A New Approach to Compiling an SQL Server Inventory with SQLDocKit

In this article we discuss the necessity of keeping your SQL Server environment organized. Further on, we discuss some of the most common problems SQL admins deal with when faced with a challenge of manually gathering SQL Server inventory.

SQL administration is complicated enough, and whether you are a consultant or perhaps an in house SQL admin, gathering an SQL Server inventory is a priority. Why? Because soon enough you could end up with any number of SQL server instances and databases that you weren’t even aware of.

Also, as you already know keeping tabs on your environment is just as crucial for optimized functioning of the IT department as saving storage resources, proper financial management, and for that matter, how the company operates as a whole.

Now, imagine I asked you a flat-out simple question:

“How many SQL Servers do you have in your environment?”

I presume you would have some vague idea or at least where to start looking. However, even then, would you really know?

So if you don’t know exactly where your SQL Servers are, and how many there are, how can you possibly be expected to perform a regular maintenance? Well, obviously, you couldn’t. To complicate matters even further, developers with admin permissions occasionally install numerous SQL Server instances for testing purposes without telling anyone.

Searching for SQL Server instances without a proper tool, and checking each and every server for information like the instance name, SQL Version, SQL Edition or SQL Service Pack that’s installed, is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Let’s get to the point:

You need an SQL Server inventory tool so you don’t have to manually identify all SQL Servers in your domain. Say hello to SQLDocKit—a new tool on the market developed for SQL administrators.

The importance of regular SQL Server inventory management

Bearing in mind that installing and setting up an SQL Server is a bit easier than installing and setting up SharePoint, and that certain editions are free opens the door to anyone who wishes to install SQL Server Express, especially developers and the QA team in the IT department. This then leads to cramming SQL Servers wherever possible without people even knowing that they exist.

When discussing the importance of regular SQL Server inventory management and some of the scenarios that occur, we mostly find ourselves puzzled about how many SQL Servers we own. And I can tell you, it has happened to us, hitting us like a ton of bricks. Imagine an IT development company completely baffled by an internal problem regarding SQL Servers: we were in the dark about how many SQL server instances we had. We had reached a point where we were virtually guessing and speculating, which is initially how the idea of creating SQLDocKit came to us.

Now, with SQLDocKit you no longer have to stress about SQL Server inventory management. Here’s why:

  • Keep tabs on disk space

Take Timothy for example. Timothy is your ordinary SQL admin battling 100+ servers and storage issues. His job is gruesome, involving digging and drilling tasks to optimize the company’s hardware and disk space. Storage space costs, and if you can’t take matters into your own hands, you’re wasting your company’s valuable resources.

Now, with SQLDocKit, Timothy knows the exact size of the disks, available free space, and oversees the databases that are no longer scattered around and growing uncontrollably. Grasp, if you can, having 7 TB of pure database chaos rampaging in your domain. Then what? How about you be the hero that informs your CIO that, with the help of this tool called SQLDocKit, you just saved 5 TB of storage by detecting unused stuff?

SQLDocKit checks the free space on your logical disks, log size usage, and growth trends for the data and logs. Our SQL Server inventory tool is able to create growth trends and to forecast when you will reach the limit of your hard disk free space. Arguably, Timothy’s main concern is disk space. If his Microsoft SQL database servers run out of space, users will experience an outage to be avoided at any cost. SQLDocKit can tell you exactly which databases aren’t in use, who their owners are, how much space they take up, and where are they.

Be sure to check what kind of various reports SQLDocKit has up its sleeve—visit our SQL Server reporting section.

  • SQLDocKit autodetect feature

That’s the thing, the SQLDocKit autodetect feature works like a charm, ensuring that each and every SQL instance running in your environment is tracked down. Additionally, we’ve stepped up our game a notch and made it possible for SQLDocKit to autodiscover new servers too, so if someone deploys a new instance, you will be alerted right away. We have prepared a diagram to show you how it works.

SQLDocKit - diagram shows you how SQLDocKit crawls and autodiscovers SQL Servers in your entire domain.

  • Data protection

Joan supervises permissions on all servers and SQL databases, deciding who has access to highly sensitive and private information that should be off limits to other employees, as well as checking that everyone is granted an appropriate permission. Granting permissions is no joke.  Now, Joan—armed with SQLDocKit—can find out, in just a few clicks, who the database admins are, and take certain precautionary measures if needed.

  • License compliance

Calculating the exact number of license keys is always a tough cookie: how many licenses do you have and how many servers? As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for companies to have more servers than they have licenses. And that’s swimming in murky waters and can sometimes lead to an audit by Microsoft. Perhaps your colleague Peter is in charge of calculating how many licenses you need, so he can order more or cancel unused ones. SQLDocKit helps Peter easily manage licenses, save resources and avoid penalty costs by Microsoft.

  • Versions, editions, and service packs—keep track of it all!

Being an SQL admin and a professional, you can’t afford to have any unpleasant surprises such as accidentally forgetting to patch something because you haven’t a clue which SQL Version, SQL Edition or SQL Service Pack has been installed. Making sure you patch all of your 50+ servers without missing a single service pack can be nerve-shattering. So why even bother when you have SQLDocKit to inform you of everything?

  • Generate an SQL Server inventory and full documentation at the drop of a hat

Use SQLDocKit to create professional-looking documentation containing all your SQL Server settings. Get used to performing more in less time: in a single click, collect enterprise-wide SQL Server configurations that you can additionally customize with a template to make your SQL Server documentation complete.

What used to take hours can now be achieved in less than a minute. We prepared a short demo to show you how it works:

All SQLDocKit reports can be:

  • Delivered via email
  • Saved to your SharePoint site
  • Stored on a File Share system

Maintain your sanity in the chaotic world of SQL Servers and download SQLDocKit now.