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Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plans (DBA Handbooks) Paperback – January 18, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brad McGehee is an Industry speaker, writer, and consultant on Microsoft SQL Server, specializing in SQL Server performance tuning, clustering, and high availability.He is now Director of DBA Education at Red Gate Software. Brad is a frequent speaker at SQL PASS, SQL Connections, SQL Server user groups, and other industry seminars, and he is the author or co-author of more than 12 technical books and over 100 published articles. He spends what time he has left with his family in Hawaii. He is a Microsoft SQL Server MVP, MCSE+I, MCSD, MCT.

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Product Details

  • Series: DBA Handbooks
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Red gate books (January 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906434344
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906434342
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,291,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Brad McGehee's latest book, "Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plans", is aimed squarely at inexperienced DBAs, but as there's a lack of starter administrative texts, this is definitely a good thing.

To give my SQL Server background - I have around 10 years development experience on the platform and am a Microsoft Certified IT Professional in SQL Server 2008 Development. However, my administration experience is limited, and I am what Brad would call an "accidental" DBA, i.e. I manage the servers alongside my other daily work.

My company has recently been upgrading its network, and this has involved the addition of more SQL Servers. As we're now starting to see lots of capacity coming through these servers, I decided it was high time I started maintaining the servers properly, and this book seemed like a good place to start.
Maintenance plans are essentially the "easy" way to manage SQL Servers. The book concentrates on the two methods used to create maintenance plans - the wizard and the designer.

The first half of the book is dedicated to the maintenance plan wizard. This is a useful tool that can create plans that run scheduled maintenance tasks. It does have some limitations, and Brad points these out throughout the book. Each task the wizard can perform is well explained and there's lots of helpful screenshots to walk the reader through the process. Crucially, Brad also highlights which tasks should not be performed using the wizard, which is great for those less experienced. The book continually states that if more control needs to be exerted over a particular task, PowerShell or custom T-SQL scripts should be used.
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Format: Paperback
One of my peeves is verbose books on technology by publishing companies who assume to offer great value and content by over stuffing their books with a lot of superficial words and pages in my opinion.

A rule of thumb: LESS IS MORE.

If most IT professionals are like me, when I need answers, I don't want to be spending realms of my precious time shifting through endless pages of "page stuffing" to get the information I really need and want. Goodness knows that our project timelines are already too short and expectations are already off the chart.

So that being said, here is what I look for when I start to read a book on technology (How-Tos and Reference books alike), what is it about, what are the facts. This is what I like about "Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server Maintenance Plan", he is giving me the facts and not the fluff.

For a guy like me who doesn't do a lot of administration, Brad gave me some great advice on how to maintain my databases with little effort. I think this is a must have book for developers who also do maintenance on database servers. I can't speak for DBAs because one I'm not. I didn't even know of some of the topics Brad's wrote about existed like the Maintenance Plans and the Maintenance Designer. He also showed me through his simple and clear examples how to use and write PowerShell scripts. I, like a lot of people in IT, have heard of PowerShell but haven't used it before.

Great job Brad
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Format: Paperback
I heard about the author from the well-known "Brad's DBA checklist" on Simple-talk. Surely this book is a well-done job for Brad. Not a lot of people use the maintenance plan. But the book's content is quite enough to be used by those who do (or plan to) use this tool in daily work.

I like the book for these particular reasons.
1. The book describes the maintenance plan wizard and designer in a proper detailed level. It is kind of a "step-by-step" guide for the audience.

2. Brad also mentions a lot of good tips on what are the "must-do" or "must-not-do" things as the maintenance work. This is particular good for junior DBAs.

3. The overall language and presentation of the book is direct and clear. That's like a operational handbook for DBAs.

There are two things that I would like to add. First, one should be clear that maintenance plan can still be used in large organizations with TBs of data in databases. The reason is that there are plenty of "small" databases in such organizations and DBAs for different departments still have plenty of chances to use this tool. Second, I think the book can be a 5-star if a few (real life) case study can be included to make the readers more experienced after learning the basic steps and the technical comments.

All in all, this is an excellent book for DBAs in the early career life. I will suggest the book to my friends.
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Format: Paperback
This book about database maintenance is a good book for a beginner or novice to the craft of maintaining SQL Server databases, maybe not the most exciting subject but too often overlooked when implementing a SQL server based system. Having a good maintenance plan is crucial as a DBA.
The book takes you step-by-step through how-to configure and set up the maintenance necessary, and explaining the differences in different settings. It also explains why some choices are better than others, not into great detail but in a good and easily understandable way.
I felt the book falls a little bit short on the more advanced stuff, so if you're an experienced SQL Server user, this book is not targeted for you. It has links to places for further reading, which was good but I'd liked little bit more on how to use system views and also some power shell scripts etc. I also miss a chapter about, system recovery that could give the reader additional insight to why the different parts of the maintenance plan is important, and also what to do if your production environment crashes and you have to start doing system recovery, but maybe that's not the scope of the book.
So, to wrap it up. This is a beginner's/novice book or a book to complement you additional SQL server literature, which takes you through the stuff you need to do to configure and maintain your SQL server environment.
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