Building an inventory of SQL Server instances is a very important task for DBA’s and using registered servers is an easy way of building an organised list of instances and their connection details within Management Studio.
There’s a number of advantages to using registered servers. Servers can be grouped together which is a great way to organise your list of instances, very useful if you have different environment types such as development, testing and production. Also, when instances are registered the connection details are saved and can be reused for subsequent connections.
One of the great features of registered servers is that groups themselves can be queried, which means a query is executed against the all servers in that particular group. For the DBA this can be really handy for administrative activities such as checking SQL alerts or querying backup history across multiple servers.
Registered servers can also be exported and imported through Management Studio which means the instance details can be shared. Anyone who has started work on a very large estate and has not been given a list of servers knows how painful the process can be to track down all the instances of SQL Server and their connection details (for security, usernames and passwords can be excluded from export).