SQL Server Backup Files Cleanup

I learned something interesting today. Something so simple yet crucial. Alright, let me jump straight on to it.

After going live with GP2015R2, as part of SQL maintenance tasks, I created daily backup schedule in SQL Server. Client’s backup retention policy is 3 prior days. So I created a “Maintenance Cleanup Task” to remove all backup files that are older than 3 days.

All good. Only that, it didn’t work. And we realised that only yesterday. Bummer. Thankfully, it was a new server so we had plenty of space. And size of DBs are quite small. So I could see backup files dating yesterday. Which is nice.

I had to figure out what’s going wrong all this time. It’s a fairly simple setup. Nothing complex. Something must be wrong. I opened the maintenance task definition window. Shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 8.55.04 AM.png

Looks perfectly alright to me. Isn’t it? But nope. Something makes this task fail every night.

When I looked at this post, Maintenance Cleanup Task (Maintenance Plan), on Microsoft MSDN site, I could not get much help from. It was good, detailed, but not good enough to help me why my task fails every night.

I then did something that I thought is weird, but turned out to be the solution.

I changed the File extension value from .bak to just bak, as shown below:

Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 8.55.04 AM.png

Saved the definition and ran the task manually to check if it worked.

Voila… It worked…!!!

Those who are reading this and thinking about why I am blogging something as simple as this (as if I found the god particle), well in all honesty, I had absolutely no idea about this till now. Just thought I would share this, as I always do. So please be nice on me.



There is an amazingly simpler yet highly informative post up on TECHNET portal, which proved very handy this morning.

My systems admin reported to me that our SharePoint server ran out of storage for some reason unknown to him, but he could identify that it was SQL Server program files folder which consumed 80% of storage.

I immediately knew what could be the reason. It’s those crazy log files problem. To truncate and clear these overeating log files, I had to use this command: DBCC SHRINKFILE.


Once I cleared out all unnecessary file space from these log files, I had to setup the File Growth and Maximum File Size (shown in the screenshot beside):

Never for a DB log file, we should setup the file growth as “In Percent”. This would prove disastrous over a period of time. Instead, always set it up to “In Megabytes” and enter a least sensible value; in my case I had set it up to 5MB.

For a DB Log file, 2GB should be reasonable amount of file space to hold the logs. To learn more about Log files, read this post on TECHNET: The Transaction Log (SQL Server).

We must understand one thing, that shrinking the DB log has got it’s own impact.


SQL Server 2012 Performance Dashboards – Some Real-Time Snapshots

Following are some real time SQL Server 2012 Performance Dashboards, taken from a real time SQL Server 2012 environment:







and much more…

It’s a great set of reports for every SQL Server DBA to understand his/her SQL Server environment.


Microsoft SQL Server 2012 – Performance Dashboard Reports

In March 2012 (precisely 6th March 2012), Microsoft made available SQL Server 2012 Performance Dashboard Reports which can be used to identify whether there is a current bottleneck on the system, and if so, capture additional diagnostic data that may be required to resolve it.

More information on this can be read from the download page: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Performance Dashboard Reports.

One point worth to be highlighted is that this doesn’t require Reporting Services to be installed.

It’s a very crucial and important tool for any database administrator.