SQL and SharePoint: two worlds. Or just one?

September 4, 2007

In my travels and customer meetings I often hear someone from SharePoint admin team say “we just use SQL as external service and don’t care about it”. This is weird. How can someone managing SharePoint not understand that they have to care about SQL?! You do not have to be DBA yourself, but I believe you have to talk to them and get their opinions when making many of the design decisions for SharePoint.

One of the consequences of the SharePoint and SQL people not working closely together is duplicate backups of databases. SharePoint admin schedules catastrophic backups with STSADM and DBA is using SQL maintenance plans to essentially back up the same data twice. And even if you don’t care about the infrastructure costs and complexity, this can cause other issues if the two don’t plan the overall backup strategy together. Bill Baer points this out in an email thread on best practices for SharePoint backups posted by Joel Oleson a while ago:

STSADM CBAK [catastrophic backup] will truncate the SQL logs; therefore you should first backup SQL natively or through any other number of mechanisms, the important thing is to ensure the SQL backup occurs prior to the catastrophic backup.

And just recently I had a meeting with an almost ideal SharePoint administration team. This was the only SharePoint-related meeting so far where the SQL DBA was invited and actively participated. This company has a very sound backup plan and for sure don’t keep same data twice! They are also on the beta program for the Systems Center Data Protection Manager 2007, and I think having SQL admin on board really helps them see the value of DPM for SharePoint as well.

I just wonder, why this approach is so uncommon – or maybe I was just unlucky choosing companies to visit?

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4 Responses to “SQL and SharePoint: two worlds. Or just one?”

  1. Joel Oleson Says:

    Great post. This is so true. I also like the analogy of is there really that much separating SharePoint from being a .NET app and a SQL app? Which one is it?

    The more SharePoint scales it appears to be more management on the SQL side from my perspective.


  2. Thanks Joel, good to see I’m not alone on this! Now that you said this, I think that yes, importance of SQL management really grows as SharePoint scales out.

  3. Thomas Eckels Says:

    I’m on the sales side at Quest and I come across the same discussions everyday with customers. More than likely db’s don’t know the windows admins and like you said they don’t care (and it goes both ways). My thought is that SharePoint must not be that important to them or it just hasn’t affected the db’s to the point where they need to care. SO that makes three of us that agree when SP scales out SQL db has to pay more attention to it. From my basic understanding of SP it only makes sense that they need to work together for space management and recovery. Whenever we do bring them together they end up getting into discussions about their environment and agree to working more closely on the project (but I don’t know what happens after that). Are there any unwritten laws in the tech world I’m missing? Why wouldn’t they want to work together if it can ease their work load and make better assessments for the future?

  4. […] web pages  management sometimes do not realize how important SQL is to SharePoint, and see them as two different worlds. Recently, there have been some positive movements and resources start appear that will help SQL […]

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