Best Practice Inspection Tool for SQL Server

SQL Inspection - SeniorDBA

One of the things that you might find difficult to reveal, especially if you inherited the existing SQL Server environment, is determining the settings of your servers and if they are configured using the best practices for Windows and SQL Server. There is a free utility that attempts to reports this information called BPCheck. It is something that you run to check your best practices and sweep your instances for issues on configuration, performance, indexing, plan caching, etc.

The utility can be downloaded here, but make sure you test this utility before you run it on a production instance. It has several parameters you will need to understand before you can start relying on the results.

BPCheck contains the following information:

  • Uptime
  • Windows Version and Architecture
  • HA Information
  • Linked servers info
  • Instance info
  • Buffer Pool Extension info
  • Resource Governor info
  • Logon triggers
  • Database Information
  • Database file autogrows last 72h
  • Database triggers
  • Enterprise features usage
  • System Configuration

And performs the following checks:

  • Processor
    • Number of available Processors for this instance vs. MaxDOP setting
    • Processor Affinity in NUMA architecture
    • Additional Processor information
  • Memory
    • Server Memory
    • RM Task *
    • Clock hands *
    • Buffer Pool Consumers from Buffer Descriptors *
    • Memory Allocations from Memory Clerks *
    • Memory Consumers from In-Memory OLTP Engine *
    • Memory Allocations from In-Memory OLTP Engine *
    • OOM
    • LPIM
  • Pagefile
    • Pagefile
  • I/O
    • I/O Stall subsection (wait for 5s) *
    • Pending disk I/O Requests subsection (wait for a max of 5s) *
  • Server
    • Power plan
    • NTFS block size in volumes that hold database files <> 64KB
    • Disk Fragmentation Analysis (if enabled)
    • Cluster Quorum Model
    • Cluster QFE node equality
    • Cluster NIC Binding order
  • Service Accounts
    • Service Accounts Status
    • Service Accounts and SPN registration
  • Instance
    • Recommended build check
    • Backups
    • Global trace flags
    • System configurations
    • IFI
    • Full Text Configurations
    • Deprecated features *
    • Default data collections (default trace, blackbox trace, SystemHealth xEvent session, spserverdiagnostics xEvent session) *
  • Database and tempDB
    • User objects in master
    • DBs with collation <> master
    • DBs with skewed compatibility level
    • User DBs with non-default options
    • DBs with Sparse files
    • DBs Autogrow in percentage
    • DBs Autogrowth > 1GB in Logs or Data (when IFI is disabled)
    • VLF
    • Data files and Logs / tempDB and user Databases / Backups and Database files in same volume (Mountpoint aware)
    • tempDB data file configurations
    • tempDB Files autogrow of equal size
  • Performance
    • Perf counters, Waits and Latches (wait for XXs) *
    • Worker thread exhaustion *
    • Blocking Chains *
    • Plan use ratio *
    • Hints usage *
    • Cached Query Plans issues *
    • Declarative Referential Integrity – Untrusted Constraints
  • Indexes and Statistics
    • Statistics update *
    • Statistics sampling *
    • Hypothetical objects *
    • Row Index Fragmentation Analysis (if enabled) *
    • CS Index Health Analysis (if enabled) *
    • XTP Index Health Analysis (if enabled) *
    • Duplicate or Redundant indexes *
    • Unused and rarely used indexes *
    • Indexes with large keys (> 900 bytes) *
    • Indexes with fill factor < 80 pct *
    • Disabled indexes *
    • Non-unique clustered indexes *
    • Clustered Indexes with GUIDs in key *
    • Foreign Keys with no Index *
    • Indexing per Table *
    • Missing Indexes *
  • Naming Convention
    • Objects naming conventions
  • Security
    • Password check
  • Maintenance and Monitoring
    • SQL Agent alerts for severe errors
    • DBCC CHECKDB, Direct Catalog Updates and Data Purity
    • AlwaysOn/Mirroring automatic page repair
    • Suspect pages
    • Replication Errors
    • Errorlog based checks
    • System health checks

Important options for executing BPCheck:

  • @duration Sets the number of seconds between data collection points regarding perf counters, waits and latches. Duration must be between 10s and 255s (4m 15s), with a default of 90s.
  • @ptochecks Set to OFF if you want to skip more performance tuning and optimization oriented checks. Uncomment @custompath below and set the custom desired path for .ps1 files. If not, default location for .ps1 files is the Log folder.
  • @allow_xpcmdshell Set to OFF if you want to skip checks that are dependant on xp_cmdshell. Note that original server setting for xp_cmdshell would be left unchanged if tests were allowed.
  • @spn_check Set to OFF if you want to skip SPN checks.
  • @diskfrag Set to ON if you want to check for disk physical fragmentation. Can take some time in large disks. Requires elevated privileges.
  • @ixfrag Set to ON if you want to check for index fragmentation. Can take some time to collect data depending on number of databases and indexes, as well as the scan mode chosen in @ixfragscanmode.
  • @ixfragscanmode Set to the scanning mode you prefer. More detail on scanning modes available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms188917.aspx
  • @logdetail Set to OFF if you want to get just the summary info on issues in the Errorlog, rather than the full detail.
  • @bpool_consumer Set to OFF if you want to list what are the Buffer Pool Consumers from Buffer Descriptors. Mind that it may take some time in servers with large caches.
  • @gen_scripts Set to ON if you want to generate index related scripts. These include drops for Duplicate, Redundant, Hypothetical and Rarely Used indexes, as well as creation statements for FK and Missing Indexes.
  • @dbScope Set to the appropriate list of database IDs if there’s a need to have a specific scope for database specific checks. Valid input should be numeric value(s) between single quotes, as follows: ‘1,6,15,123’. Leave NULL for all databases.
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