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Plan your remote DBA services

Start organizing a customer's sprawling database environment by providing remote DBA services.

Hilary Cotter
When you walk into a client's IT shop for the first time you need to establish that you will be able to manage what is often a sprawling and uncoordinated database environment. You will likely find many servers that are poorly managed and have no standards enforced. For example, you may find completely different backup procedures on each server.

Critical to managing any infrastructure like this is:

We have scripts to inventory our client's network for SQL server installations and check that they are adhering to best practices. For those installations that don't follow these practices, we will make the necessary changes to offer greater uptimes and reliability for our clients. We also benefit as the SQL Servers are easy to manage, and we experience a consistent environment that is identical to all the environments we manage.

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Our standards have been tested in hundreds of installations. Some of our staff members are dedicated to recovery and have, over time, become recovery specialists. Their level of expertise is invaluable to our clients and eclipses the knowledge of any database administrators we know. We have also divided up aspects of management into other distinct areas, and by doing so we have developed local talent specialists in most aspects of SQL Server management.

We negotiate our SLAs (service level agreements) to set service expectations for our clients. Setting expectations pay dividends should some unanticipated failure occur.

Which leads me to monitoring. Monitoring allows us to provide proactive management of our clients SQL Servers. We not only know when something has failed but we can also detect performance degradation and work toward improving it. We have forged a relationship with one of the industry's leading monitoring vendors, whic has proven invaluable to us. We have a clear window into our clients SQL Server performance, and are highly proactive to any imminent failures. This helps us exceed our SLAs and provide our clients with a quality user experience.

Become a remote DBA services provider with the best practices in part one of this series.

About the author: Hilary Cotter has been involved in IT for more than 20 years as a Web and database consultant. Microsoft first awarded Cotter the Microsoft SQL Server MVP award in 2001. Cotter received his bachelor of applied science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and subsequently studied economics at the University of Calgary and computer science at UC Berkeley. He is the author of a book on SQL Server transactional replication and is currently working on books on merge replication and Microsoft search technologies.

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