Chapter 25 – Working with maintenance plans

Maintenance plans generally get a pretty bad rap with a lot of the more seasoned (read: OLDer) DBA’s out there.  I think that this is due to a myriad of reasons, few of which warrant the negative viewpoint in SQL Server 2005 (post SP2) and SQL Server 2008.

In this chapter, Tibor Karaszi (Blog | Twitter), goes through the available options of maintenance plans and offers descriptions, use cases and his own opinion of which tasks he prefers and which tasks he really, really dislikes. 

Prior to SQL Server 2008, I did not have a positive opinion on maintenance plans.  Over the last couple of years, that opinion has changed drastically.  One of the reasons for this change is, as Tibor said in the chapter;


I hesitate to leave home-grown maintenance jobs with customers who do not have the competency to maintain this code over time.

Compentency is one reason that I’ve run into but more frequently it’s around resource allocation.  In today’s database environments, I’m increasingly seeing shops with a lot of database work that needs to be done and there simply isn’t time to perfectly fine-tune or write your own re-indexing scripts.  With clients who actually ship their code base / database as part of a product, this is nearly always the case as environmental and/or customization considerations make it incredibly challenging to build in your own maintenance routines. 

With that said, there are clients and databases where maintenance plans just don’t cut it.  As with anything, there are limitations to what maintenance plans can do really well, however that list has grown in recent releases.  So, if in the past you have thrown out the idea of maintence plans due to a poor experience in SQL Server 2000 or another build pre-2005 SP2, I’d highly recommend that you take them for a spin.


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