In my last post, we began to show you the The SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer. Let’s pick up where we left off.

Now that you have installed the Best Practices Analyzer (BPA), you are ready to open it from the Start menu by choosing Start | Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer | SQL Best Practices Analyzer. The welcome page appears (Figure A) and it gives you a hyperlink to input your login information.

In this window you can enter your SQL Server name and authentication type. You can use Windows Authentication or SQL Server authentication to log in as shown in Figure B.

Once you have entered your information, you are ready to log in and enter your SQL Servers into this tool (Figure C). You can enter a SQL Server and a Friendly Name. The Friendly Name allows you to further identify your SQL Server, and if you change your SQL Server name, the BPA tool will still work using the Friendly Name.

Now that you have your SQL Servers defined in the BPA tool, you are ready to create best practices and scan the SQL Server(s). In order to create a best practice, click the Best Practices link on the left navigation bar (Figure D) and choose Create Best Practice (at the bottom of the screen).

In this screen, you can enter a Best Practice Name (Figure E) and choose the category of your choice. If you choose all categories, you can select any of the Rules (best practices) you desire. If you are unsure of which of these rules to use, you can click on the question mark (?) icon for a definition of each one.

Once you have selected all of your rules, click Save Best Practice. After you save it, you can execute it by clicking on the down arrow of each best practice and click Scan SQL Servers (Figure F). Once the scan is complete, you can review your best practices by viewing the Reports (Figure G).

Note: (View my entire gallery)

I have shown you how to harness the power of this Microsoft tool to analyze your SQL Servers against standard best practices. By testing each scenario on a SQL Server on your testing network, you can become familiar with this tool and how it works, prior to implementing it on your production SQL Servers to make them run at optimum efficiency