Minion Enterprise

Manage an enterprise of one, hundreds, or even thousands of SQL Servers from one central location.

List Price: $1,500 per managed instance


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The Value of Central Management

Minion Enterprise was designed by database administrators (DBAs) specifically to address the issues that waste the most time and cause the most problems. Minion shrinks dozens of those one-at-a-time tasks down to a central process. And, it does this without the usual overhead of monitoring software. When you install Minion Enterprise, it automatically begins gathering data from instances across your enterprise. That single repository of data allows you to centrally audit, alert, report, and investigate your entire environment. Even better, it opens up a new world of central management: audit SQL and AD security, clone user permissions across servers, standardize and enforce SQL Server settings, automate error log searches, and so very much more.


Case Studies

In our client installations, ME has accomplished wonders. Here are a few of them:

  • Allowed a single DBA to manage over 900 servers.
  • Produced a high level and detailed database space projection for the following two years.
  • Standardized file growth rates across the enterprise, saving hundreds of GB of disk space.
  • All but eliminated space management issues, saving 8 hours of DBA work per week.
  • Aided the passing of a security audit in a few minutes, instead of a few days, due to the Active Directory group expansion feature.
  • Audited server group membership from a central location.
  • Determined which accounts didn’t meet AD security policy, and which accounts have weak passwords.
  • Performed rapid impact analysis on SQL Server service account password changes; this determined which servers would be impacted by the change.
  • Reviewed which data and log files reside on the same drive, using a single query for the entire enterprise.
  • Reported on replication latency, to easily tell across the entire enterprise which replication scenarios were lagging behind or failing.
  • Accurately proved how much additional disk space was required, for SAN requests.


Features Overview

Here are a few of the things Minion can do for your entire enterprise, all from a central management server.

Enterprise Management
Central Server List Keep a central list of SQL Server servers, and which applications they belong to. Beneficial for tracking your enterprise; auditing; and onboarding new staff.
Central Configuration Central configuration and management for every aspect of Minion Enterprise. Make your changes inside Minion, and Minion then pushes your changes to all the servers.
Enforced Configuration Enforce server-level (sp_configure) configuration values. The policies are set centrally, so if someone then makes a change to the servers, Minion will change it back to conform to policy.
Active Directory Expansion Expand AD groups and subgroups to determine who has access to SQL Server, and how. And, research single users’ permissions to SQL Server across the entire enterprise.
Consolidated Alerts Centralized, consolidated alerts for all servers. This prevents “alert storming” support personnel, so alerts really mean something again.
Server Grouping Group servers by applications. This allows you to perform actions against only that application’s servers (or, only that application’s production servers, etc.).
Service Down Alerting Alert on services that have come down.
Server
Search Error Logs Search SQL Server and SQL Agent error logs.
Replication Tracking Track replication latency, and alert when it passes your custom threshold.
Database
Alert on Changes Query and alert on any database property change.
DB Create/Drop history Retain history of database creation and deletion.
Routine DB Object Scripting Script out all database objects regularly in order to retrieve schema changes.,For example, if someone makes a change to a stored procedure on the wrong server, you have a record of the script before the change.
Database data file and log file management
Report Centralized file growth rate reporting.
Configure Centralized file growth rate standardization.
Enforce Centralized file growth rate enforcement.
Database Integrity
CheckDB Run DBCC CheckDB with fully logged history.
Report Centralized reporting of CheckDB errors
Alert on Missing Run Centralized alerting of missing CheckDB runs for all databases. This is when a DB hasn’t had a CheckDB run xDays.
Backup
Manage Backups Centrally manage backups, configure options, etc.
Flexible Include/Exclude Include or exclude databases from backup scenarios, based on regular expressions.
Order backups Specify order to backup databases.
Alert Centralized alerting on failed and missing backups, based off of your custom thresholds for each server and/or database.
Report Centralized reporting on backup statistics, like backup duration, frequency, size, and more.
Delete Old Backups Automatically delete old backup files with individual DB thresholds.
Save Old Backups Set backups to archive mode to remove them from normal delete rotation.
Index Maintenance
Configure Configure and manage centrally.
Report Centralized reporting.
Alert Centralized alerting.
Keep Script History Retain maintenance scripts in the log.
Disk Space
Collect Data Collect disk space usage for all SQL Servers.
Track History Track disk space use history.
Alert Alert centrally.
Project Space Usage Project disk space usage for all SQL servers.
Security
Centralized SID Server Keep a central list of SQL Server users, and their assigned ID number (“SID”).
User Reporting Centralized user account reporting.
Windows Group Expansion Find which windows groups users belong to.

FAQs

What are the system requirements for the repository server?

System requirements for the repository are:

A default instance of SQL Server 2012 or above. (Managed instances can be SQL Server 2005 or above.)

The SQL Agent service account requires sysadmin rights on all managed SQL Server instances, and access to run system-level WMI queries on all managed servers (which can be accomplished by granting the SQL Agent service account local administrator rights on each managed server). Note: Check your company’s security policies for compliance.

The sp_configure setting xp_cmdshell must be enabled*.

PowerShell 2.0 or above; execution policy set to RemoteSigned.

* xp_cmdshell can be turned on and off with the database PreCode / PostCode options, to help comply with security policies.

What versions of SQL can ME manage?
The versions of SQL Server that ME can manage depends on what it’s doing. Most functions can downgrade to SQL Server 2000, but there are some features in later versions that simply don’t exist in SQL Server 2000. So whenever possible, ME will work all the way down to SQL Server 2000.
I have several domains. What about cross-domain management?
In large environments, this is a big topic. There are common ways that shops can get around the cross-domain limitation. It starts with setting up at least a one-way trust between the two domains. There’s no way around this. ME has to work within the Windows security model and the account must have rights on the managed server. Therefore, a single firewall rule to allow traffic from the ME server to the managed member servers is the most common method for handling this issue. You may also setup a separate ME server in each domain if other security arrangements can’t be made.
How is ME licensed?
Unlike other repository products, the ME repository is free. Licensing is only for each managed instance of SQL Server or for each Windows server you manage.
Why doesn’t ME have a GUI?
In short, GUIs slow you down. ME was specifically designed to be as fast as possible and to help you manage your entire environment. And you simply can’t do stuff like that in a GUI. Developing a GUI for ME would greatly slow you down.
What’s required to install ME on each managed server?
Nothing. ME doesn’t install any objects on managed servers.
What’s the difference between Minion Enterprise, and all the other modules?

Minion Enterprise (ME) is an enterprise manage product meant to provide great functionality and vision into thousands of servers. It eases management and gives you great power in reporting, standardizing, and auditing your environment. Minion Enterprise includes and centralizes all of the other Enterprise modules:

  • Minion Core Enterprise
  • Minion Security Enterprise
  • Minion Space Enterprise
  • Minion Backup Enterprise
  • Minion Reindex Enterprise
  • Minion CheckDB Enterprise

In addition, we have three free standalone modules – these don’t have a central repository:

  • Minion Backup (MB) is a free, comprehensive, and flexible backup solution.
  • Minion Reindex (MR) is also a free and comprehensive solution: for index maintenance.
  • Minion CheckDB (MC) is our third free and comprehensive solution, this time for database integrity.
Can I write my own custom modules?
Yes. You can most certainly develop your own processes and fold them into our repository. You can write your own alerts, views, stored procedures, etc and look at the data and report on it any way you like. And if you want to write your own collections, then you’re welcome to do so.
Will MinionWare write custom modules for me?
Yes. We charge our regular consulting rates for writing custom modules.