Database Management Best Practices

April 12, 2019

Whether you’re an IT professional or a business owner, you have critical data that must be properly managed. It’s important to follow best practices for database management to optimize your server’s performance and ensure that data is available and recoverable. Here are some essential best practices for handling your database.

Create a standardized environment

Whenever possible, you should try to standardize your Server configurations. Keep the settings of your server and virtual machine (VM) as similar as you can. Try to also use the same versions for your Windows OS and your SQL server. Also, try to keep all of the plans for your database management and SQL Agent jobs lined up. A standardized environment will prevent errors and reduce unnecessary complexity.

Keep your database on a dedicated server

Your server instances should only run on a machine that is dedicated to database functions. There shouldn’t be any file or print services running on the database machine. It’s also best to avoid running multiple databases on the same server. For best results, disable unnecessary services in the operating system and database system.

The least privilege principle

Each person should only have the permissions that they need to have and nothing more. That means that developers should not have administrative permission, and you shouldn’t use the systems administrator account for a domain account. SQL Server accounts should be managed via a domain account. All applications should use a domain account to access the server rather than an administrative account.

Manage data and logs

AUTOGROW should almost always be enabled for data and log files. AUTOSHRINK should be disabled in order to avoid grow-shrink cycles. Create log and data files with enough space to avoid AUTOGROW events from occurring. Keep MDF data on a different disk than the LDF logs.

Devise and test restore and backup plans

When you need to restore data to a previous time, use the bulk or full recovery settings for the database. You should perform a full backup every day on every database system. It’s also a good idea to back up log files frequently throughout the day. The transaction log needs to be backed up if you’re using the full recovery mode. The most effective way to implement these practices is to create an SQL Agent job or Maintenance Plan that automates the backups. In order to verify backup integrity, restore with VERIFYONLY setting. It’s also important to perform regular restore tests to make sure the function works properly.

Database management is vital to organizations that handle sensitive or valuable data. Thorough procedures and well-informed personnel help to safeguard your business. Follow these essential database management best practices to avoid tragic or catastrophic data losses or security breaches.

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