There are many challenges that DBAs face every day. They are expected to maintain the availability of the databases they support and work toward improving their performance. A company’s DBAs need to ensure that valid backups are being taken and that they can be used to restore the systems. Then there are tasks such as user management, performing upgrades, and responding to end-user complaints. A typical workday is often not long enough to adequately address all of their responsibilities. But even DBAs need to sleep once in a while.
Database teams are always searching for ways to maximize their productivity by eliminating manual and repetitive tasks wherever possible. A worthwhile DBA can always find something better to do than revisiting the same assignments every day. A facility in SQL Server designed to mitigate the need to continually perform manual processes is the ability to create jobs.
A job in SQL Server is a series of operations that are executed sequentially by the SQL Server Agent. The specific operations performed by a job encompass a variety of activities. Some examples are running command prompt applications, replication tasks, Transact-SQL scripts, and Integration Services packages. DBAs can create complex jobs that address many aspects of their databases.
Creating jobs is done by using the SQL Server Agent. It is a native feature of SQL Server which is designed to allow DBAs to develop and run jobs that access their databases. Jobs can also be scheduled through the agent to automate processes that need to be executed regularly. Becoming proficient with the SQL Server Agent can go a long way toward easing the daily workload of an enterprise’s DBAs.
Problems with SQL Server Agent
SQL Server Agent works as advertised and enables DBAs to use jobs to be more productive in their roles. Jobs can be run on a scheduled basis or triggered by certain events. A DBA can also kick off a job manually if necessary to address a pressing issue. But the agent has limitations that make it less useful in a complex SQL Server environment.
The most glaring issue with using the SQL Server Agent is that it runs as a service on each instance of SQL Server. The agents have no native means of communication with each other, forcing a database team to visit each one to manage or monitor the jobs it is running. If your SQL Server environment is limited to a few instances, this may not pose a problem. In situations where there are many SQL Server instances, you may be looking at hundreds or thousands of jobs executing across the systems.
Attempting to manage these jobs is complicated by the lack of a global view of jobs running throughout the environment. This can make it difficult to avoid conflicts and allocate resources efficiently. It can be hard to identify failing jobs or dependencies that need to be honored during scheduling. Reporting and job analysis need to be conducted on a server by server basis which can quickly become a nightmare in large SQL Server installations.
A Better Solution for SQL Job Management
IDERA’s SQL Enterprise Job Manager offers a comprehensive solution to SQL job management and monitoring. The application provides an overview of all the jobs running in your SQL Server environment from a single console. It enables you to harness the power of SQL job execution while minimizing the complexity of effectively managing jobs across multiple SQL Server instances.
Here are a few of the features that make this tool an excellent solution for creating, managing, and monitoring SQL jobs on all of your servers.
- A job wizard is included that enables the user to create and modify jobs on a single server or multiple instances. It guides a DBA through the job creation process.
- Job scheduling and conflict resolution are addressed by the Server Performance Timeline and Job Overlap view features of the tool. These help with rescheduling jobs to make better use of your resources.
- Maintenance windows for specific instances can be defined that control when jobs can and cannot be run.
- A familiar calendar view can be used to view jobs and their status for a single instance or across the enterprise. Reschedule jobs by simply dragging and dropping them to a new timeframe.
DBAs struggling with complicated SQL Server environments will greatly appreciate the ease with which they can manage and monitor the jobs that keep the systems humming. The ability to view all of the SQL Server instances in the enterprise from a unified platform will save time, reduce errors, and increase the efficiency with which jobs are run. Sounds like a win for everyone involved.