Needs Addressed by Policy Management - SQL Server 2008

It is a fair assumption to say that each time a new SQL Server version comes out, it will have more features. As time goes on, we train ourselves on this new product, and then another one is introduced. Eventually, we will see features within the product that we never knew existed. These features will expose more controls and properties than we probably care to learn. With an increase in the amount of feature controls comes a need to manage by intent, rather than directly managing each and every knob on a feature. For an analogy, consider Internet Explorer’s Tools/Options dialog box back in the version 4 days. It was basically a checked list box of every imaginable switch you could control. Enable ActiveX Controls and Enable Cookies were some of the options available. Most nontechnical people would just leave the Enable ActiveX Controls check box checked and continue web surfing, not realizing the potential security impact of that decision. Later versions of Internet Explorer have a single setting, Security Level, with the options of High, Medium, or Low. Under the covers, these are combinations of many of the switches in the earlier versions, but in a more simplified representation. PM in SQL Server 2008 addresses this need for management by intent.

Another change in the information technology industry is that of consolidation of data centers. In 2006, Hewlett-Packard announced that it planned to consolidate its 85 data centers into just 6 worldwide. With this drastic change, do you think they will be hiring more DBAs to manage these servers? Probably not many, if any at all. This increase of server management responsibilities amplifies the need for virtualized management. With virtualized management, it should be as simple as creating a server configuration and deploying this configuration across one or more servers. Virtualized management should allow DBAs the ability to define logical groups of servers and create or deploy different configurations for these various groups. PM in SQL Server 2008 addresses this need for virtualized management.

Let’s face it—hiring a DBA is not cheap for companies. “Do more with less” is an often overused statement and one we all tend to live by in our day-to-day lives. This philosophy is also embedded in our database architectures. Imagine a retail company that has 50 stores across a geographic region. In each one of these stores, there is a SQL Server database replicating sales and inventory data back to the corporate headquarters. Do you think that there is a DBA staffed at each one of these retail store outlets? Probably not. Most likely, the DBAs are staffed at headquarters and responsible for maintaining the remote databases. Thus, it is critical that a system be in place to proactively ensure that the configuration of these remote servers remains consistent. PM in SQL Server 2008 addresses this need for intelligent monitoring.


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