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MS SQL Server Engineering Audits Process & Value

The single, largest factor to SQL Server performance, reliability, data integrity, security, and the ability to generate the types of reports and data analytics that are necessary to drive business decisions, is the underlying SQL Server schema design.

Practical Computer Applications (PCA) provides SQL Server Engineering Audit services to determine underlying design (architecture) and implementation (coding) root-causes behind poor SQL Server performance, data integrity, security and system reliability issues. Our SQL Server Engineering team will perform a thorough assessment of your SQL Server database to identify any design and implementation issues that we believe are impediments to your database application.

We will then recommend the appropriate remedial engineering techniques necessary for a stable, high performance system that is more cost-effective to maintain and extend.

The root-cause behind most SQL Server issues can often be traced to deficiencies in the SQL Server database design itself, and/or the absence or misuse of proper SQL Server engineering methods. It is rarely the case that simply throwing more hardware at the problem will resolve these underlying issues.

We employ a standard check-list of SQL Server schema design and implementation methods to determine the issues that impair system performance, data integrity, availability, security, and overall system maintainability.

SQL Server applications can involve a number of variables and moving parts — database architecture, table structures and coding techniques, application-side code, 3rd-party controls, web services, server hardware resources and configuration, network, and IP. It is quite common for problems and bottlenecks to occur in more than on area of the system. This is why it is critically important that an evaluation take into consideration all of these variables, so as to avoid spending time and money on areas that have marginal impact on the quality of the system.

The SQL Audit Process

Twoor three senior SQL Server Engineers perform independent appraisals of your system. The time and effort required depends largely upon the size and complexity of your system.  We have completed some audits within three weeks.  Other audits have taken eight weeks to complete.

Information gathered during the audit phase is loaded into our custom built data visualization application which provides a good way to visually see and interpret the information.   We develop our recommendations and scripts for modifications to SQL Server using the PCA SQL Audit tool, and our SQL Audit Visualization Console.

PCA management and staff engineers meet to discuss independent findings and developed a consensus view of our observations along with specific remedial engineering recommendations. We believe we have the highest likelihood to improve system performance and reliability.

Once both Engineers have completed their independent appraisals, we meet as a team to discuss the findings, reconcile any gaps or overlaps, and develop a consensus, prioritized view of our observations and recommendations.

Our SQL Server Audits are fully documented. Clients receive three documents: a high-level management overview that describes the audit scope and methodology, along with our summary findings and key recommendations.

In addition, we will deliver both source audits which contain the engineering details behind our summary findings and recommendations. These contain specific observations, area(s) of impact, severity, and recommended remedial engineering techniques. You can engage us to guide your in-house developers, or we can perform whatever remedial engineering services are required.

View a sample SQL Server Audit Template that we use in this process.

The Value of a SQL Server Audit

Here are common reasons why business owners and executives have engaged PCA to perform a SQL Server Audit:

  • “We outsourced development of our SQL Server system. The project is well over budget and over schedule, and we need to find what where we REALLY ARE with respect to completion and schedule”
  • “We recently completed development of a SQL Server application, and we are getting ready to put the new system into production. Before I do this I would like a professional appraisal of our work, so I can sleep better at night.”
  • “I have lost confidence that my developers can get the job done, and I need to figure out all the open items, and what is needed to get the project wrapped-up and deployed.”
  • “I just spent good money upgrading my server hardware, with no appreciable improvement in overall system performance or reliability. In fact, I think my system might even be a little slower now!”
  • “I recently upgraded my SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2008, and it’s the same slow system as before… what are we missing here?”
  • “We are thinking about acquiring this software company, and we need an independent, expert appraisal of the quality and completeness of a SQL Server asset.”
  • “I licensed a SQL Server-based system from a vendor, and the slow performance is killing our business. They keep telling me to invest in more Server resources, but I am not convinced this will help.”

Contact us today for a free consultation to determine if we help you using the form to the right, live chat, or call us at 617-527-4722. We look forward to speaking with you.