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Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 : Disaster Recovery - Database Maintenance

11/21/2011 9:01:29 AM

Database Maintenance

Perhaps the most obvious way to keep your SMS site systems from experiencing failure is to keep them running in top form, much like you might develop an exercise and diet program for yourself or regularly change the oil in your car. In addition to developing a backup and restore strategy, you can do several things for your SMS servers on a regular basis, both to keep them running well and to spot problems before they cause damage. For the most part, these maintenance tasks can be broken down into four groups: general, daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance tasks.

General Maintenance Tasks

Probably the most important general task you can perform for any Microsoft Windows system is to develop a backup plan for your servers. At a minimum, you want to develop a backup strategy for your SMS site server and SMS database server, as these are your key systems. Much has been written about backup strategies—full versus differential, daily versus weekly, and so on.

For example, one backup strategy might be that you perform a full, or complete, backup of your database once a week, say on Friday nights, while you perform a differential backup of the database Mondays through Thursdays. Different backup types can take longer to run the backup process and take longer to restore as well. For example, a full backup backs up all the data each time and so will necessarily take longer to back up and restore. A differential backup, in contrast, backs up only data that has changed since the last full backup and will result in reduced backup time and less backup space used.

Other general maintenance tasks might more properly be called troubleshooting assistance tasks, such as configuring the Status Message Viewer, configuring the Performance Monitor and SQL Server alerts, performing a database and site backup, and monitoring the performance of the site systems.

  • Configure the Status Message Viewer to view status messages .You can configure the display interval for status messages, set filters, have programs such as pager alerts executed based on message events, and so on. Take some time to determine how the Status Message Viewer might figure into your overall maintenance—and ultimately disaster recovery—strategy.

  • Configure Performance Monitor alerts for key events You can set up alerts for the events, such as low disk space, overutilization of the processor and memory, excessive pagefile access, and so on.

  • Configure SQL Server alerts You can set up the alerts in the SQL Server Enterprise Manager to monitor database space usage, user locks, and connections. (For more information about setting up SQL Server alerts, refer to the SQL Server product documentation.)

  • Determine a fault tolerance strategy If your server supports a fault tolerance method such as RAID 1 (disk mirroring) or RAID 5 (disk striping with parity) either through a hardware method or through Windows, consider configuring one of these fault tolerance methods. Maintaining data redundancy is a hallmark of disaster recovery.

You will undoubtedly think of many other troubleshooting assistance tasks to add to this list. Be as creative—and redundant—as you like. In the following sections we’ll explore some specific daily, weekly, and monthly tasks you can perform as an SMS site administrator.

Daily Maintenance Tasks

As the SMS administrator, you decide when various maintenance tasks should be performed within your organization and with what frequency. No single blueprint will provide a perfect fit for every SMS site or site structure. Microsoft recommends that you perform the following tasks daily to protect your SMS servers. You can modify this list to suit your needs.

  • Perform a site backup This task ensures that you can recover to at least the previous day’s state.

  • Review status messages This is especially important if SMS generates a status message alert indicating a potential problem with a component. By default, the Status Message Viewer displays only messages generated since the previous midnight. If you skip a couple of days, you might miss significant status messages. Consider changing the display interval or setting up custom filters so that you will be alerted about serious events. You should review site server and site system status messages every day. However, SMS clients also generate status messages. Although it might be unrealistic to review client status messages on a daily basis, perhaps because of the number of clients you might have installed, you should consider reviewing them on a weekly or monthly basis.

  • Monitor the Windows Event logs and SQL Server logs Check for errors or warnings that might be indicative of an impending failure of your SMS site. You can view the SQL Server logs in SQL Server Enterprise Manager.

  • Monitor system health and performance through the Performance Monitor and SMS Service Manager tools Check for performancerelated events, such as low disk space, overutilization of the processor and memory, excessive pagefile access, and so on, to help determine when your server isn’t running at optimum performance levels and what processes might be affecting performance.

  • Monitor network utilization using a network traffic analysis tool such as Network Monitor This task is especially important if package distribution or intersite communication appears to be poor in order to determine when and where traffic congestion is occurring.

  • Monitor SMS system folders for file backlogs The appearance of a large or growing number of files in the SMS system folders might indicate that the site server is unable to process requests for information. You should check status messages and SMS services for errors.

Weekly Maintenance Tasks

Microsoft recommends that you perform the following tasks weekly. Again, you can modify this list to fit your needs.

  • Monitor the size and percentage of database growth of the SMS site database as well as the software metering database, if you’ve implemented that feature. SQL Server 2000 automatically monitors the size of the SMS database and makes adjustments appropriately. Of course, this doesn’t absolve you from monitoring the database on a regular basis to determine how fast the database is growing and especially whether you might run out of disk space. However, you might not need to look at the database so frequently, and you can set a SQL Server alert to let you know when and how much the database grows.

  • Monitor the amount of free disk space on the SMS database server, the site server, and the site systems (client access points [CAPs], logon points, distribution points, and software metering servers). Remember, with few exceptions, SMS components will just stop working if they run out of disk space.

  • Purge data that’s no longer needed or relevant. Remove bad Management Information Format (MIF) files, duplicate computer records, aged inventory records, and so on.

  • Perform regular disk cleanup tasks. This cleanup would include your weekly full virus check or disk optimization routine or monitoring for unused or old Temp files. Check the SMS directories as well for folders that have an unusually high number of files, such as a BadMIFs folder or an inbox with files that aren’t being processed, and cross-check these folders with status messages and logs for the specific components involved.

Monthly Maintenance Tasks

Here are some of the recommended maintenance tasks that you might perform on a monthly or an as-needed basis:

  • Verify and test your ability to restore the database or the site server.

  • Modify SMS accounts and passwords for those accounts you have control over.

  • Review SMS object permissions.

  • Review SMS site boundaries and component configuration.

  • Review your maintenance plans.

You can protect your SMS site by scheduling and performing these maintenance tasks regularly. In the following section we’ll look at how to schedule these tasks.

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