What is database maintenance?

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A database stores information. A database acts like a digital library by organizing all your information and allowing users to access and edit data. However, databases have limited storage space. If your database is full, it can slow your system to a crawl or even take it offline.

When your database has issues, it can quickly become an all-stop crisis. Productivity is at a halt until the database is repaired.

Fixing a database may be as complicated as building a new server or as simple as regular maintenance. Database maintenance involves removing unnecessary data to clear memory space.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped hundreds of clients build successful IT strategies and processes while utilizing effective technology.

By reading this article, you will learn the different kinds of database maintenance and what they accomplish.

5 Steps of SQL Database Maintenance

A Structured Query Language Server (SQL Server) database is one of the popular database systems.

Database systems use a combination of complex hardware and software. In addition, any interaction within the database is stored as "logs." Database maintenance involves removing unnecessary logs and files to clear memory space.

Before you can clear space, you must answer the question, "How far back do my logs and data need to go?"

For regulated businesses, this will be set as an IT compliance standard. Unregulated companies must answer this question based on their individual IT needs.

Once you know how long you must keep data, you can set up maintenance as both automated and manual processes.

1. Index organization

Over time, your data may become stored out of order on your SQL server. When this happens, it's called a fragmented index. When your data is properly reorganized, it is defragmented.

However, if your fragmentation is over 30%, it is considered deeply fragmented. This state requires more work and moving into stage two of data maintenance.

2. Index rebuilding

If your fragmentation is high, you may consider rebuilding your index, which can occur offline or online.

3. Updating statistics

Statistics can help you understand your data, its use, and how much data you should keep.

Generally, there are two kinds of statistics:

  • Index statistics – these are created with every new index
  • Column statistics – created by your SQL server and show you how data is distributed across the database.

Examining statistics is a critical part of database maintenance planning. It can help you see all the activity and queries within your database. This enables you to determine what kind of data you need to keep and how much space you need.

4. Integrity and consistency checks

You will need to examine your database to be sure it is functioning as expected. Your individual business needs, IT network, and data characteristics will help you determine how frequently you should perform these checks.

5. Repair and cleanup

Finally, you will repair and clean up your database. This will include vital tasks like backing up your databases and logs. You will also remove unnecessary files and logs to save space.

In addition, you may use SQL Server tools to help schedule and execute cleanup tasks and repairs. It's essential to know the limits of your tools in this circumstance. Can they schedule jobs, or are they optimizing cleanup tasks? Are they configured correctly so you receive the desired results?

Next steps for maintaining your database

Database maintenance is essential in helping keep your applications, processes, and system running smoothly. When your database isn't maintained, its memory quickly fills and slows down your network.

Once you have set parameters, you can implement automated or manual processes for maintaining your database. It will involve the following operations:

  1. Index reorganization
  2. Index rebuilding
  3. Updating statistics
  4. Integrity and consistency checks
  5. Repair and cleanup

If you've found that your network has slowed down considerably, your database may be the cause.

Examine your recent growth if you practice good database maintenance and still find its memory filling up too quickly. Have you experienced a sudden, recent growth that your current database might not accommodate? Do you need to expand your in-house or cloud database to meet your new needs?

Talk to your IT provider or internal IT team to see if database maintenance is something they cover. In most cases, an IT provider can make strategic suggestions and help in a crisis, but they often do not specialize in database management. If they do not, they can recommend a reputable service to help in this area.

If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT can help.

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