Ten Ways to Tell if Your SQL Server is a Clown Car

Commuting to work.

Commuting to work.

Sometimes we pile just a few too many duties onto our servers. They start to become a clown car – the classic joke where dozens of clowns come pouring out of an impossibly small car. (The physics behind it are actually really interesting.)

So how can you tell if your SQL Server has crossed the line into clown car territory? It’s easy:

10. You have both production and development databases in it.

9. Everyone runs SSMS and Visual Studio by remote desktopping into the server.

8. You’ve enabled remote desktop services for more people to log in simultaneously.

7. It has the engine, SSRS, SSAS, SSIS all installed and running, but less than 32GB RAM.

6. It has multiple instances of each of those services running. (Bonus points for different versions.)

5. Application servers point to a file share hosted by this database server.

4. You’re monitoring it, and the monitoring software’s repository also lives on the same server you’re monitoring.

3. You built a spreadsheet to track your affinity masking, Resource Governor, and max memory settings.

2. When you say “the server,” you don’t have to clarify because everyone knows it’s your only one.

1. You’re reading this blog on the server right now.

Kendra says: If you care about performance, you’ve got to start pulling clowns out of that tiny car.

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28 Comments. Leave new

  • It’s important to note that small businesses that rely on AWS or Azure will pay extra to be able to meet these standards. Sadly, trying to host Team Foundation Server on AWS is an experience in pain and spending money; since it normally requires Sharepoint and SSRS + Engine.

  • Benjamin RAIBAUD
    March 12, 2015 9:07 am

    I started laughing at #6 😉

  • How true!!! Sounds like my last company – hence I’m not there any more. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry 😉

  • >> 1. You’re reading this blog on the server right now.

    … with Outlook’s RSS reader 🙂

  • As a contractor I regularly face all of the above scenarios. My best one was 8 instances all on one box all mixture of prod/dev/test. And many clients are now focused on going to “the cloud”? If would be nice if they knew what they were doing and got their own physical/virtual sql systems running properly first, with no issues before considering anything else.

  • This post and the last one How to Tell if You Have a Development Environment …

    Thanks for the fire power.

  • Bonus points for different versions…hahaha…

  • I love it when “BI Experts” insist they need to run SQL Data Tools on the server to make their SSIS packages function. That along with running the entire value meal on the same server, including Sharepoint.

  • “You’re reading this blog on the server right now” …jajaja!! Nailed it! Thankfully, I’m on my home pc 😉

  • Awesome way to start day with laugh and realization: damn, Kendra is soooo right!

  • 1. You’re reading this blog on the server right now.

    haha 🙂 best of the worst things to do 🙂

  • Your blog tells Real –World case with Hand-on Fun !!

  • Well.. this really hits home.. Having worked the last five years for a small software company that uses MS SQL for the app database I can say I’ve about seen it all. 1200 advisory installs and counting… All of the above – number 1 – 10. Having just spent 3 hours explaining to an upset CFO that the reason his DB went into recovery mode had nothing to do with the app, and everything to do with his IT installing SQL 2005, on top of SQL 2008 R2, and uninstalling 2008 components to get 2005 installed, which called for a server reboot… done ‘while’ employee’s were in the database…? Yep.. Just another one of the mind boggling adventures in the life of the reluctant DBA…. Keep up the great posts. I pass along the info in the dire hope that someone will actually take it to heart. No, sir, you should never, never, install SQL on your domain controller. Later call – yep it’s on the DC. That banging sound is my head repeatedly pounding the desk…. because I will be called in to perform triage…. so thanks Ozar for the tools. They do save me some significant time.

  • I think most of the above happens because temporary fixes to resolve an immediate issue becomes a permanent part of the infrastructure.

  • #6 is something special

  • Barbara Cooper
    March 13, 2015 8:41 am

    This is pretty funny and thank God I don’t fall into any of these categories on my servers!

  • btw, Happy PI day (observed) to all. What goes around, comes around … but only once this century!

  • Stop talking about my servers. This seems like a violation of our NDA.

  • Justin Swenson
    March 13, 2015 10:03 am

    After finding the first 5 to be true I was getting disheartened we’d be a perfect 10/10. Luckily the last 5 we not true. #7 had me rolling, that’s every DB server we have. Management’s belief in quantity over quality keeps things interesting. Why have 2 beefy VMs with Enterprise Edition when you can have 12+ meek ones with Standard Edition?

  • SImon Jackson
    March 13, 2015 10:16 am

    #5 You mean, people have application servers??

  • You forgot about having your backup server and software on the same machine as the DB server. Bonus points for writing to the same drive as the DB files. Treble the points for not using any compression and running the backups during business hours. This is the VALUE MEAL + DESSERT.

  • Naveed Parvez
    March 16, 2015 9:02 am

    Great post, and the picture chosen for the post is too good to explain everything.

  • Good article

  • I love this!!!!