in reply to perl & SQL best practices

Do you have backups? If hardware fails, do you know how much downtime there will be? Do you know how much data loss is acceptable? Do you know how much downtime is acceptable? You do not mention requirements with regard to availability, but perhaps replication is an useful option? (I don't know the replication possibilities of MS SQLServer; I assume they are there.)

If you do not have backups and answers to the above questions, I would say: disregard everything else and get that organised first.