If you’re in business, then its likely you’ve got a database such as Exchange, SharePoint and SQL, and all the responsibility (and headaches) that go along with owning one. Without properly maintaining databases, in time, your applications dependent on them will slow and employees will have difficulty completing tasks. Those frustrations lead to a loss in productivity and a greater use of resources to accomplish everyday operations.

Maintaining Database Steps: 

  • Looking for signs of corruption from a hardware fault, 3rd party driver or firmware, data-retentionor platform issues
  • Reorganizing the database to remove old and deleted data and logs
  • Managing and reviewing log files to trace odd program behavior or system access events
  • Cleaning up leftover maintenance data by removing unneeded files allows your database to respond faster
  • Rebuilding indexes regularly. Over time, index fragmentation can lead to gaps in data pages and logical fragmentation, which in turn leads to increased disk I/O and latency.
  • Deleting historical data related to backup and restore activities to help your database to run more efficiently
  • Backup your database regularly in order to recover from upgrades that don’t play nice, corrupted tables and other system problems that can lead to full-on disasters

Microsoft backup/restore procedures to maintain the integrity of the database can assist with many of the above activities.  While the Microsoft procedures are not an effective backup strategy by itself, it does take care of the integral database maintenance processes such as re-indexing, shrinking and error repairing.

Database maintenance activities are critical for your cloud backup. If you regularly backup a bad or bloated database, it’s likely these systems have run with unnoticed errors until they are restarted.  When an administrator discovers the unresponsive database, they may decide to overlay the system with a backup. Havoc ensues when they find that the error was undetected for weeks or months and there is not healthy backup in which to restore – and that means a loss of data.

The optimum database maintenance strategy is to do both onsite and offsite database backup and restore activities: a frequent cloud backup and quarterly Microsoft backup/restore practices keep a database running smoothly.

Additional resources on Microsoft Exchange database maintenance:

  • Overgrowth/size issues
  • General Maintenance – This article is especially important as it discusses why the database can go bad.  It also goes into automatic maintenance which is included with server 2010 and 2012, but many customers are still running 2003 which has no automation.
  • Actual good practice tasks:  (look at the referenced Technet article)

Additional resources on SQL/SharePoint database maintenance: