SQL Server Hardware Checklist

I’m in the process of putting together a SQL Server hardware inventory/audit checklist for an upcoming book project. The purpose of this list is to provide a comprehensive listing of all the important information about the components of a physical server used to run SQL Server. Besides collecting hardware information, it is also designed to collect some configuration information that may be of importance for SQL Server performance and high availability.

Below is the current version of my SQL Server hardware inventory/audit checklist, which is in the form of a spreadsheet that can be used not only to collect and store the information, but it can also be customized as needed by DBAs to better meet their environment.

The Basics    
Hardware Manufacturer:    
Model Number:    
Serial Number:    
Physical Location of Server:    
Purchase Date:    
Warranty/Service Contract Number:    
Warranty/Service Telephone Number:    
Date Warranty Expires:    
Number of CPU Sockets:    
Number of Installed CPUs:    
CPU Model:    
CPU Ghz Speed:    
Number of Cores per CPU:    
Type of Hyperthreading:    
Is Hyperthreading on or off:    
CPU L2 Cache Size:    
CPU Bus Speed:    
Motherboard BIOS Version:    
Is BIOS Version Current:    
Current Amount of RAM:    
Additional RAM Capacity Available:    
Number of Memory Slots Used:    
Number of Memory Slots Available:    
ECC Memory:    
Network Adapter    
Hardware Manufacturer:    
Model Number:    
Number of Ports per Card:    
Number of Cards:    
BIOS Version Number:    
Is BIOS Version Current:    
NIC Speed/Duplex Setting:    
Is the NIC Power Saving Feature Off:    
Type: Local, DAS, SAN, Combo:    
Local/Integrated RAID Controller    
Number of Local RAID Controllers:    
Type: SCSI, SAS, etc.    
Controller Hardware Manufacturer:    
Number of Ports:    
Controller Model Number:    
Controller Cache Size:    
Is There a Cache Battery:    
Is Write Back Caching On:    
Controller BIOS Version Number:    
Is Controller BIOS Version Current:    
External RAID Controllers    
Number of External RAID Controllers:    
Type: SCSI, SAS, etc.    
Controller Hardware Manufacturer:    
Controller Model Number:    
Number of External Ports:    
Controller Cache Size:    
Is There a Cache Battery:    
Is Write Back Caching On:    
Controller BIOS Version Number:    
Is Controller BIOS Version Current:    
Local Disk Configuration    
RAID Configuration:    
Number of Physical Drives:    
Physical Dimension of Drives:    
Drive Capacity:    
Drive Speed/RPM:    
Total Available Disk Space:    
HBAs for External Storage    
Number of HBAs:    
Type: iSCSI, Fibre Channel, etc:    
Type of Connectors:    
HBA Hardware Manufacturer:    
HBA Model Number:    
HBA BIOS Version Number:    
Is HBA BIOS Version Current:    
DAS Disk Configuration    
RAID Configuration:    
Number of Drives:    
Physical Dimension of Drives:    
Drive Capacity:    
Drive Speed/RPM:    
Total Available Disk Space:    
SAN Disk Configuration    
SAN Manufacturer:    
SAN Model:    
iSCSI, Fibre Channel, etc:    
SAN Cache Capacity:    
SAN Software Version:    
Is SAN Software Current:    
Number of Attached LUNs:    
RAID Configuration per LUN:    
Number of Drives Used per LUN:    
Capacity of Drives Used in LUNs:    
Speed of Drives Used in LUNs:    
Available Disk Space per LUN:    
Are LUNs Shared or Dedicated:    
High Availability    
Redundant Power Supplies:    
Redundant NICs:    
Redundant Controllers:    
All Components Connected to UPS:    
Is Server Physically Secure:    
If Cooling Required, is it Redundant:    
Number of Cluster Nodes:    
Number of Active Nodes:    
Number of Passive Nodes:    
Type of Quorum:    
Type of Shared Storage:    
Are HBAs Redundant:    
Are Storage Switches Redundant:    
Are NIC Switches Redundant:    
Are NICs Redundant:    
Tape Drive: Internal/External:    
Tape Drive Manufacturer:    
Tape Drive Model:    
Local Disk:    
DAS Disk:    
SAN Disk:    

In some cases above, when there are two or more components (such as multiple RAID arrays), a separate column would be used to provide information for each component.

I would really like your input on this list. For example:

–What is missing from the list? What hardware or configuration information should I add? Keep in mind that I can’t include every possible variation.

–What on the list could be removed because it is not very important? Keep in mind that the list is designed to be generic, so there will be items on the list that will not be applicable to all SQL Server environments.

–Does my wording make sense, or should I change any of the wording so that it is more understandable or more accurate?

If you are already using your own hardware inventory checklist, I would appreciate it if you could e-mail me a copy (empty of course) of it to bradmcgehee@hotmail.com. I won’t share the list, but I would like to see how you are keeping track of hardware-related information. Thanks!

9 thoughts on “SQL Server Hardware Checklist

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  3. Good list, Brad. I’m not sure what you mean by 32-bit or 64-bit memory. You might want to list the total number of memory slots in the system. I would add the purchase date and warranty expiration date. If it is Dell hardware, you will want the Service Tag number.

    You have a typo in “Is Their a Cache Battery”. I always like to know the version of the main BIOS, and the versions for any other firmware (such as RAID controllers, HBAs, etc.)

    Even though it is not hardware, I always like to include information about the OS and SQL Server on a list like this. For example, Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition and SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, Build 1702

  4. Gethyn: I don’t have a virtual server checklist, and I would like to create one. Currently, I don’t have access to the right hardware to test SQL Server in a virtual environment in order to create such a list, although I hope to in the future. If anyone has a checklist for virtual servers and would like to share it, that would be great.

    Glenn: Thanks for your feedback. In regards to an OS checklist, I am currently working on one.

    After the feedback I have received (from here and elswhere), I have updated the list to the one you currently see in this blog post.

  5. I would include
    – the systems that it supports to get an idea of urgency/importance of server – is it HR/Accounts or departmental inventory …
    – warranty/support level – 4 hour response, 48 hour response etc

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  7. Hi Brad,

    I would add Disk Sector Alignment to the Storage section. “Hard disk sectors are optimally configured to have a starting offset of 64 KB or a multiple of 64 KB. Hard disk sectors were detected that have starting offsets that differ from this configuration. For RAID volumes, which are made of multiple physical spindles, this can adversely affect I/O response time.” (SQL Server BPA)

  8. Svetlana, I have added disk sector alighment to the operating system checklist, not the hardware list, as the OS is used to perform this task. Or, perhaps, you have a good reason it should be on the hardware checklist list and not the OS checklist?

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