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Things to Consider When Choosing an SQL Server

May 19, 2020 No Comments

Featured article by Henry Barnes, Independent Technology Author

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Most enterprises that do business online use databases to store information. In turn, these databases require servers, such as SQL servers. When so many resources and records depend on a single piece of hardware, choosing an SQL server is no small feat. The wrong SQL server can result in countless hours wasted, waiting for database requests to go through.

In this article, we’re going to look at some things to consider when choosing an SQL server. However, it’s important to remember that there is no one size fits all solution, so look out for the factors that are most relevant to your environment; i.e., what do your employees need to work efficiently.

1.     Availability

Availability is one of the main things you need to consider if you want to avoid database outages. A high availability SQL server will reduce the likelihood of downtime and ensure that your employees can access databases when they need to. It’s also vital if you’re subject to Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that demand a certain level of uptime.

MySQL is an example of a high availability SQL server that comes with automated failover and fault tolerance to reduce the risk of outages. However, it’s important to note that high-availability solutions come at a cost, so you want to make sure you have the budget required.

2.     Monitoring

Having the ability to monitor your database is essential if you want to optimize performance. If you can’t tell when a server isn’t performing as it should be, then it’s the productivity of your users that will suffer. To monitor an SQL server, you can pick a server with inbuilt monitoring capabilities or use an external server monitoring tool.

If your budget is low, then it makes more sense to adopt a server with monitoring capabilities, so you don’t need to pay extra for a database monitoring tool. Although SQL server monitoring tools often have the advantage of more advanced GUI’s and alerting systems that make it easier to monitor performance issues.

3.     Disaster Recovery

If something goes wrong and your database does go down, having a solution with disaster recovery is critical for minimizing data loss. You want to pick a server that aligns with any Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) you may have as part of an SLA. Ultimately the faster you can recover, the better.

Depending on the server, there should be a handful of disaster recovery features you can use. For example, SQL Server supports full database backups, log shipping, and failover clustering instances to help you get back up and running.

HB34.     Performance

Performance should be an important consideration when in the market for an SQL server. A poor performance server will result in subpar user experience for employees interacting with databases. While you want to opt for the highest performance possible, having an ultra-fast database can come at the cost of other features.

For example, a database may deliver high speeds for a single user but struggle under higher loads. During your search, there should be a balancing act between looking for as much throughput as possible with minimal latency.

5.     ETL Compatibility

If you’re one of the many companies using an Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) solutions to collect and transform data from your databases, it’s a good idea to look for an SQL server that’s compatible with your ETL provider. Overlooking ETL capabilities can be a costly mistake.

Doing the research in advance will allow you to make sure that you can onboard an SQL server that integrates with your current database management process. You also want to make sure that your server will be able to handle the volume of information you will be processing.

Pick a Solution that Matches Your Needs

Whether you’re part of a large enterprise or a small business, the server you choose will determine the type of experience employees have when accessing resources. Picking a solution that can support the daily operations you need to thrive is key to choosing the right SQL server.

With servers, there is always a trade-off to make. Features like high performance and disaster recovery come at a premium, so it’s crucial to prioritize what’s most important to your environment before making a purchase. Think about what features will empower your users and your business the most.

HB

Henry Barnes

Henry Barnes is a computer programmer who works by designing and testing computer structures for businesses and individuals. Henry also loves to write articles online so he can share his expertise with the online community.

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