolutions

Lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more frequently, save more money—these are just a few examples of New Year’s resolutions that you, and millions of other people, might make at the beginning of each year. But have you considered making resolutions regarding what you’d like to accomplish in your SQL Server environment over the next year?

With the New Year quickly approaching, I reached out to several SQL Server Magazine authors to get their recommendations for things you should, and shouldn’t, do in 2011.

-Don’t shrink your databases!

-Start looking into cloud computing. Don’t scoff and say “I’ll never need cloud computing.” It’s the future, and you need to be ready for it. That doesn’t mean you’ll be moving your entire database environment to the cloud, but you might find good uses for it down the road for specific workloads. (For more information, see “Emerging Database Technologies: Jeremiah Peschka and Kevin Kline on NoSQL.”)

-“Put an Agent alert on message 825.” —Paul Randal

(For more information, see Paul’s blog post “A little-known sign of impending doom: error 825.”)

-“Do a complete analysis of your disaster recovery strategy and test as much of it as you possibly can—without destroying anything! So … “HAVE” a strategy (that’s the RIGHT strategy) and then “TEST” your strategy!!” —Kimberly L. Tripp

(To find out more, check out Michelle A. Poolet’s articles “The Smart DBA's Guide to SQL Server Disaster Recovery, Part 1” and “The Smart DBA's Guide to SQL Server Disaster Recovery, Part 2.”)

-“How about making sure that you have the correct DR and HA plans in place, and you aren’t just using the “sexy” tech so that you can say that you are using the “Sexy” tech.  Using clustering where needed, using mirroring where needed, using storage replication where needed, etc.” —Denny Cherry

-“For DW/BI I would recommend a few items which all correlate back to having a sound enterprise internal strategy: If you have not tried out PowerPivot yet spend just 3 or 4 hours with the toolset copying/correlating data, creating potential new insights.

-Spend another 3 or 4 hours leveraging PowerPivot to extend the ROI of your enterprise data warehouse investments by correlating your organization’s ‘one version of the truth’ with siloed data repositories

-Review Data Warehouse Value & Status Assuming your organization’s data warehouse is not yet complete its always a good idea to perform a ‘project health check’ and ensure everything is on track

-Review & Polish up if need be requirements documentation. Has the business user’s needs changed for any reason since requirements were last gathered? Examples of a few events that might cause change in analytical requirements include mergers/acquisitions, new operational IT systems brought online, and new vendors/partners. —Derek Comingore

-“A great resolution would be to CREATE a disaster recovery document/plan (or dust it off if it’s already been created) and actively TEST it.

-Michelle A. Poolet had the following resolution suggestions:

  1. Resolve to keep unnormalized data out of the database.
  2. Resolve to cut the fingers off any developer who tries to make a schema change in the database without your knowledge.
  3. Resolve to set up those backup jobs that you've been meaning to create.
  4. Resolve to test those backup jobs that have been running all year, just to make sure they'll restore.
  5. Resolve to start learning from the set of educational DVDs that your boss got for you after you pestered him for a month.
  6. Resolve to quit thinking of yourself as irreplaceable and to start training your junior birdman so that in an emergency he (or she) can take over the helm.
  7. Resolve to learn about this CRM stuff so that you'll be forearmed when my dev team starts deluging the production system with their code.
  8. Resolve to start breaking down barriers between the dev team and the database team, and to encourage all IT people to start thinking and talking biz-speak.
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