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Step 5: Monitor and stabilize consolidated SQL Server databases

Monitoring should allow you to proactively manage consolidated SQL Servers, looking for outages and performance problems. Get help in this step excerpted from Chapter 2, 'Planning your SQL Server consolidation,' of our original expert e-book, "Consolidate SQL Servers for availability, scalability and cost savings."

Even with the most careful analysis, testing and benchmarking, you will find surprises in the consolidated environment. In the earlier stages of the consolidation process the project team will become adept at providing optimal performance by monitoring and juggling user databases among consolidated SQL Servers.

Once a consolidated SQL Server goes into production, these monitoring and juggling skills will become invaluable. While it will be difficult to juggle some of the larger user databases, especially if they have external dependencies (such as replication or full-text search), some of the smaller user database can be moved easily should conditions warrant and you have a maintenance window.

Monitoring should allow you to be highly proactive in managing each consolidated SQL Server, particularly looking for outages and performance problems. Many of the commercial monitoring programs are ideal for this, such as BMC Software, Inc. Patrol, Microsoft MOM and Quest Software, Inc. Spotlight.

The goal of monitoring is not only to be proactive with problems, but to deliver a stabilized, consolidated SQL Server solution that offers high performance and availability to all user databases and, more importantly, a solution that meets or exceeds negotiated SLAs. A stabilized environment is defined as an environment that can adequately service all loads with little to no performance degradation; from a monitoring perspective it is a quiet server that does not raise any performance alerts.

Once the first phase of consolidated SQL Servers is stabilized, migrate second-phase databases to the next consolidation group. Lessons learned in the first phase will accelerate subsequent phases.

The above tip is excerpted from Chapter 2, 'Planning your SQL Server consolidation,' of our original expert e-book, "Consolidate SQL Servers for availability, scalability and cost savings." This chapter explains six steps to consolidation and other key consolidation considerations.

How to consolidate SQL Servers

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Create a SQL Server consolidation methodology
 Step 2: Analyze candidate databases, servers and more
 Step 3: Test your consolidation
 Step 4: Deploy consolidated SQL Servers
 Step 5: Monitor and stabilize consolidated SQL Servers

Hilary Cotter
Hilary Cotter has been involved in IT for more than 20 years a Web and database consultant. Microsoft first awarded Cotter the Microsoft SQL Server MVP award in 2001. Cotter received his bachelor applied science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toronto and 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 currently working on books on merge replication and Microsoft search technologies.
Copyright 2006 TechTarget
This was last published in June 2006

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