Prevent Problems Before They Happen: Monitor Server Log Files Weekly

Database ManagementRelational Database Management System makes it easy for companies to store their data in a SQL server using configuration, allowing multiple tables to relate to each other using unique identifiers. But sometimes, errors do happen.

How many of you have seen the error message 'cannot connect to SQL server on localhost' or 'error establishing a database connection?' If you are a database administrator or even a website developer, you may have seen this error more than twice in a year. What could have happened that caused this error to show?

A Host of Reasons

There are several instances that could have caused this problem. This can occur if there is a server misconfiguration, which in any case can be resolved by restoring the system to an earlier point in time when everything is working. Another reason is that there may be something wrong with the code that connects to the database tables. According to Western Sydney University, the error may have even been caused by simple oversight such as a misspelling of server name or incorrect SQL database user password.

A Disturbing Cause

These are just two of the myriads of reasons why this happened. A more sinister reason is there may have been an unauthorised intrusion in your network and messed up your tables. Because each instance demands different solutions, there is a need to check your SQL server log files to see what transpired before.

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Which Log Files Do You Examine?

Again, there are several log files that you can see but you may want to focus on only four, namely, SQL Server Agent Log, SQL Server Profiler Log, Event Log, and SQL Server Error Log. These log files record in a text the activities performed by the server when it was still working perfectly and when the error started to occur. According to Microsoft, check the date on the log file as each time the SQL Server starts, a new log file is created.

What Should You Look For?

The Server Agent log is actually made up of different files that contain errors and warning messages about the tasks it has run. On the other hand, the Profiler log is the main application tracking tool which records the database activity of the server. Meanwhile, the Event log captures the events that transpired before and after the errors occurred and is a handy tool when investigating what happened. Finally, the SQL Server Error log, or simply the 'Error Log', is perhaps the most important of all to examine. It is often utilised by SQL database administrators to troubleshoot problems.

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To ensure that your network and system run smoothly, it is important that you establish an efficient SQL database administration protocol that would include meticulous monitoring of the log files. You see, the server log files act like a historian of sorts, documenting every action and changes the server made for the past day. When there is proper monitoring, patches or fixes can immediately be implemented so that such error will not occur again in the future.