For ease of maintenance and performance reasons, we always aim to standardised our SQL Server estates (some of which contain over 100 instances). Everything is synchronised for their specific workload pools, so all search servers and all reporting servers are identical etc. Not only do we standardise the hardware or the VMs, but we ensure that every setting bar the IP and name are identical. This is easy is to achieve if you’ve recently built your estate from clones, but after a while the server configuration can drift, which could impact the performance and stability.
When you have an issue on standardised kit, your first question is usually what’s changed or how is that server different to the others. With over 100 instances to check, this can take a while to diagnose, but you usually find that a setting has changed or a job has been disabled. If you don’t find anything, then you still have an answer and can focus your time elsewhere. You can get a long way with scripts, either dumping to a central table or using a multi-script tool like CMS or Aireforge Script, or even policy-based management, but we found that these approaches still didn’t cut it.
Aireforge Studio instantly compares a large number of settings and uses some logic to ignore false positives, such as differences with server names within jobs. The list of what it compares increases with every release but here’s an overview.
What does Aireforge Studio compare?
- Naming (server, instance etc.)
- Version information (version, edition, service packs, cumulative updates etc.)
- Instance configuration settings (memory, fill factor, max worker threads, recovery interval, CLR settings, compression settings etc.)
- Instance properties (clustering info, edition, service pack & patch level information etc.)
- Database settings (auto shrink, snapshot isolation, page verify option, CDC, CT, compatibility level, recovery model etc.)
- Database file settings (auto growth, initial size, naming, state)
- Registered servers
- Assemblies (creation / modification date, CRL name etc.)
- Service information (account, start up type (manual or automatic))
- Registry information (Port, working directory etc.)
- Server (DDL) triggers
- Endpoint information
- SQL Server Agent Jobs
Examples of what you can use it for.
- Full comparisons or partial comparisons; just checking jobs, versions, users etc.
- Synchronising the estate. Keep all of your servers synchronised, taking some of the guess work out of service issues and misbehaving servers.
- Auditing the estate. You can easily compare every server (limited to 500 but contact the team if you need more).
- Testing / Performance Tuning. Create a backup of the configuration before making changes during testing. Store the output with your test results so you can look back and recreate the exact configuration during the tests.
- Compare single output files to check for differences over time.
- Share configurations with colleagues or use saved configurations as a reference.
- Create example files to distribute with your software to aid installations.
- Use Aireforge Studio to remotely check customer configurations, reducing support costs and turnaround times.
If you would like to download Aireforge Studio, you can do so by using the following the link.