What regular maintenance tasks should I schedule to ensure a smooth-running SQL Server environment?

This question is common for novices and experienced SQL Server administrators alike. Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide is a best-practices handbook that contains a wealth of helpful information about this topic. Unfortunately, many people in the SQL Server community don't know that the guide exists. You can find the SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/TechNet/prodtechnol/sql/maintain/operate/opsguide/default.asp.

As this home page says, you should read the guide if you're "responsible for keeping your organization's database systems up and running," you're "the one they call in the middle of the night if the database server is down," or you simply want to learn more about SQL Server operational best practices. The guide includes a section that outlines suggested daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance tasks. Other chapters address such important topics as change, configuration, and release management; security administration; system administration; monitoring and control; capacity and storage management; problem and incident management; and service management.

The SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide draws on knowledge from Microsoft Consulting Services, Microsoft's internal technical support groups, and the SQL Server development team and is worth the read regardless of your level of experience with SQL Server.