So You Inherited a Database Server…

Warning!

It’s Friday and I’m feeling a bit wacky (what else is new, right?). So… I thought I would write about something that’s been on my list for a few months now and put an amusing spin on it. Well, at least I find it amusing. 🙂

Several months ago, we inherited several database servers from another department. Our job was to bring them up to our standards when they were brought onto our network. Luckily, they all had SQL Server 2005, 2008 or 2008 R2 installed on them. Whew!  It was by far a very enlightening experience considering these servers were not set up by database administrators. However, they didn’t do all that bad of a job considering. Note: These servers were also brought onto our domain from a different one which involved lots of Active Directory account additions which affected accounts on these servers.  

Anyway, to help relieve some of the stress, I couldn’t resist putting together a list of steps to be performed while bringing the servers onto our network and up to our standards. This list does not contain everything we did but it’s somewhat close. On a serious note, many months of planning and hard work went into this project by all of IT. There was quite a bit more that went into it.  This is but a small slice of our part. While this list was written in jest, there may actually be a few useful nuggets of information in there. Disclaimer: I put this list together for fun to release some stress. We did not actually partake of every step outlined. I’m hopeful you can spot the “what we actually did” steps versus the “wishful thinking” steps. 😉

 Generic Work Breakdown Steps (WBS) for Database Server Integration:

DBA Survival Kit Option #1
  1. Retrieve your DBA Survival Kit. It should contain the following items:
    • 1 shot glass
    • 1-3 large bags of dark chocolate, dependent on the duration of the integration and the number of non-DBAs involved
    • 1 large bottle of your choice beverage
    • 1 tin of breath mints
    • 1-3 rolls of duct tape, dependent on the duration of the integration and the number of non-DBAs involved
    • 1 sarcastic ball (note: it is like a Magic 8 ball but displays sarcastic answers such as “whatever” or “ask me if I care”)
    • 1 pillow and blanket set
    • Music playlist of your choice
  2. Retrieve your stash of chocolate and partake of one piece for quality assurance testing.
    • Test a few more pieces just to be sure it’s worthy.
  3. Open the bottle of your choice beverage. Help yourself to one shot to ensure it’s of good quality.
  4. Obtain all SQL login passwords including the SA account.
  5. Start music playlist.
  6. Ignore the voices in your head.
  7. Verify/add domain account as a local admin onto the server for the Database team to use to manage the servers.
  8. Turn on the SQL Agent, if it’s disabled.
    • If it’s been turned off, smack person responsible upside the head unless they have a good reason why it’s been disabled.
  9. Change all SQL-related service accounts to the domain account dedicated to running the SQL services.
    • If the service accounts were running under any local accounts, find out why.
    • If it’s the wrong answer, smack person responsible upside the head.
    • Help yourself to a piece of chocolate.
  10. Manually back up all databases on all instances to a designated area including all system databases.
    • Make note of where you put them for future reference. Feel free to be descriptive.
    • Note: “where the sun doesn’t shine” doesn’t count.
    • Tell the voices in your head to shut up.
  11. Script all logins and save the script to the network.
    • Again, make note of where you put it.
  12. Add the SQL Server domain account to the SQL Server instance as sysadmin.
  13. If they brought their own chocolate, add your team’s Active Directory (AD) accounts to the SQL Server instances as sysadmin.
  14. Coordinate with the applications team to determine how the applications are connecting to the databases.
    • May need to run Profiler traces.
    • Help yourself to a generous shot of your choice beverage.
  15. Work with the applications team during the changing of all sysadmin SQL account passwords including the SA account since it is possible (and very likely) applications are using those accounts.
    • Have some more chocolate… followed by another shot of your choice beverage… or four…

      DBA Survival Kit Option #2
  16. Work with the application team during the addition of any new accounts and disabling the old accounts to ensure the application still works.
    • Add new AD accounts.
    • Set permissions for new AD accounts.
    • Change database owners.
      • WARNING! WARNING! Changing the database owner may break something!
      • Down one shot of your choice beverage per database owner changed followed by a few more pieces of chocolate.
    • Disable the old AD accounts.
    • Pray to the SQL gods everything still works.
    • Help yourself to another shot of your choice beverage just in case. Down another one to appease the SQL gods. Better safe than sorry, right?
  17. Configure / reconfigure database mail
    • Send a test email to the server admins informing them the database servers have unanimously decided the DBA team is worthy of more chocolate and it would please the database servers greatly if chocolate was sent to the DBAs… preferably good quality dark chocolate… on a regular basis…

      A tutu? Seriously?
  18. Verify the original database assessment.
    • Note any changes or discrepancies.
    • Help yourself to two more shots of your choice beverage – one for you and one for the bacon slinging monkey dancing around on your desk wearing a pink tutu. Keep the duct tape out of the monkey’s reach…
  19. Inform your minions, err… the applications team that they have now been bequeathed permission to allow the peasants, err… users to test their logins to ensure they are able to access the databases through the applications.
  20. Work with them to troubleshoot any database-related issues. Keep the sarcastic ball in reach.
    • Finish off another shot of your choice beverage.
    • Scarf down more chocolate.
    • Repeat until the issues are resolved or you run out of your choice beverage and chocolate, whichever comes first.
  21. Set up maintenance plans, if they don’t exist.
    • Ensure the maintenance plans work.
    • Cross your fingers and toes and everything else you can think of.
    • Finish off your choice beverage and chocolate.

      ahhhh... where's that duct tape? hey! who took my blanket?
  22. Retrieve your blanket and pillow making yourself comfy.
  23. Fling mints at the monkey to keep it from dancing an Irish jig on your bladder.
  24. Apply duct tape to keep yourself from falling off the face of the earth.
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9 thoughts on “So You Inherited a Database Server…

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