Configuration Assessment Alerts and Recommendation are too many and can't assess business impact and priorities
Heard from a customer who asked me to post on his behalf: “A real-time streaming laundry list of things I need to do is too much for me. Just tell me the 10 most important things for me to address, how they impact my environment and my company, and how to resolve them. From there, I can manage those recommendations on a weekly or monthly basis and get them done.”
We have just enabled a ‘SQL Assessment’ Intelligence Pack – around ‘adherence to best practices’ for SQL configuration/risk assessment.
This is the first of a set of ‘vertical’ assessment IPs for specific technologies/workloads (i.e. SQL, AD, etc) – as opposed to the uber ‘Configuration Assessment’ that was already in the old Advisor.
The new IPs will feature a ‘relative’ weight for each recommendation – i.e. will tell you how much benefit/improvement you get for my infrastructure if I make a specific change or install a specific patch.
This has proven to be a successful approach and format for enterprise customers who have been using Microsoft Premier support – programs such as RAP (risk assessment program) tailored around specific technologies have been very successful.
Also, for monitoring SQL backups in closer-to-real time, consider collecting the Application event log thru Log Management. A sample search that would match some 'known' EventID's that SQL writes (I had a quick peek at the SQL management pack for SCOM, but I did not look at a comprehensive list) would be this
EventLog=Application AND (EventID=3627 OR EventID=17207 OR EventID=3167 OR EventID=3208 OR EventID=3201 OR EventID=3041 OR EventID=18204)
where you can see WHEN the errors happened, and on which machines, by using the time selector and the fields/filters in search (and in mobile).
Try this search over those SQL recommendations - this should be the equivalent recommendation:
Type=SQLAssessmentRecommendation Recommendation:"Schedule full database backups at least weekly."
or just try
Type=SQLAssessmentRecommendation backup | measure count() by Recommendation
to get a list of all recommendations that contain 'backup'.
Stas has written a good post on how to explore this data and pin it to your dashboards, for mobile enjoyment too - http://cloudadministrator.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/microsoft-azure-operational-insights-preview-series-sql-assessment-part-7/
In general, the CSS folks went over their rules - while there are some minor discrepancies they are working on, most of the high same value/impact scenarios are covered (in fact some new ones are too).
CSS regularly maintains and updates those - they were doing it for the old format, and they are doing it for new one.
I. Kinal commented
Although I see the benefit behind these Intelligence Packs, so far I don't see them as a replacement to the Configuration Assessment. For example, yesterday Configuration Assessment told me that my SQL backup failed - the SQL IP isn't telling me that. This is certainly information that I want to know, this was the key feature of Advisor for me. I certainly hope that this type of alerting is not removed in the future! Overall I found Configuration Assessment to be a great tool for my organization.