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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

Meaning of Self-Managing

When the DBMS vendors say their database is self-managing, to what, exactly, are they referring? From a global perspective, there appear to be several major and minor focuses in the design of self-managing databases, with many of the capabilities centered on performance management and general administration.

The DBMS vendors know that today’s DBA spends a large amount of time troubleshooting the performance of their database, so a lot of the self-management direction is in the area of automatic problem diagnosis, communication of diagnostic findings, and generated recommendations on how to fix identified problems.

For example, with the release of DB2 UDB version 8, IBM began offering new built-in features that help locate database inefficiencies and notify the DBA of any performance abnormalities.

At the September 2003 OracleWorld, Oracle first showcased the new Oracle10g self-management features, many of which deal with performance-related issues. The 10g database diagnostic monitor constantly polls a target database, collects critical performance and SQL execution metrics, and then produces formatted reports on any identified performance inefficiencies. 10g has also extended its event handling capabilities to include proactive messages that warn a DBA of impending trouble.

Microsoft SQL Server has had decent event handling embedded with its database for a while, although it lacks the automatic performance diagnostic abilities of IBM and Oracle. Microsoft has come out with a Best Practices Analyzer utility, but it requires manual DBA intervention and is not actually part of the database engine itself.

Other self-managing enhancements are directed at simplifying database installation, configuration, and storage management. These are other areas that can also eat away at a DBA’s time. For example, Oracle10g has condensed many of its memory configuration parameters into one that manages the auto-distribution of memory to the areas that need it the most. SQL Server has had this feature for quite some time!

Oracle also now has the ability to automatically stripe, balance, and re-balance a target database over a set of server hard disks to lessen the possibility of I/O hotspots. This is something SQL Server cannot do.

The final list of self-managing enhancements includes things like automatic object statistical updates, which is new in 10g but has been present in SQL Server since version 7.0, and enhanced recovery features that allow the DBA to do partial or near-complete database recoveries without retrieving backup files from other locations.

The above book excerpt is from:

High-Performance SQL Server DBA
Tuning & Optimization Secrets

ISBN: 0-9761573-6-5
Robin Schumacher  

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