Often its more appealing to avoid problems than to solve problems after they occurred. One type of prevention is by working with best practices: rules of thumb that worldwide or just within your company have been tried, tested and refined. The problem often is: how can we inspect that our systems, users and applications are applying these best practices? For SQL Server 2000 and 2005, Microsoft released a tool which can check some of the best practices against a live database, but this tool doesn’t exist anymore on SQL Server 2008.
Why did they discontinued this best practice analyzer? Very simple: they invented something better, something with which you can inspect Microsoft’s predefined best practices as well as implement your own best practices, or ‘policies’ as they are called. This framework is called “Policy Based Management”, and is available on all editions of SQL Server 2008, even on the Express edition. The framework doesn’t only allow you to check against these policies, but even allows you to enforce policies: it can block the creation of objects which violate policies, or automatically modify objects to make them compliant with the policy.
If you want to see this policy based management framework in action, come to the Belgian SQL Server day on december 3, 2009 in Utopolis, Mechelen, where – besides my talk on policy based management, you can attend talks on the administration, development and BI aspects of SQL Server, and get a glimpse of the new SQL Server 2008 R2 release.