SQL Server 2008 will introduce several features that will assist DBAs in their quest to efficiently manage an ever growing number of databases and database server instances. Policy based management is one of these new features and it represents the beginning of a shift from the historical monitoring based management to a proactive or intent based management, empowering DBAs to manage by exception.
Policies enable DBAs to declare their intent for the data platform (across servers, databases, database objects). That is to declare "what is expected" and to be alerted when their intent is no longer being followed. In the coming weeks and months I am certain that as DBAs begin adopting Policies they will find innovative uses for this new area of functionality. I hope that you will share your experiences and provide us with feedback on your own adoption of policy based management.
There is a two part article on the Database Journal web site that introduces Policy Based Management. In Part II of the article the author describes a method of using Alerts and Jobs to automate a response to a policy violation. You can't get much more efficient than fully automating the detection and the correction of a policy violation.
In upcoming blogs I will cover some additional SQL Server 2008 features that assist DBAs in more efficiently managing larger deployments.