Consulting

In addition to the do anything that needs to be done approach that most consultants take, I’ve got a few canned offerings which are described below.  If these services are something that you might be interested in please contact me for more information.  (You can find more detailed pages about each one from the navigation menu above.

Critical Alerts Monitoring

My Critical Alerts service is a managed service offering which can be used to monitor servers in your environment which are running Windows Server 2008 or higher and optionally have SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2 installed on them.

A light weight software package is installed on the servers which reports back daily as to the state and general health of the server being monitored.  This provides an ongoing configuration assessment which allows for minimal exposure after important updates are released.  The software package also monitors for human error type problems when a server may be accidentally misconfigured in such a way that violates best practices.

Below are just a few of the over 70 conditions which will trigger alerts:

  • An Active Directory domain controller is not replicating data to other domain controllers.
  • Active Directory replication failures.
  • Incorrectly set auditing settings
  • Misconfigured SQL Server database shrink settings
  • File system errors
  • SQL Server Database Corruption Settings not set correctly
  • SQL Server Databases not being backed up
  • SQL Server Database corruption errors

When errors are raised for monitored servers an alert is raised and the error is then reviewed.  After the alert has been reviewed the response will be decided upon by you when you initially setup the service.  We can contact you either via email or via phone to advise you of the error, or we can VPN into your network and begin resolving the issue as part of a prearranged consulting service statement of work.

Rates for the Critical Alerts service are $199 to provision, setup and configure the monitoring service which includes one month of monitoring for that machine.  After that monitoring of each server is only $99 per month.  If you have several machines which need to be monitored be sure to ask about the multi-server discount which can lower your per machine rates even more.

For smaller companies who have a few servers this sort of service is critical.  At this price the cost is much less expensive than having a consultant come onsite several times a month to check the servers logs for errors.  If you were to use a consultant to do these checks you wouldn’t want them done very infrequently so the longer these problems go unfixed the more at risk your company is.

For larger companies that do have an IT person on staff this can free up your staff so they can work on project which help your company grow instead of simply reading through error logs looking for problems.

For more information about the Critical Alerts service please email me and I’ll get you a quote and schedule a time to connect to your servers and install the needed software package.

Updates to the Critical Alerts package are included when the monthly monitoring is current for the server being monitored.  As new alerts are added into the alerting package your servers will be automatically monitored for these new alerts.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Planning a disaster recovery plan for an entire data center is a complex process that has lots of moving parts. Sadly there are a lot of people out there who will deliver a partially thought through disaster recovery plan, or a disaster recovery plan doesn’t meet the businesses need, or that doesn’t fit within the budget.

I take great pride in designing disaster recovery plans for SQL Server, vSphere, Hyper-V and various Storage Platforms that fit within budgetary constraints, meet your business needs, and that will work. Not just when tested, but in the event of an actual disaster, that will actually work and will keep your business up and running when your primary data center fails.

If you would like to discuss your upcoming disaster recovery project, or if you have an existing disaster recovery plan that needs to be reviewed, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss the project with you.  I have worked on a variety of disaster recovery plans for companies ranging in size from smaller companies with just a few terabytes of data to larger companies with hundreds of terabytes of data.  I’m sure that I can be helpful when it comes to your disaster recovery project.

SQL Server Health Check

High Level Health Check

A very popular consulting offering are the two SQL Server Health checks which are offered.  The first health check is a high level health check where a comprehensive script is run which verifies a large number of settings and configuration options which are set on the SQL Server to ensure that they are set according to best practices.  Additionally various performance metrics are analyzed to ensure that the SQL Server is running at it’s peak performance.  Problem points are identified and are reported back to the client.

At the completion of the SQL Server Health Check process all the issues which are identified are documented into a report which is handed off to the client which the client’s DBA staff can use to correct the issues.  Of course we’ll be happy to continue on and implement the solutions to any problems which were found.

Pricing for the High Level SQL Server Health Check is fixed at $399 per SQL Server Instance which is analyzed.  To schedule your SQL Server Health Check please contact us and we’ll get some time scheduled.  It takes a few hours of me being connected to the SQL Server instance to gather the data required for analysis. After the data has been gathered I’ll take the gathered data offline and analyze the data then write your personalized report.

In-depth Health Check

For a more in depth analysis of a SQL Server and the performance problems which the SQL Server instance is having we offer the In-depth SQL Server Heath Check which is a three day evaluation of the SQL Server instance.  The In-depth SQL Server Health Check starts with the same configuration checks and best practices as the High Level SQL Server Health Check but then moves into a much more in depth review of the SQL Server instance.  The database sizes and possible schema problems are identified, indexes are reviewed looking for missing indexes, duplicate indexes and unused indexes.  From there we move to reviewing the wait stats which the instance is reporting as well as reviewing the SQL Queries which are being run against the SQL Server instance that are showing as problem queries.

Upon completion of the In-depth SQL Server Health Check any and all issues will be documented in a report along with next steps which should be taken to resolve the issues which were found.

Pricing for the In-depth SQL Server Health Check is fixed at $3499 per SQL Server Instance which is analyzed.  To schedule your In-depth SQL Server Health Check please contact us and we’ll get some time scheduled.  The In-depth SQL Server Health Check requires three days of connectivity to the SQL Server instance being reviewed and one hour of time to review the problems which are being seen as the project starts and one hour at the end to review the results of the health check at the completion of the three days.

vSphere / Hyper-V Health Check

A health check of a vSphere or Hyper-V environment involves checking the overall performance of the enenvironment including real time metrics as well as using historical data as captured by your vCenter and/or SCVMM platforms.  This sort of health check is a good double check to ensure that your enenvironment is running as smoothly as you think that it is, especially when you do not have a full time virtualization expert on staff.

During the health check process the CPU, memory and disk metrics are reviewed looking for high load on any of the monitors as well as over subscription of resources as well as ensuring that the system will maintain high availability in the event of a host failure.

At the completion of the vSphere / Hyper-V Health Check process all the issues which are identified are documented into a report which is handed off to the client which the client’s staff can use to correct the issues.

Pricing for the vSphere / Hyper-V Health Check is fixed at $399 per host computer (the machines which host the virtual machines) and requires a couple of hours of time being connected to the host machine to gather the servers metrics. After the data has been gathered I’ll take the gathered data offline and analyze the data then write your personalized report.  To schedule your vSphere / Hyper-V Health Check please contact me and we’ll get some time scheduled. All health check work is done remotely at a time which is convenient for you.

Storage Array Health Check

A health check of your storage environment involves checking various metrics regarding your storage array platform.  Performing a comprehensive health check requires that your storage array has included performance monitoring tools provided by your storage array vendor.  The metrics which are monitored during the health check process will depend on the storage array which is used.

As a part of the Storage Array Health check the SAN fabric will also be examined to ensure that it is setup as per industry standard best practices.

At the completion of the Storage Health Check process all the issues which are identified are documented into a report which is handed off to the client which the client’s staff can use to correct the issues.

Pricing for the Storage Array Health Check is fixed at $599 per storage array.  To schedule your Storage Array Health Check please contact me and we’ll get some time scheduled.  The health check typically takes about 2 hours per storage array to gather the needed data from the storage array. After the data has been gathered I’ll take the gathered data offline and analyze the data then write your personalized report.  All health check work is done remotely at a time which is convenient for you.

Performance Tuning

One of the most popular services which we offer is our SQL Server Performance Tuning service.  While many other consulting services check the SQL Server looking for missing indexes and reviewing T-SQL code within the database we dig much further.  At Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting we dive into the virtualization layer if the SQL Server is virtualized.  We also look at the storage platform looking for bottlenecks, configuration issues, and poorly performing storage appliances.

Please contact our sales team at sales@dcac.co to discuss pricing and scheduling for a performance tuning engagement.

System Moves and Migrations

Are you planning on moving your systems to another facility?  Are you planning on migrating from physical servers into a virtual platform?

I’ve got a lot of experience moving companies into and out of a variety of hosting solutions.  There are a variety of hosting options available to companies, which simply aren’t known to a lot of people.  There are managed service providers available, there are CoLo facilities where you lease or purchase equipment and host it within the CoLo facility, or you can move the hosted services into the server room or data center within your office facility in all situations using both physical and virtual servers.  No matter the data center move project, I can help you run through the project from beginning to end.  No major data center move should be done without an experienced person involved to help guide you through the process.

If you are thinking about moving, or just want to see if moving is something that you should look at get in contact with me and we’ll discuss your options and make sure that you are using the correct solution for your company in its current size as well as where you are planning on taking your company over the next few years.  When it comes time to do the migration project I can assist you with getting your Windows Servers, Microsoft SQL Servers, VMware or Hyper-V hosts as well as your Storage needs built up at your new site and assist you with migrations with minimal down time to complete the migrations. I have extensive experience moving companies into or out of facilities such as RackSpace, Cogent, Net2EZ, and Genesis Hosting to name just a few. As a vendor neutral consultant my goal is to complete a successful migration not to guide you towards any single hosting provider.

A recent migration that I ran moving a company from a managed service provider who had 10 servers at the managed service provider with a single 1 TB Microsoft SQL Server Database and 4 TB of unstructured file system data.  The migration was completed with less then 2 hours of downtime on the night of migration, and no downtime leading up to the night of the migration.  When all was said and done the company saved $20k per month by moving into a CoLo facility on purchased equipment.

Time Slice Database Administrator

Every company with a SQL Server database should have someone who regularly manages and maintains the SQL Server database engine, but not every company can afford the kind of database administrator that they want, and need. Having a time slice database administrator gives you the ability to have a resource dedicated to you for a minimum number of hours per month without having to maintain a full time employee on staff.

Our team of top tier consultants give you the ability to have a top tier database administrator without having top tier salary requirements. These consultants are able to do performance tuning, configure backups, check for database corruption, work with business departments to implement new systems, or just about any other task which needs to be completed on the SQL Servers. To discuss the options available for hours and costs please contact our sales team.

 

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