Cranky Series: Master the SQL Agent

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August 17, 2012 by Mike Hillwig

This photo had the potential to go bad. I almost went with a black leather/latex theme. But then I thought better of it.

The SQL Server Agent is one of the most powerful pieces of technology in SQL Server. No, it’s not flashy and cool like spelunking through the plan cache or policy based management, but it can do an awful lot.

I love being able to manage my own alerts using it. And severity alerts let you know what’s happening in your environment.

The best part about the SQL Agent is that pretty much anything that can be done with T-SQL can be automated. My environment has zero maintenance plans. That means EVERYTHING is a SQL script. And because we don’t have the DBA manpower (person power?) to log into every instance every day, we automate as much as we can.

Yes, there are some third party products out there that can do things better. But since I’m in a hosting environment, incremental costs per instance must be contained. That means we write as much as we can ourselves or leverage what comes with the product. And I’m hardly a developer. If I can’t do it with T-SQL, it probably doesn’t get done. So I leverage the SQL Agent a lot.

This can’t be said enough: Multi-Sever Administration is awesome. If you can do it with TSQL, you can do it on every server. One of these days I need to really document what you can do with it. Most of the blog posts I’ve seen don’t even scratch the surface.