The Value of a Complete Server Inventory

by Mar 6, 2020

Performing an inventory may not immediately spring to mind when considering the various tasks performed by an organization’s database team. Many other activities occupy a higher position on the team’s to-do list. Things like performance tuning, SQL code optimization, and verifying backup procedures are more likely to be assigned than a server inventory. Yet just like in other parts of a business, an inventory can have a substantial impact on an IT department.

Why Are Inventories Important?

Before looking at the specific advantages afforded by an IT inventory, let’s consider how they benefit more traditional businesses. For illustrative purposes, we will look at a fictional company that manufactures widgets made up of components that are provided by several different vendors. The XYZ company sells these creations online and in brick-and-mortar locations along with a variety of complementary devices from other manufacturers.

Performing an inventory and managing the assets that it addresses are two inescapably intertwined activities. Here are the main benefits of these processes.

  • Keeping track of where your assets are at any given time can be difficult when more than one location is in play. Decisions on where to obtain the resources necessary to fulfill customer demand rely on the existence of an informative inventory. The necessary product may be available from an alternate location than the one fielding the request. This information is vitally important when attempting to keep customers satisfied. Most clients look more favorably on a slight delay while a product is sent from another location than to being told that the item is unavailable.

  • Meeting delivery dates is one of the signs of a competent business. A firm’s reputation will quickly deteriorate if they make a habit of delivering products late. Customers do not want to hear excuses when their widgets aren’t available on the promised date. They may give the company a second chance, but it is just as likely that they will start searching for another vendor to fulfill their needs.

  • Ordering the right parts in the proper quantities is one of the challenges of running a manufacturing business. Managing the inventories of components and finished products effectively is necessary for the continued operation of the enterprise. This practice addresses a shortage of resources as well as situations where an excess of assets exist. Automated re-ordering processes may need to be adjusted to deal with this issue to preserve capital funds that would be otherwise spent on surplus supplies.

  • Organizational productivity can only benefit from viable inventories and subsequent management efforts. Having a repository available to all stakeholders eliminates many unnecessary questions as they can all be answered by consulting a common data cache.

The Benefits of an SQL Server Inventory

Inventorying and managing your SQL Server assets is beneficial for many of the same reasons as those enjoyed by company XYZ with some slight contextual modifications. There are also additional advantages that pertain to an IT environment.

  • Knowing where your SQL Server assets are located is not as easy as in the past when physical servers down the hall could simply be counted. Virtualization and the cloud extend the playing field in ways that make it difficult to get a handle on what exactly is out there. An SQL inventory management tool can go a long way toward fixing that problem.

  • The concept of meeting delivery dates transfers easily to the IT world. Database instances or applications are expected to meet their rollout dates. Without an adequate inventory of available resources, this can become an issue. It’s no fun to find out there are no instances capable of running the production iteration of a thoroughly tested and ready to go database, especially if you find out the day before the implementation was scheduled.

  • Productivity gains are another benefit that any organizational inventory can provide. Whether selling widgets or standing up SQL Server instances, having a centralized view of the available resources saves everyone a lot of time versus constantly running down ad hoc inquiries.

  • SQL Server resources need more care and feeding than that expected by the average widget. Issues such as determining back-level patches or identifying systems that are not being backed up are critical to their continued performance. An effective inventory will be able to provide the type of information required to keep your SQL Servers healthy and happy.

Conducting a Thorough SQL Server Inventory

IDERA’s SQL Inventory Manager is an excellent tool for performing an inventory on your enterprise’s SQL Servers located in on-premises data centers as well as on virtual cloud machines. It auto-discovers new servers as they are installed to help address the problem of server sprawl. The tool enables the creation of tags and custom fields to organize instances across the enterprise.

SQL Inventory Manager uses a web-based agentless user interface to collect and manage your SQL Server environment. It provides complete visibility into your assets and may uncover servers that were previously hidden from view. Health checks and alerts can be configured to report on key indicators such as lack of storage space.  Customizable reports put all of the collected information in a list complete with recommendations for improved performance.

Your SQL Server environment can be every bit as important to your business as the availability of widget components. Using SQL Inventory Manager will keep you informed of the state and location of these valuable resources.