When I got my first “real” job in a small software company, life with respect to change management was quite easy. Since the complete development department was in one office, you just had to shout: “I’m checking out the master version. Is anyone working with it?” When no one replied, you just loaded it, copied and pasted over any changes made on the dev box to the master, checked that everything compiled and ran, and uploaded the master version back.
Looking back, I’m not sure that this process should be called “change management”, and I’m amazed that more mistakes were not made. It was definitely a “low-end” version of change management that we practiced at that time. Today, in my current job, I don’t deal with change management, but I am familiar with our processes. They look like this: On predefined roll-out dates throughout the year scheduled changes are made to production systems. These changes have gone through a structured request, approval and planning process, and thorough testing is conducted before roll-out to ensure that the changes meet the original business objectives and do not introduce other, unintended consequences. No longer do we make ad-hoc changes to production systems, although there are certainly requests for such changes by users! Our change policy is strictly enforced. Everything is neatly documented and signed. Overall, these procedures and processes have greatly improved the manageability of our different IT systems.
The purpose of this paper is to explore how this essential task of SQL Server change management can become more reliable, secure and effective by using a specialized process that is designed exclusively for this purpose: SQL change manager.
Why change management DOES matter
Why should any company bother with change management anyway? Think for a moment about, what you, as a DBA, are working with everyday. You are working with the data that your company uses to run its business. Many people consider this data the most valuable assets a company has. Crucial business decisions are based upon the analysis of this data. It can get very costly if that data is either not available or inaccurate. The error halts business operations until the patch is reverted or the whole system is restored to a previous stage. And you are very, very busy until the problem is resolved.
What if you had clearly defined processes for change management, agreed upon by all involved parties? Or customers, or clients, or whatever you call them. Everyone would know the steps to be taken and would understand the process in advance. This may seem bureaucratic, but, on the other hand, it may be necessary to ensure continuous operations with minimal interruptions.
Idera SQL change manager
Idera SQL change manager provides an effective way to simplify and automate change management processes on your SQL Server databases. SQL change manager streamlines database change management procedures by capturing periodic database schema snapshots, highlighting changes from a baseline, and enabling easy roll-back, roll-out and recovery of lost or damaged database objects. The remainder of this article will cover installation of SQL change manager and a review of the key features.
Installation, System Requirements, supported SQL Server versions
You can download a fully functional 14-day trial version of SQL change manager from the Idera website. The download file is about 49 MB in size and contains just 1 file: the IderaSQLchangeInstallationKit.exe.
A double-click on that file launches the necessary pre-installation routine.
This installation kit is required. It creates the on-disk folder structure for Idera SQL change manager and moves the needed files to their appropriate locations.
Once this operation has finished the actual setup routine kicks in.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Idera SQL change manager consists of several parts, namely the:
- Management Service or the SQL change manager server
- SQL change manager console
- SQL change manager Repository