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Dashboard Design Trends 

Report Dashboards have come a long way since their early 70’s spreadsheet beginnings.  Many popular charting tools take a lot of the guess work out of standardizing common chart elements and choosing a pleasing color palette, but there is still much left up to the designer when it comes to presenting the data in a meaningful way, from choosing the best graphical representation for the data you are trying to illustrate, incorporating colorful goal or alert lines to make is easier for the user to see progress toward a goal, to making sure that you arrange the data in a readable, logical progression that will display legibly across devices.

As website design principles and aesthetics change, so do report dashboard design trends.  Here’s a list of top trends and ideas for incorporating them to add value to your dashboard design.

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The use of Purpose Built Backup Appliances (PBBAs) for backup data storage has shown dramatic growth in recent years.  While growth is slowing as cloud providers improve their service offerings, PBBAs remain a competitive option.   

Offering optimized data storage, reduced expenditures over traditional hardware, with no need to change existing platform or processes, consider these reasons to incorporate PBBA solutions in your environment.

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Your DBA is receiving complaints about a slow server at random periods throughout the week.  How do you assess the environment and troubleshoot performance issues at different periods?

Using a series of PowerShell scripts, you can easily gather key statistics across your entire environment, and run the process several times a day to capture those statistics during different time periods and activity levels.  The data is stored in a series of tables, which can then be used for alerting and trend reporting.

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As every person in IT knows, monitoring the health of your database environment is extremely important for the stability and availability of your data, but… your DBA staff is stretched thin and overworked, your environment is continually growing due to evolving business operations, and pretty soon any attempt at enterprise-wide monitoring of availability, performance, and growth is de-centralized, disjointed across environments and/or multiple third-party solutions, or simply doesn’t exist at all.

A large scale effort to implement enterprise-wide monitoring seems overwhelming, especially when there are so many immediate fires to fight.

Read on to discover why implementing Remote Database Monitoring is worth it:

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Recently, after assessing a client’s backup statistics, we discovered that over 20% of a client’s database instances had not been backed up.  Before configuring backups for so many instances, we wanted to discover just how many databases were actually actively in use.

After investigating options, we developed the following query to detect database inactivity.  The query uses the command sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats.   The query returns the last accessed time for all indexes (including heap). Based on this, we are able to determine the last accessed time for each database.  Any databases with a last access data beyond an agreed upon threshold (e.g. older than 1 week) can be flagged for follow up.

One Drawback:  If the SQL Server service is restarted, last accessed stats are reset. So, this query is not useful for detecting database activity for servers that are frequently restarted. However, the query also returns the server restart date, which you can use to help you flag those restarts for further analysis.