Keeping the Lights On: SQL Server for the Accidental DBA

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Hilton Garden Inn Albany/SUNY Area

1389 Washington Avenue

Albany, NY 12206

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Mike Hillwig

You're the sysadmin, analyst, or developer. You have no DBA. You need to keep the lights on. By default, you’ve become the Accidental DBA.

In this all-day session geared toward non-DBAs, IT veteran Mike Hillwig is here to help you. You will start learning the skills you need to keep your SQL Server up and running--smoothly. You won't become a DBA in a day, but you will be in a much better position to keep the lights on.

At the end of this day, you'll leave with a handful of scripts and a whole lot of skill. You'll go back to the office on Monday, ready to take on your SQL Servers.


1. Services

SQL Server is built to run as a Windows service. We'll look at the services that SQL Server uses, what they do, and how to manage them.

2. Servers, Instances, and Databases

In this unit, we'll look at the basic architecture of SQL Server, understanding the difference between a server, an instance, and a database.

3. Backup and Recovery

This is where the good stuff starts. Your system is only as good as its last backup. Or is it your last recovery? We'll drill into backups, restores, and validating your backups. You'll learn about recovery models and the elusive transaction log backup.

4. Maintenance

SQL Server requires care and feeding. You'll learn how to understand maintenance plans as well as a community-based alternative to maintenance plans. You'll learn how to regularly maintain indexes and statistics, as well as regularly checking database integrity.

5. Databases, Filegroups, and Files

In this unit, we'll look at how SQL Server stores its data files. You'll learn how to add new files and how to prevent existing datafiles from growing any larger.

6. Security Basics

People need to access your servers. You'll learn the difference between SQL and Active Directory authentication, users versus logins, and how to grant people access to what they need without giving them full control of your servers. More importantly, you'll learn why your SA password should be held very closely.

7. Worst Practice Prevention

The internet has lots of bad advice for managing SQL Server. We'll look at some bad practices, why you should avoid them, and what the better alternatives are. You'll understand why you shouldn't enable autoshrink, why you shouldn't truncate a transaction log, and why you shouldn't enable compression on your filesystem.

8. Worst Case Scenario Resolution

Things go bump in the night. We'll look at some frequent emergency situations and how you can fix them. You'll learn how to recover from a bloated transaction log file, a large TempDB, and breaking into an instance when nobody else has the sysadmin role.

9. Wrap up and Q&A

Event Schedule:


8:30am: Precon begins

12:00pm: Lunch

5:00: Precon concludes

Please contact the instructor with course questions: Mike Hillwig: mike@mikehillwig.com

Ed Pollack (SQL Saturday Albany Event Coordinator) with logistical questions or dietary requests: ed7@alum.rpi.edu

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Hilton Garden Inn Albany/SUNY Area

1389 Washington Avenue

Albany, NY 12206

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