Rules to Better SQL Server Administration

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  1. Do you know to never give SQL Server all your RAM?

    Microsoft SQL Server is made to use all the available memory in a server for itself. It will eat all the memory you throw at it. This can be a problem because your other applications may suffer performance problems as all the system memory is gone. To limit this behaviour you can limit the maximum amount of memory SQL is allowed to use.
    1. Open SQL Server Management Studio
    2. Right click on the server name and select “Properties”
    3. Select the “Memory” tab
    4. You will see that the default number is HUGE. Change this to something more realistic. Let SQL use half of the memory in your server.Leave about 1024MB headroom. For example, if you server has 4GB of RAM, give the SQL server a Maximum server memory of 2048mb.
    This will prevent SQL from “owning” all of the RAM on your system,leaving some memory left for your other applications to use.
  2. Do you turn off auto update on your servers?

    It is not a good idea to have Windows Update automatically updating your servers.  There are a few reasons.

    1. The hotfix could bring down a production environment. (This issue previously happened)
    2. In fact, even in a development environment this could be hours of lost work as the development team struggles to understand why only some of the developers' servers magically and mysteriously broke overnight.
    3. Windows Update could restart your server, or put your server in a state where it requires restarting - preventing any urgent MSI installs without bringing down the server.

    Windows Update remains the best thing for end-users to protect their systems.  But in a server, especially a production server environment - Windows Update patches are just like any new versions of the software that's built internally.  It should be tested and then deployed in a controlled manner.

    So recommendations:

    1. Windows Updates may be critical and should be kept relatively up to date.
    2. Have a plan where your awesome Network Admins schedule time to keep the servers up to date - including testing that the servers still perform its functions.
    3. Turn off Automatic Windows Update on Windows Servers