SQL Server Tip: Fail-Safe Operator For Notifications

At Ntirety our business is Database Administration As a Service “TM”. People count on an Ntirety Database Administrators to be there when things go wrong. Within the Ntirety business processes we have built redundancy into everything we do.  Its one of the many ways we differentiate Ntirety from the many other competitors who claim to offer DAAS ?TM? but really don?t.

When I saw this latest posting on Microsoft Technet  it caught my attention. Since at Ntirety we are always looking for ways to make sure we are there when our clients need us most.

Redundancy in our processes and systems is a key component in why Ntirety provides our clients a four nines ?99.99%? Service Level Agreement (SLA) as part of our standard offering.

This article I found in Microsoft Technet shows how the average Microsoft SQL Server environment can make system generated notifications more redundant. This is one of those things that can only help you better support your database environment. 

To reach the original Microsoft Technet article…

Microsoft Technet Article

How to Configure a Fail-SAFE Microsoft SQL Server Operator for Notifications

When things go wrong with notification, operators do not get notified and problems might not be corrected in a timely manner. To prevent this, you might want to designate a fail-safe operator. The fail-safe operator is notified in the following situations:

  • SQL Server Agent cannot access system tables in the msdb database, which is where operator definitions and notification lists are stored.

  • All pager notifications to designated operators have failed, or the designated operators are off duty (as defined in the pager schedule).

To configure a fail-safe operator:
1. Right-click the SQL Server Agent entry in SQL Server Management Studio, and then select Properties.
2. In the SQL Server Agent Properties dialog box, select the Alert System page.
3. Select Enable Fail-Safe Operator to define a fail-safe operator.
4. Use the Operator drop-down list to choose an operator to designate as the fail-safe operator. You can reassign the fail-safe duty by selecting a different operator, or you can disable the feature by clearing Enable Fail-Safe Operator.
5. Use the Notify Using check boxes to determine how the fail-safe operator is notified.
6. Click OK.

Using the fail-safe operator on pager notification failure might seem strange, but it is a good way to ensure that alerts are handled efficiently. E-mail and net send messages almost always reach their destination?but the people involved are not always watching their mail or sitting at their computer to receive net send messages, so the fail-safe operator is a way to guarantee notification.


Posted Michael Corey,

Founder & CEO, Ntirety


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