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Installing SQL Server 2012 : The Installation Process (part 4) - Post Installation Tasks

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5. Post Installation Tasks

After SQL Server 2012 is installed, additional settings need to be configured and tasks need to be completed to have a production-ready server. Some of these settings are geared toward fine-tuning the SQL Server instance for optimal performance. Other settings and tasks are geared toward securing, auditing, and monitoring the SQL Server instance.

Memory

Two important server property settings include maximum and minimum server memory. By default, SQL Server is configured with a minimum memory of 0MB and a maximum memory of 2147483647MB (2TB), as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16 Default minimum and maximum memory settings.

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The consequences of leaving the default values for these two settings is sometimes misunderstood and often overlooked. The minimum server memory setting specifies the amount of memory that will not be released back to the operating system by SQL Server when allocated. In other words, SQL Server holds on to this minimum amount of memory even if it is no longer needed.

Misconception
A common misconception is that SQL Server immediately allocates up to this minimum amount of memory upon startup. Instead, SQL Server allocates memory only as it is required and may or may not reach the minimum server memory value specified.

The minimum server memory setting does not need to be changed unless the operating system constantly requests memory resources for other applications sharing the same memory space. You want to avoid having to release too much memory to the operating system and potentially starve a SQL Server instance from memory.

On the other hand, the maximum server memory setting limits the maximum amount of memory a SQL Server instance can allocate. A value set too high can potentially starve an operating system from memory resources. The maximum server memory value should not equal or exceed the total amount of server memory available. This value should be at least 1GB less than the total server memory.

Additional SQL Server settings such as processor affinity, parallelism thresholds, login auditing, and network packet size may need to be configured depending on your environment requirements. You can configure the most commonly used SQL Server settings and properties using SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). You can access the complete set of configuration options using the sp_configure System Stored Procedure.

6. TCP/IP Ports

Default instances of SQL Server use default TCP/IP port 1433 to communicate with clients. Named SQL Server instances on the other hand are dynamically assigned TCP/IP ports upon service startup. For hacking prevention and firewall configuration purposes, you may need to change default ports and control the port numbers over which named SQL Server instances communicate.

SQL Server 2012 includes a tool called SQL Server Configuration Manager to manage SQL Server services and their related network configurations. The SQL Server Configuration Manager can be found under Microsoft SQL Server 2012 ? Configuration Tools folder in the Start Menu. Figure 17 shows the TCP/IP Properties dialog box in SQL Server Configuration Manager where the default 1433 port can be changed.

Figure 17 SQL Server Configuration Manager.

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Best Practices Analyzer (BPA)

The Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) is a free diagnostic tool that gathers information about installed SQL Server 2012 instances, determines if the configurations align to recommended best practices, outlines settings that do not align to these recommendations, indicates potential problems, and recommends solutions.

BPA can help you identify potential issues about your SQL Server 2012 installation. It is always best to catch configuration issues before a server goes into production to avoid unplanned downtime.

Patches

After a freshly installed SQL Server instance, it is always recommended to review available updates. SQL Server updates may be available in the form of hotfixes, cumulative updates, and service packs. To avoid negatively impacting your applications, all updates need to be reviewed carefully before they are applied. It is not recommended to enable automatic updates on production SQL Server instances. All updates should be tested in a controlled testing environment before they are applied in production.

Other updates, on the other hand, may be critical security fixes against newly discovered threats such as software worms and other vulnerabilities.

Monitoring

Being on top of what's going on in your SQL Server instances is one of the most important job functions of database administrators. With so many areas to monitor including resource utilization, performance, availability, critical events, errors, jobs, and so on, you must implement a monitoring framework to capture real-time metrics and keep the history of them to analyze trends and patterns.

SQL Server 2012 includes real-time monitoring through the Activity Monitor that can be launched from SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). In addition, SQL Server 2012 comes packed with a performance metric collection and monitoring framework called Management Data Warehouse that can help you keep track of you environment along with some of the included performance dashboards.

Other tools and features included with SQL Server 2012, such as SQL Server Profiler, Extended Events, and Dynamic Management Views (DMVs), can help you uncover details of running processes and pinpoint issues. You can also use Microsoft products such as System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) and other third-party tools to monitor SQL Server 2012 instances. For more details on Performance Monitoring, refer to Part 7, “Monitoring and Auditing.”

Model Database

The model database is a system database that serves as a template for all user databases. On creation, every user database inherits database objects from the model database including database options, such as recovery model, database initial size, and autogrowth settings, permissions, roles, tables, functions, stored procedures, and so on.

Modifying the model database ensures that all user databases have a standardized set of database objects when they are created, which can greatly simplify manual processes.

Other -----------------
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