It’s getting harder and harder to define the role of a SQL Server DBA. Depending on the organization, a DBA may be involved in a huge number of tasks from data modeling and physical server design through operational tasks such as backup/restore, performance tuning, and security administration. And that’s only scratching the surface; specialist development DBA roles are increasingly common, as are those that specialize in the business intelligence space.
While this book will appeal to a broad range of SQL Server professionals, it’s primarily targeted at the production OLTP DBA whose role includes tasks such as installation, configuration, backup/restore, security, and performance tuning. In order to devote as many pages as possible to these topics, the following areas are not covered:
In the areas that the book does cover, I’ve deliberately avoided using a step-by-step approach in favor of an emphasis on best practice. As a result, inexperienced readers may need to supplement their reading with other sources for more detailed coverage. SQL Server Books Online, included as part of a SQL Server installation, is the best resource for this purpose. Further, while many new SQL Server 2008 features are covered, the book’s major themes are applicable to earlier versions of SQL Server.
This book is presented in three parts.
The final section of each chapter summarizes best practices in a list format. For the experienced DBA, the best way of reading this book is to start with the best practices, and if you require more information, you can read the chapter for the appropriate background.
In Appendix A, I offer my opinion on DBA worst practices. Sometimes, reading about inappropriate and/or downright bad practices is the best (and quickest) way to avoid common mistakes.
Best practices of any sort, including those for SQL Server, tend to be controversial at times. A best practice in one environment may not be appropriate in another, or it may change over time. Further, internet forums are a great source of false best practices, and once “out there,” they tend to take on a life of their own. This book is careful not to make definitive and broad-sweeping best-practice statements, particularly those in which environment-specific circumstances play an important role.
Like any technical book, this book cannot be all things to all people. Together with the diversity of the SQL Server product, different types of DBAs necessitate the exclusion of certain topics from its scope. I apologize in advance to those readers looking for topics that are either not covered or covered in insufficient depth. For this reason, I encourage you to visit the book’s companion website, www.sqlCrunch.com.In order to maximize the value of this book, each chapter has an accompanying website page (listed at the end of each chapter) providing links to white papers, scripts, blogs, and technical articles appropriate to the chapter’s content. In order for you to make the best possible choices for your own environment, I encourage you to supplement the knowledge gained from this book with information from the provided website links.
All source code in listings or in text is in a
fixed-width font like this to separate it from ordinary text. Code annotations accompany many of the listings, highlighting important concepts. In some cases, numbered bullets link to explanations that follow the listing.
The source code for the examples in this book is available online from the publisher’s website at www.manning.com/SQLServer2008AdministrationinAction.
The purchase of SQL Server 2008 Administration in Action includes free access to a private web forum run by Manning Publications, where you can make comments about the book, ask technical questions, and receive help from the author and from other users. To access the forum and subscribe to it, point your web browser to www.manning.com/SQLServer2008AdministrationinAction
This page provides information about how to get on the forum once you’re registered, what kind of help is available, and the rules of conduct on the forum. Manning’s commitment to our readers is to provide a venue where a meaningful dialogue between individual readers and between readers and the authors can take place. It’s not a commitment to any specific amount of participation on the part of the author, whose contribution to the book’s forum remains voluntary (and unpaid). We suggest you try asking him some challenging questions, lest his interest stray!
The Author Online forum and the archives of previous discussions will be accessible from the publisher’s website as long as the book is in print.
By combining introductions, overviews, and how-to examples, In Action books are designed to help learning and remembering. According to research in cognitive science, the things people remember are things they discover during self-motivated exploration.
Although no one at Manning is a cognitive scientist, we are convinced that for learning to become permanent it must pass through stages of exploration, play, and, interestingly, retelling of what is being learned. People understand and remember new things, which is to say they master them, only after actively exploring them. Humans learn in action. An essential part of an In Action guide is that it is example-driven. It encourages the reader to try things out, to play with new code, and explore new ideas.
There is another, more mundane, reason for the title of this book: our readers are busy. They use books to do a job or to solve a problem. They need books that allow them to jump in and jump out easily and learn just what they want just when they want it. They need books that aid them in action. The books in this series are designed for such readers.