TSQL Tuesday: Life Hacks

My Pluralsight course for new SQL Server DBAs

T-SQL Tuesday is a monthly blog party for the SQL Server community. It is the brainchild of Adam Machanic (b|t) and this month’s edition is hosted by Jess Pomfret (b|t), who  has asked us to write about “Life hacks to make your day easier“.

So many hacks accumulated over 30+ years of adulting…


Coffee timer. I will not own a coffee maker that doesn’t have an “Easy to change for the weekend” timer built-in. The last thing I need to try to do is set up coffee in the morning. I wake up, get cofee, get to work. Starts the whole day off on the right foot!

Technical, the first:

Since I am an independent consultant here under the Dallas DBAs name, I am frequently asked to come in and quickly find out why the server is so slow. Sometimes by existing customers, sometimes out of nowhere. Many of these times I cannot make any “permanent” or “lasting” changes, so my go-to is to run sp_whoisactive as a temporary stored procedure (code in link). Works the same, nothing left behind, no corporate policies violated.

Technical, the SQL:

Registered server queries:

registered server window in SSMS

In SSMS, we are all used to the Object Explorer window showing the SQL Servers we have connected to. A surprising number of people do not know about the Registered Servers window (Ctrl-Alt-G) that does not appear by default. In this you can register and group servers, and then run queries against all of them or any subset depending on how you group them.

My preference is use Prod and Non-Prod Groups for my clients with more than a few instances.

You can even export these settings so other people can easily have the same list without having to add them one by one. The most servers I have ever managed at once was 130.  Every morning I ran SELECT @@SERVERNAME against the whole group just to see who wasn’t responding on any given day.

This is profile/machine specific, so its great for those that work in a corporate environment using SSMS from their laptop. Works well when set up on a jump box via RDP too.  Not so much when the client has you remoting into a prod server directly and you have to keep changing your RDP target.

Thanks for reading!


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