We just upgraded the Minion Maintenance suite!

Welcome to the next version of Minion Maintenance! Now you have a single installer for all three modules, plus new features and fixes for the entire backup and maintenance suite!

If you take a look at the page for Minion Backup, Minion Reindex, or Minion CheckDB, you’ll see that the download now says “Minion Maintenance 1.1”. Welcome to the next version!

Now you have a single installer for all three modules, plus new features and fixes for the entire backup and maintenance suite!

Minion Backup and Minion CheckDB got some important fixes, but it’s Minion Reindex that’s the real star of this release. MR was added to the unified installer, got on board the table-based scheduling bandwagon, and received an overall shine, polish, and upgrade. See “New in Reindex”, below!

Download and install

First, download Minion Maintenance from either Minion Backup, Minion Reindex, or Minion CheckDB…it’s the same system no matter where you download it!

Next, extract the files and install using the Minion Install Guide document that’s included in the download.

New in Reindex

New features:

  • Reindex heaps: New setting in the settings tables lets you choose whether to reindex heaps, or not.
  • Database groups: Minion Reindex DB groups for include and exclude.
  • Updated internals: MR now uses the DBMaintSQLInfoGet function, like MC and MB do.
  • Scheduling: The Minion.IndexMaintSettingsServer table provides table-based scheduling, just like Minion Backup and Minion CheckDB.
  • Install: New Powershell installer!
  • “Current” views: Minion.IndexMaintLogCurrent and IndexMaintLogDetailsCurrent show you the most recent set of activity.

Issues resolved:

  • Fixed: Some errors were not captured in the log tables.
  • Fixed: Japanese/international characters in a table name caused errors.
  • Fixed: Performance issues.
  • Fixed: Issue with object names in brackets. If object names have square brackets in the name, it will cause a syntax error. We now surround object names in double quotes instead of brackets.
  • Fixed: Issue with running PrepOnly then RunPrepped immediately after, in the same window.
  • Fixed: Formatting issues in Minion.HELP.
  • Fixed: Updated code “section” comments.

New in Backup

  • Added delete for SyncCmds
  • Fixed: Creating “Christmas tree folders” when using robocopy with multiple files.
  • Fixed: Missing a couple of entries in the InlineTokens table.
  • Fixed: Some sync commands being written to SyncCmds table even though SyncLogs is 0.
  • Fixed: Wasn’t logging properly when a DB is in an AG.
  • Fixed: Formatting issues in Minion.HELP.
  • Fixed: Wrong restore location when restoring to a named instance and the path is being converted from a local drive.  The instance name was being included in the UNC path.

New in CheckDB

  • Fixed: Data explosion for remote CheckDB results pull. Remote runs were pulling all of the CheckDBResult data instead of just for the current run.
  • Fixed: ServerName not populating correctly for remote CheckDB for the Minion Enterprise import.
  • Fixed: MinionTriggerPath wasn’t set correctly for the base folder.
  • Fixed: Databases with periods or other special characters may not import into Minion Enterprise for central reporting. Changed delimiter for the import process to accommodate this better.

Download Minion Maintenance from any of the maintenance pages today! Minion Backup, Minion Reindex, or Minion CheckDB.

Integrity Checks are Useless*

Integrity checks have become more and more important over the years, as companies store more and more data. This data is absolutely critical, so when corruption happens, it can break a company. But in all but the smallest shops, running any kind of integrity check is all but completely useless. Unless you have Minion CheckDB.

Integrity checks have become more and more important over the years, as companies store more and more data. This data is absolutely critical, so when corruption happens, it can break a company.

But in all but the smallest shops, running any kind of integrity check is all but completely useless.

Integrity checks without management

DBCC CHECKDB was originally written without consideration of management. For a very long time, you could only output CHECKDB results to the client – meaning you had to run it by hand – or to the error log. Seriously, what good is that? Later, Microsoft added the ability to output CHECKDB results to a table, but that remained undocumented for years so very few people knew it even existed.

That’s not the only problem. A lot of DBAs don’t run CHECKDB at all, because large databases take a long time to process. CHECKDB takes an internal snapshot for its operations. For large databases, that snapshot can fill up the drive, killing the integrity check process entirely. So, you have nothing to show for your efforts. Some DBAs tried to get around this issue by moving to CHECKTABLE instead, but that process comes with the same issues, and is even harder to manage because there are so many more tables than databases.

Integrity checks without reporting

Another reason that running DBCC CHECKDB is useless is this: reporting is still very difficult. Let’s say you have 50 servers – yes, I know a lot of you may have many more than that – and CHECKDB is set to run through a maintenance plan, outputting results to the SQL error log. In this scenario, you have to mine the log for CHECKDB results. That means you not only have to know when the CHECKDB completes on each and every server, but you also have to know what the log entry will look like, and how to parse out the results so they’re readable…again, on every single one of 50 servers. There is simply no easy way to consume CHECKDB results on any kind of scale.

Useful integrity checks with Minion CheckDBMinion makes integrity checks useful again

The whole goal of Minion CHECKDB was to transform these issues surrounding integrity check processing into simple settings. Now DBAs of every skill level can have a stable, standardized integrity check process for even their largest databases.

Minion CHECKDB has a huge number of groundbreaking features. MC solves the reporting problem by capturing integrity check results to our own log table, along with a huge amount of additional information. Now it just takes a simple query to get the results. Instead of the native raw CHECKDB results, the MC log table tells you how many corruption errors were encountered. Then you can drill deeper from there if you like.

We’ve also solved the problem of the large database that can’t be processed because it runs out of snapshot space. In fact, we’ve solved that a few ways, and I’ll discuss a couple of them here.

  • You can create a custom snapshot on a different drive that has more space. MC manages those snapshots for you, so it’s literally a set and forget operation.
  • Or, you can restore a recent backup of your database to a remote system and run CHECKDB against that instead. Remote CHECKDB even brings the results back to the primary server, so you don’t have to go hunting for them. Again, this is a setting; you configure it, and then MC manages the whole process for you.

Of course, there’s more

There are many more features in Minion CHECKDB that I didn’t mention. But since MC is completely free, you can download it and install it on as many instances as you want. Go explore!

Put MC on all your systems and start doing integrity checks again. We’ve taken away all the excuses. And when coupled with Minion Backup and Minion Reindex (both also free), you’ve got a maintenance suite that meets all your needs from planning to reporting, and everything in between.

 

*Without proper management and reporting!

Share custom solutions in the MinionWare Community Zone

The Minion backup and maintenance modules are free, and completely open. So it’s really easy for our target audience (DBAs) to write their own queries, alerts, reports, and whatever else they could possibly need. And now, they can share those solutions online at the MinionWare Community Zone. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Since we released Minion Reindex over a year and a half ago, we’ve had a ton of wonderful feedback, praise, questions, and best of all, custom made solutions to custom in-house problems.

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You see, Minion Reindex and Minion Backup are both free, and completely open. Nothing’s encrypted, and all data and configuration options are in tables. Minion Enterprise also stores configurations and collected data in tables (and, provides views and functions for easy access). So it’s really easy for our target audience – that is, database administrators – to write their own queries, alerts, reports, and whatever else they could possibly need.

And now, they can share those solutions online at the MinionWare Community Zone.

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