New Year's Resolutions: Tips to Improve Your SQL Servers' Health in 2018

Andy Yun

Published On: January 11, 2018

Categories: SQL Sentry, Advisory Conditions, EHO 0

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? Well, SentryOne would like to encourage you to resolve to improve your SQL Servers' health. And to help you out, I'd like to share some tips to improve the health of your SQL Servers.

Not sure what the Environment Health Overview (EHO) score is? Not to worry, check out this blog by Jason Hall which introduces the EHO. As a DBA, it gives me a sense of the overall state of my entire enterprise. My favorite way of thinking of the EHO score came from Lori Edwards, who likes to describe the EHO score as the DBA's "how busy am I going to be today" indicator.


Check Your EHO Daily

Be sure to check your EHO daily, because it is based upon all Advisory Conditions that have been triggered within the past 24 hours.

Environment Health Overview Score
The Environment Health Overview score. Note "24 Hours" is selected.
Checking it regularly will enable you to stay on top of your SQL Server environment. When I was a DBA I made it part of my morning routine and allocated time to triage my Advisory Conditions.



Do you manage a large SQL Server environment and find yourself overwhelmed by the number of Advisory Conditions that you're seeing on the Start Page? Make use of our filtering functionality. You can click on individual boxes to only show you Events by Severity or Tag.

Events by Severity or Tag
Additionally, Allen White blogged about narrowing your focus on the Start Page.


Address by Severity

Address by Severity  
DBAs, with limited cycles to burn, are often torn between what to address first. Usually we default to addressing Critical and High severity Advisory Conditions first.

But be sure to not neglect Medium and Low severity Advisory Conditions. Many of the Advisory Conditions that fall under the lower severity levels are also ones that can be corrected with minimal effort. Be sure to at least skim through all Medium and Low severity Advisory Conditions, to see if there are any "low hanging fruit" that you can quickly and easily remedy or delegate.


Address SQL Server Best Practices

Many of the SentryOne supplied Advisory Conditions center around SQL Server Best Practices. Often, these are simple configuration changes that require minimal testing and validation, such as using Checksum for Torn Page Verification or High Performance Plan is Enabled/Disabled.

Advisory Conditions  


Prioritizing these sooner rather than later will not only improve the health of your individual SQL Servers, but bring your entire environment into alignment.


Disable What Does Not Apply

Out of the box, SentryOne has a large number of Advisory Conditions preconfigured. But there may be some that simply do not apply to your environment. Go ahead and take the time to disable them.

When I've monitored environments with SentryOne, I grouped servers by role: development, QA, staging, and production. Aside from helping me keep my servers organized, it also enabled me to create overrides at different levels of my hierarchy. For example, I could easily disable many alerts for monitored SQL Servers categorized under the Development group.

Disabling What Does Not Apply
Two Advisory Conditions disabled for development servers.
Check out " Disabling SentryOne Advisory Conditions" by Melissa Connors, where she explores this in greater detail.


Call to Action

As a former DBA, I appreciate that we only have so many hours in the day to do all of the things required of us. But devoting a small slice of time every day to maintain and improve your server health will pay for itself in the long run. Leverage the Environment Health Overview score and Advisory Conditions, which are all there to help you quickly identify, triage, and resolve ailments in your SQL Server environment.

Andy Yun is a SentryOne Principal Solutions Engineer and a Microsoft MVP. He has been working with SQL Server for over 15 years as both a Database Developer and Administrator. Leveraging knowledge of SQL Server Internals and extensive experience in highly transactional environments, he strives to make T-SQL leaner and meaner. Andy is extremely passionate about passing knowledge onto others, regularly speaking at User Groups, SQL Saturdays, and PASS Summit. Andy is a co-founder of the Chicago SQL Association, co-Chapter Leader of the Chicago Suburban User Group, and part of the Chicago SQL Saturday Organizing Committee.