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Get You Some Tools – SQL University Spring 2010

I don’t know about you, but I’m too busy to do it all. I use tools to help me do my job as a DBA. Let’s talk about some of the tools or types of tools that might help you do your job.

This is Week 4 of the Spring 2010 semester of SQL University – Tools Of The Trade Week. Thanks, Jorge for setting this up! I’m your official instructor for this week but if you check out the SQL University site there may be some guest instructors adding their thoughts as well. We’ll divide this up into a couple posts. You are at the first post, a general discussion. In Part 2, I share some free SQL Server tools that have helped me.

Why Use Tools?

Do you have a full staff of production DBAs backing you up? Do all of your jobs and servers run as they are expected? Do you hate writing your own environment documentation from scratch? Get confused when there are performance issues?

Well, those are some great reasons to look at SQL Server help from some source. Be it reporting add-ons to Management Studio, a third party vendor’s product for monitoring your environment, some PowerShell scripts you wrote or even a SQL Script you found (and tested!) from a trusted resource, there are tons of tools out there to help you.

My goal in this post is to get you to think about looking beyond the tools that ship with SQL Server and consider your needs. Look at ways to get a force multiplier for your environment.

Isn’t SSMS Enough?

SQL Server Management Studio is a great tool. From it you can do just about every task that you would need to do to manage day to day DBA duties. Developers can bang out SQL code in it. Access can be granted or revoked. You can view built-in reports or add performance dashboard reports.

It isn’t enough, though. There are great tools out there from vendors. There are ways for you to fill your own specific needs with custom scripts or even your own applications. There are some great SQL Server vendors that come to mind who started because someone saw a need and developed a tool.

So What Do We Need?

Well I was going to go through a list of some types of tools in this first post but Tom LaRock actually beat me to the punch with his DBA coach contribution to the SQL University topic. Rather than do it here, go check out his blog and look at some of the tips and thoughts in his great post on SQL Server Tools.

We’ll come back inPart 2 and revisit some neat tools I’ve liked and used or liked and plan on using from codeplex (free).

SQL University Survey

If you would like to participate, SQL University is running a survey to seek feedback on all sessions provided this semester. If you have a few moments please check out the survey. The results will help us blog more relevant content and improve SQLU next semester!

Mike Walsh
Article by Mike Walsh
Mike loves mentoring clients on the right Systems or High Availability architectures because he enjoys those lightbulb moments and loves watching the right design and setup come together for a client. He started Straight Path in 2010 when he decided that after over a decade working with SQL Server in various roles, it was time to try and take his experience, passion, and knowledge to help clients of all shapes and sizes. Mike is a husband, father to four great children, and a Christian. He’s a volunteer Firefighter and EMT in his small town in New Hampshire, and when he isn’t playing with his family, solving SQL Server issues, or talking shop, it seems like he has plenty to do with his family running a small farm in NH raising Beef Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Honeybees and who knows what other animals have been added!

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