ME Trial 11 – Objects, Tables, and Columns (and top 20 features!)

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A quick glance behind, and ahead

So last time, we introduced the Database Properties module, and had an op-ed on autogrow.

This time we’ll look at the Objects, Tables, and Columns modules. These are three separate modules – with their own jobs, tables, and so on – but they’re similar enough to talk about together. Our newsletter, our rules, right?

We’ll also quickly cover the top 20 features in Minion Enterprise.


The Objects, Tables, and Columns modules

The Objects module collects sys.objects data from each database.  Get the most recent collection from the Collector.SysObjectsCurrent view. (Note: The Objects Module does not collect data on system tables.)

The Tables module gathers data space used, index space used, rowcounts, and much more for every table, in every database, in every managed instance. For the most recent collection of table data, query Collector.TablePropertiesCurrent.

The Columns module collects data on table columns, including all of the type information, nullability, whether the column is computed or sparse, and so on.  (Note: By default, Minion Enterprise only logs column data for Gold level servers.)

What can we do with this?  The collection for SQL objects is extremely useful for determining when objects come and go from databases, and to investigate when an object might be missing from certain servers.

You can use collected table data to track specific table growth over time, see when the table was last modified, report on file groups, search for triggers, find replicated tables, and so on.

Use table column data to, for example, detect changes to tables over time, compare the data types for similarly named columns across your enterprise, or search for common issues (such as VARCHAR(1), or deprecated data types).

Objects in these modules

Tables

  • Collector.SysObjects – Stores the collections of database objects data.
  • Collector.TableProperties– Stores the collections of table data.
  • Collector.TableColumns – Stores the collections of column data.

Views

Each of the tables above have a %Current and a %Previous view, for the most current collection, and the next-to-most current collection.

Top 20 Features

Minion Enterprise (or just, “ME”) by MinionWare, LLC is an enterprise management solution for SQL Server.  ME gives a database administrator an unprecedented amount of power over the enterprise, through extensive data collection, smart alerting, and the means to easily configure important settings across multiple instances. The DBA stands at the center of a wealth of information, with the levers to configuration close at hand.

Once installed and configured with a server list, ME begins to collect data about each server right away, and begins alerting as needed. Changes in settings, database lists, stopped and started services, and more are automatically pulled into the Collector tables.

Furthermore, Minion Enterprise allows you to configure settings on the local repository, and then it automatically pushes those changes out to the appropriate instances. Run a single UPDATE statement to set file growth rates for a single instance – or across the enterprise – or to enable the sp_configure option ‘optimize for ad hoc workloads’.

For a one page PDF of Minion Enterprise highlights, visit www.MinionWare.net/Enterprise.

Twenty of the very best features of Minion Enterprise are, in a brief:

  1. Fast, simple setup and configuration – We have designed Minion Enterprise to set up as quickly as possible.  You’re up and running in less than ten minutes: collecting data, alerting, and scripting out schemas automatically.
  2. Central Server List – Keep a central list of SQL Server servers, and which applications they belong to. This central list is beneficial for tracking your enterprise, auditing, and onboarding new staff.
  3. Central Configuration – Centrally configure and manage SQL Server within Minion Enterprise. Make your changes inside Minion, and it then pushes your changes to all of the managed servers. ME even provides you the option of enforcing server-level (sp_configure) configuration values. If someone makes a change to the servers, ME will change it back to conform to policy.
  4. Windows Group Expansion – See exactly who has what permissions via all Windows groups, even when users are nested several levels deep in Active Directory.  ME makes it easy to display AD users and permission inheritance across one or more servers; and to research SQL Server access for just one user, across multiple servers.
  5. Service Down Alerting – Alert on SQL Server services that have stopped, across the whole enterprise.
  6. Disk Space Tracking and Alerting – Report on the disk space usage across your enterprise, and define space alert thresholds for specific disks.
  7. Routine Database Object Scripting – Script out all database objects regularly in order to retrieve schema changes. For example, if someone makes a change to a stored procedure on the wrong server, you have a record of the script before the change.
  8. Consolidated Alerts – Centralized, consolidated alerts for all servers. This prevents “alert storming” support personnel, so your alerts are truly meaningful again.
  9. Replication Tracking – Track replication latency, and alert when it passes your custom threshold.
  10. Track Table Sizes –  Query for data space used, index space used, and rowcounts for every table, in every database, in every managed instance.
  11. Central Index Research – ME collects index information from all managed servers. So, it’s easy to see which databases have, for example, the most clustered GUIDs, the most impactful missing indexes, and so on.
  12. Search Error Logs – Set up ongoing search terms for SQL Server and SQL Agent error logs, across the entire enterprise.
  13. Low Footprint – Minion Enterprise is a management system with central configuration, data collection, reporting, and alerting. It is not a traditional monitoring solution, and has very light resource overhead. Even better: ME drops absolutely zero objects on managed servers!
  14. Logical Server Grouping – Group servers by applications, and by service level (for example, Gold, Silver, and Bronze). This allows you to perform actions against only one application’s servers, against only that application’s production servers, against only Gold level servers, and so on.
  15. Backups Alerting – Minion Enterprise alerts on missed backups, even when a backup job didn’t run. For example, if SQL Server Agent is down on a managed instance, ME will still alert on missed backups.
  16. Alert on Database Changes – Query and alert on any database property change.
  17. Database Create/Drop History – Retain history of database creation and deletion.
  18. Centralized SID Server – Keep a central list of SQL Server logins, and their assigned ID number (“SID”). Standardizing login SIDs across your enterprise prevents the common orphaned users issue.
  19. Integrates with free modules – Minion Enterprise integrates very easily with the free MinionWare modules: Minion Backup, Minion Reindex, and Minion CheckDB (coming early 2016).
  20. Data Archiving – Minion Enterprise includes a process to archive out collector data, and any other data that grows over time.

Objects, Tables, and Columns – this is a prime example of our philosophy, “Log everything, report on anything”.  Write us with questions and comments any time at https://minionware.desk.com/, and get more information on our Minion Enterprise YouTube playlist.

You only have a few days left of your Minion Enterprise 30 day trial!
Write to us today at
MinionWareSales@MidnightDBA.com for a demo and a quote.

Next time we’ll talk about AD Group Members.

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