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Cranky Series: Your Server is NOT a Workstation


August 24, 2012 by Mike Hillwig

Welcome to the Friday edition of my How Not to be a Cranky DBA series. It’s been a rough week, and this seems like the perfect way to end this week’s part of the series.

If you ever want to see me go completely apeshit at work, let me catch someone using Remote Desktop on one of my production SQL Server instances.

What would be worse than that? Running SQL Management Studio via RDP from a production box? Why? I have my servers pretty well tuned so that they use memory fairly optimally. SQL Management Studio is built on the Visual Studio Development platform. And it’s a beast when it comes to memory consumption. Running SSMS on a production box is going to take memory away from other things, and will most likely cause the server to start paging. And that’s likely to make me all cranky.

The funny thing is that SQL Management studio is installed on every computer in our company. Why in the world would anyone need to use Remote Desktop if they already have the software? Now, we do have some issues with domain trusts with a few domains, but still, this is why we’re using SQL logins. I know. I know. But in our case, until I can get our security team to make the domains trust each other, it’s a bit of a pickle.

In some cases, there are security policies that require DBAs to have multiple accounts. Embrace the RUNAS command. It will make you sane again.

Another option, and this is what we do today, is that we have people RDP to a specific management server, and then connect to the SQL instance from there. That management server pretty much serves as a jump box, allowing people to use AD authentication.