Check Twice, Update Once

I was reading through this blog from the SQL Server PSS team (a must-follow), and found this note about the SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer (BPA). This isa tool that can examine an installation of SQL Server and report on any deviations from best practices according to Microsoft, as well as warn you of potential issues with your configuration. I had used it with previous versions of SQL Server and it helped me quickly determine if I’d missed anything during setup.

Now I haven’t much thought about running this regularly. I’d assume this is something I just run once after installation to be sure I’ve configured, but the blog gives me a good reason to run this regularly, and especially whenever I have an issue. In the entry, it talks about not only noting that an error being returned by SQL Server and noting it’s fixed in a CU, but that a trace flag is also needed. Running the BPA would inform the user that the trace flag needs to be enabled.

I think it’s great that this type of feature is being designed into a tool like the BPA that can really help a DBA. Knowing that this trace flag needs to be enabled is the type of knowledge that someone might gain with experience, but it’s short lived. At least it should be as I would hope the issue is corrected in a Service Pack w/o the need for a trace flag.

Tools like this don’t eliminate the need for DBAs. We still need people that can make the decision about whether to apply this, perform testing, and more. These tools just make it easier for us to do our jobs more efficiently.

Steve Jones

Update: as noted in the discussion, the MS Baseline Configuration Analyzer is required for the BPA tool. MS BCA v2.0

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