SQL SERVER – How Do I Evaluate Monitoring Tools?

From last many years, I have been working with SQL Server focusing on Performance Tuning and Optimization. I often get asked what is my favorite monitoring tool. I have previously written about this subject on the blog and there are five part blog series about it. However, today, I am going to talk about the 3 important properties which I look for in all the monitoring tools.

Light Weight Footprint

Performance Monitoring is a very critical task and it becomes a very critical task when there the system is performing under pressure. There are often situations such that various essential resources are not available and if during this situation the tool which we have to monitor the profile has a very heavy footprint, it can work against the application.

I strongly suggest that you select the SQL Server Performance Monitoring tool which has very lightweight footprints.

Past, Current and Future

Performance monitoring tool should not only be looking at the current situation but should be actually looking into the past historical data and make a prediction for the future based on which we should be able to take preventive measures in the current environment. A good monitoring tool looks at your system comprehensively and provides you enough data point where you can make the right decision to avoid any future disasters.

A good monitoring tool always has good heuristic analysis component build in it which helps it to surface appropriate prediction of the future.

Corrective Actions

Time has come when the monitoring tools grow from their old school style counter based monitoring. There are so many new developments like Wait Statistics, DMV and Artificial Intelligence which helps our tool to become even more smarter. There was a time when tools used to show various values of the counters and based on them we used to make a decision. However, in the new age, the counter based analysis is very rusty and often inaccurate.

Not every tool has reached the maturity of the suggesting corrective actions looking at the various data points of the application.

My Recommendation for Monitoring Tools

I have been working with various performance tuning monitoring tools and here are my recommendations. The recommendation is primarily based on my customer’s feedback. I have interviewed countless customers and the three topics which I have listed above are a very important aspect for them.

My recommendation (in no particular order):

  • Database Performance Analyzer – Blog and Download
  • SQL Diagnostic Manager – Blog and Download
  • SQL Monitor – Blog and Download
  • Spotlight Cloud – Blog and Download
  • SQL Plan Warnings – Blog and Download

Reference: Pinal Dave (https://blog.sqlauthority.com)

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