Off the shelf software and installation prerequisites

30 January,2013 by Jack Vamvas

Companies purchase off the shelf  software to cover all aspects of the business. I’m including: Payroll, Web Filtering, Security audits,Monitoring, Bookeeping, modelling .. the list is endless. Many of these products are dependant on databases.  

The typical situation is a list of instructions on how to make environment changes, security changes , DDL to create the database with objects.

The Installation Prerequiste needs a special mention. The vendor installation guide  has information relevant to the database creation. I’m amazed by some of the recommendations. Some examples recently:

1)       Autogrowth of data and log files at 50% . Read more on SQL LOG FILE AUTOGROW performance troubleshooting

2)       DBCC SHRINKDATABASE every night

3)       Logon mapped to database user is set with sysadmin privileges

 None of the 3 examples  fit into any  best practises . At this point I contact the vendor , explain the situation and they normally agree but with a caveat “they’ll take no responsibility if there is a product issue”.

Why does this situation arise?

 Most vendors release products on certain assumptions

1)       There is no expert DBA or IT support in the customer company

2)       Expectation of system to run unattended

3)       No knowledge of customer network

4)       No knowledge of customer hardware

A quality DBA will identify problems ,  often associated with background tasks or maintenance procedures. They will phone the vendor , who will recommend some adjustments

It should be a minimum requirement for all vendors to supply a detailed FAQ for DBAs to manage the system. The in-house DBA is likely to have a standardised approach customised to the system.  Integrating off the shelf software causes unnecessary overhead if every recommendation is followed

In some cases the recommendations are justified and explained in full, but that’s an exception , not the standard level of documentation.

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Author: Jack Vamvas (


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