About The New Utility Control Point (UCP) Feature For SQL 2008 R2

Jul 28 08:10 2011 Chester Flake Print This Article

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 introduces the Utility Control Point to address some of the most “real world” administrative issues surrounding enterprise level multi-server administration with a new tool called the SQL Server Utility. CPU works in conjunction with the SQL Server Utility to provide both summary and detailed data which allows for both underutilization and over-utilization policies for a variety of key parameters as well as enabling resource consolidation opportunities and resource over-utilization to be identified with ease.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 addresses some of the most “real world” administrative issues surrounding enterprise level multi-server administration with a new tool called the SQL Server Utility. This tool is in addition to the Policy Based Management (PBM) – Central Management Server and Data Collector introduced in the earlier 2008 release. The service used in the server utility is called Utility Control Point.  The UCP collects information (every 15 minutes) to monitor multiple managed SQL instances.  Data collected from the UCP is stored in the Utility Management Data Warehouse (UMDW) which is automatically created when you create the UPC. The primary administrative interface tool – Utility Explorer is used to create the UCP,Guest Posting add instances and view reports of data collected.  Of course – all of this would be meaningless without some really cool, colorful chart driven report – which is where we get the Utility Explorer Dashboard.  Do you think Microsoft is trying to push the “utility” point in the choice of naming conventions?

The Utility Control Point is perfect for capturing and managing consolidated views of resource data from enrolled instances of SQL Server in the Server Utility. Enrolled instances are monitored every 15 minutes while other monitoring parameters like database file space utilization, CPU utilization, and storage volume utilization can be taken into account too.

CPU works in conjunction with the SQL Server Utility to provide both summary and detailed data which allows for both under-utilization and over-utilization policies for a variety of key parameters as well as enabling resource consolidation opportunities and resource over-utilization to be identified with ease. With this new utility we are able to configure and adjust policies at different resource utilization thresholds including global monitoring policies.

Both Global and individual monitoring policies are managed in the SQL SU. The Server Utility itself, is managed through a utility control point on an instance of SQL Server, using Utility Explorer in SSMS. The Utility Explorer is similar to the SSMS Object Explorer for navigating through and managing resources in the SU. The UCP is the central reasoning point for the SU supporting actions like specifying resource utilization policies and tracking utilization requirements.

Setting up the UCP also has some new system requirement, some of the more important ones are as follows:

    •    SQL Server must be version 10.50 or higher.
    •    The Server instance type must be Database Engine.
    •    The SU must operate within a single Windows domain, or across domains with two-way trust relationships.
    •    The Server service accounts on the UCP and all managed instances of SQL Server must have read permission to Users in Active Directory.

Getting started with the Server Utilities is really fairly intuitive.  From the SSMS Interface, simply click View and Utility Explorer.  You’ll see a link for “Create a Utility Control Point” and you’re off to the races.
Create the SQL Server Utility.

    1.    Create a utility control point
    2.    Enroll instances of SQL Server into the SQL


After your SQL SU is created, use SSMS to monitor managed instances of the Server, and customize monitoring policies.

    1.    Use SSMS to connect to the SQL SU
    2.    Monitor managed instances of SQL Server
    3.    Customize the Server Utility monitoring policies to meet your needs

If you are unfamiliar with the processes discussed in the steps above, complete hands-on tutorials for creating a utility control point and set up are offered through several Microsoft Certified Trainers, Microsoft Training centers and Microsoft Bootcamps online.

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Chester Flake
Chester Flake

Chester Flake is the CEO of Certification Camps which is the industry leader in Microsoft Courses.  He offers Microsoft Certifications courses on MCTS, MCITP or MCPD Certifications. Plus Microsoft Training, Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio Certifications.

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