SQL SERVER Tools I Use and Recommend (Updated: October 2019)

I just returned from the long road trip to teach 21 SQL Server Performance Tuning Scripts Course. One of the most popular questions, I had received what tools I use personally when I work with SQL Server. Though I had answered them during the training session, let me list each of them here for reference for everyone.

SQL SERVER Tools I Use and Recommend (Updated: October 2019) tools-i-use-800x165

Tools I Use

Here are the different tools and their download links along with it.

  • Database Performance Analyzer (Download 1, Download 2) 
  • SQLGrease (Download)
  • SpotLight Cloud (Download)
  • Foglight (Download)
  • RedGate (Download)
  • Melissa (Download)

Database Performance Analyzer for Performance

I must admit I am a big of Database Performance Analyzer (DPA). The first thing it a free tool and it helps to manage pretty much any databases – virtually or physically. It reveals performance bottlenecks deep inside your SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 and SAP ASE instances. No other database monitoring tool focuses on response time and Multi-Dimensional Performance Analysis like DPA does.

Call to Action Download DPA or Alternative Link for FREE.

SQLGrease for Subscription Model

I have been using this tool for many clients who prefer subscription-based tool just for SQL Server. SQLGrease was built from the ground up specifically for SQL Server. Using the newest monitoring features in SQL Server, SQLGrease collects detailed information with extremely low overhead. SQLGrease installs in minutes. Upgrades do not require reinstallations and do not require end-user intervention. As a result, SQLGrease frequently introduces new features at no additional cost.

Call to Action Download SQLGrease

Foglight for Cross-Platform

I have been using Foglight more and more at my clients whenever I walk into the situation that I have to manage Cross-Platform database. with the foglight, you can proactively manage and monitor database environments, diagnose and tune real-time and historical performance, predict and troubleshoot issues, increase the health of your database environment.

Call to Action Download Foglight

RedGate for Monitoring

As the demand for more frequent deployments increases, the management of SQL Server availability needs to evolve. It’s essential that there’s a constant feedback loop between development and DBA teams about the impact of deployments. There’s also a need to ensure that the operations teams have full visibility of your estate, not just your production servers. If your engineering teams have access to secure development and testing servers, deployment issues are caught before they reach production.

Call to Action Download RedGate Whitepaper

Melissa for SQL Server Data Quality

I see an increasing need for SQL Server Data Quality in the industry nowadays. Melissa’s Data Quality Components for SSIS is a unique set of global data quality tools for Microsoft’s integration and ETL (extract-transform-load) solution that empowers users to collect data from any source, clean and enrich it during migration and integration operations, to gain immediate insight for actionable intelligence.

Call to Action Download Melissa

I strongly encourage you to check out the tool which I use for a variety of tasks.

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

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • We would like to monitor all our Oracle and SQL Server databases with a total size of 160TB. We are considering Foglight for Cross-Platform Databases but also SolarWinds DPA tool.
    The main issue we are facing with our current tool IDERA is that it brings additional load on the critical servers containing databases for our banking applications and causes slowness in performance.

    Which tool do you advise for monitoring performance of cross-platform databases (SQL Server & Oracle) that won’t bring additional load on servers?

    • Hi there,

      I really like Foglight for what it does and how easy it is to use, If you are DBA from the school of thoughts of DMVs and counters, this is going to perfect tool for you.

      However, If you are DBA from the school of thoughts of DMVs and Wait Stats, this is a perfect tool for you as it starts with the DMV.

      Do not get me wrong, both does look at wait stats and counters, it is just how they navigate across the screens.

      You are in difficult spot right now. I think Budget should take a call here

  • Thank you for the quick response..While IDERA is working on our servers, it puts extra load and causes our databases with 5TB data to have performance issues. In this respect, as far as I’ve read about the reviews, Foglight and DPA are similar and don’t make database perform slower than before.. Is this also what you have observed in your experience with these tools?

    • Great question.

      Most of my clients install them on a separate monitoring server so they add very little stress on the original server.

  • Pinal

    Which tool would you recommend for SQL code analysis?

  • Hi Pinal,
    thanks for showing some tools (several i know, the one I am using now, SQLgrease, i did not.

    During my check i started to wonder on these companies and how to find out if it is safe (in data storage security and such) to use. In a technical sense there is always a risk, just like using other cloud services, so, how can i get some insight in this?

    I did some searching on the internet to find positive or negative feedback on this. but besides several SQL specialists talking about the tools… i didn’t find a lot on that.



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