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Posted Mar 19, 2007

Black Belt Administration: Performance Dashboard for Microsoft SQL Server, Part I - Page 3

By William Pearson

Preparation: Ascertain that System Requirements are Met

For purposes of our installation, we will enter the MSSQL Server Management Studio, from which we will discuss the system requirements – in some cases verifying compliance from inside the Management Studio. Obviously, we would likely ascertain that we met requirements before even beginning to install software; we do so in the manner I’ve described simply to both mention the requirements and to provide a quick means of ascertaining compliance “enroute to the objective,” such as we might want to perform when we have to rely upon the assertions of others, assumptions that predecessors have installed performed prerequisites, etc.

1.  Click the Start button on the PC.

2.  Select Microsoft SQL Server 2005 within the Program group of the menu.

3.  Click SQL Server Management Studio, as depicted in Illustration 13.

Illustration 13: Opening SQL Server Management Studio

The Connect to Server dialog appears, after the brief Management Studio splash screen.

4.  Select Database Engine in the Server type selector.

5.  Type / select the server name (server name / instance, if appropriate) in the Server name selector.

6.  Supply authentication information, as required in your own environment. (I have selected Windows Authentication in my own environment.)

The Connect to Server dialog appears similar to that depicted in Illustration 14.

Illustration 14: Preparing to Connect to the Server ...

7.  Click the Connect button to connect with the specified SQL Server Database Engine server.

The SQL Server Management Studio opens.

We can quickly check our readiness at this point with at least the most important system requirement – the requirement that the SQL Server instance being monitored via the Performance Dashboard Reports must also be running Service Pack 2 or higher.

The requirement is in place partially because Performance Dashboard Reports is a collection of Custom Reports designed to be hosted in SQL Server Management Studio, and since the Custom Reports feature is new in Service Pack 2, we must have performed the Service Pack 2 update to be able to use them. Moreover, a client machine running the reports must be upgraded to the Service Pack 2 version of the client tools (Management Studio).

Other Service Pack 2 functionality upon which the Performance Dashboard Reports rely includes:

  • sys.dm_exec_text_query_plan;
  • an extension to the OBJECT_NAME() function to accept an optional dbid parameter;
  • several bug fixes related to the data reported in the dynamic management views (DMVs).

The Performance Dashboard Reports check the SQL Server version and will return an error if the version requirements are not met. SQL Server 2005 makes it easy to determine, from our present position within SQL Server Management Studio, whether Service Pack 2 has been installed. The most obvious indication is in the version number (it should be Version 9.00.3042.01 or greater) that we can see both in the Server description atop Solution Explorer, and in the Solution Explorer Details tab to the right of the Solution Explorer pane, as represented in composite Illustration 15.

Illustration 15: Two Easily Verified Version Numbers in Management Studio (Composite View)

Its use of the Custom Reports feature that debuts in Service Pack 2 means that SQL Server Management Studio relies upon the client side report viewer control to present the Performance Dashboard Reports. As we have already noted, this means that Reporting Services does not have to be installed in the environment involved. Other requirements, such as the specification that the computer running SQL Server 2005 must use a fixed processor frequency, exist, and can be reviewed in the help file that accompanies the Performance Dashboard Reports installation.

Once the installation package has been run, we are ready to run the Setup file that can be found in the same directory in which we placed the reports. We can then open and run the primary dashboard report with the new Custom Reports option within SQL Server Management Studio. We will take these final setup steps in the section that follows.

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