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Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:25 AM
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Morning all.

I've been asked to garner the opinions of the masses as to a best-of-breed monitoring solution for our SQL2008 instances. Having done a search of the forums it seems that this was last discussed two to three years ago, and while the results may well still stand I thought it best to ask what people use and/or recommend for general all-round monitoring of performance, efficiency, expensive queries, blocking, etc etc.

Our system runs off one main server hosting a number of different databases, which are themselves spread across a number of files on an enterprise SAN. We have hundreds of sessions connected pretty much at all times other than a short window in the early hours of the morning when our main systems are unavailable. Due to the increasing load on the server we're continually tuning the performance and tweaking queries, and we're getting to the point where the individual returns are so small that it's difficult to know for sure where best to concentrate our efforts so this tool would hopefully be useful in that. We also need to be able to diagnose and resolve errors very quickly as any downtime is unacceptable during business hours.

I know that SQLServerCentral itself uses Red-Gate tools (SQL monitor) and the people in the threads in 2010 were suggesting various others including Confio and Idario (?). We want something that will be able to notify an administrator if errors go beyond a given threshold, and it would be nice if we could forensically work out what was causing an error or slowdown after it has finished or been resolved, but I don't know if anything has that ability. Cost isn't too much of an issue - if it's the best and will accomplish what we're trying to do then we're willing to pay for it accordingly.

Thanks in advance

Kev

EDIT: It seems I missed part of the subject off... Can a mod sort that out? Should have been 'for SQL 2008 production system'


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Post #1416405
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:30 AM


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To name a few, product - company

SQL Monitor - Red-Gate
Idera DM - Idera
Spotlight - Quest\Dell
Foglight - Quest\Dell
SQL Sentry - SQL Sentry

Solarwinds have started doing an application monitoring module which connects to a ODBC database.

Other people will probably chip in with more

My advice would be to get a copy of each (Foglight will be tricky, best off speaking to Quest\Dell as it is a complex install so they usually get a technician to do it) play with them and see which one you like best.

In the past I have used Idera and Spotlight, they did the trick for us.

But it would all come down to your personal preference, what your looking for and what suits you best.




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Post #1416406
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:42 AM
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I have used Redgate SQLMonitor, Quest Spotlight and Idera Diagnostic Manager at various sites and found them all to be competent - though the user interfaces could have been more responsive for all 3.

However I haven't seen the latest versions so can't comment further.

I saw a demo of SQL Sentry Performance Advisor last year and was VERY impressed, but I have yet to see it in a production environment.

I suggest you get demos of everything, and some offer free trials. I guess that cost is probably not an issue as you have just one server?



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Post #1416408
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:56 AM
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I guess that cost is probably not an issue as you have just one server?

That's true - that server has a huge number of CPUs in it though so per-CPU pricing will be the killer :)


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Post #1416411
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 4:58 AM


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Kevin Gill (2/6/2013)
I guess that cost is probably not an issue as you have just one server?

That's true - that server has a huge number of CPUs in it though so per-CPU pricing will be the killer :)
How many CPU's are we talking? Also not getting confused between CPU's and cores?




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Managing Transaction Logs - Gail Shaw
Troubleshooting SQL Server: A Guide for the Accidental DBA - Jonathan Kehayias and Ted Krueger

Post #1416412
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:03 AM


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SQL Monitor is done I belive on a instance basis

Idera is done on an instance basis

Spotlight is done on a server or CPU basis (unsure if the server relates to instance or if its the physical box, last time I purchased it was physical but you would need to double check with Quest)

SQL Sentry is done per instance




Want an answer fast? Try here
How to post data/code for the best help - Jeff Moden
Need a string splitter, try this - Jeff Moden
How to post performance problems - Gail Shaw
CrossTabs-Part1 & Part2 - Jeff Moden
SQL Server Backup, Integrity Check, and Index and Statistics Maintenance - Ola Hallengren
Managing Transaction Logs - Gail Shaw
Troubleshooting SQL Server: A Guide for the Accidental DBA - Jonathan Kehayias and Ted Krueger

Post #1416414
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:10 AM
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Hmm - could be lots of cores. Just checking now.

It has 16 cores which I believe are spread across 4 CPUs, so maybe not that dangerous.


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Post #1416420
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 5:10 AM


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DISCLOSURE: I work for Red Gate Software.

I've used all the major tools and most of them against a production environment. Each of them does different things for you in varying levels of detail and in different ways. I'll freely admit to a bias, but here are the three I'd evaluate:

Red Gate SQL Monitor (of course)
SQL Sentry
Confio Ignite

Our software is a good choice for general monitoring, up-time, guidance on performance problems, historical information tracking & custom metrics and alerts. SQL Sentry is good for highly detailed monitoring and nth degree drill-down, customizable alerting, and some fairly sophisticated tools for diagnosing performance issues. Ignite is excellent for identifying exactly which queries are causing you performance problems, some general monitoring, some alerting.

In addition to what these things do, you'll want to look at cost because for some of the higher-end products, you're paying higher end pricing.

If you do decide to evaluate SQL Monitor and you need any input, get in touch.


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Post #1416421
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 6:30 AM
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Grant Fritchey (2/6/2013)
Red Gate SQL Monitor (of course)
SQL Sentry
Confio Ignite

Our software is a good choice for general monitoring, up-time, guidance on performance problems, historical information tracking & custom metrics and alerts. SQL Sentry is good for highly detailed monitoring and nth degree drill-down, customizable alerting, and some fairly sophisticated tools for diagnosing performance issues. Ignite is excellent for identifying exactly which queries are causing you performance problems, some general monitoring, some alerting.

I've just googled Ignite and that looks interesting from a debugging and development efficiency point of view but their website says that it doesn't do routine monitoring, so that would be an as-well rather than an instead presumably. We've used a trial of SQLSentry Plan Explorer and that's an amazing piece of kit for working out the issues with a given query, and we've used some red gate related stuff for backups etc in the past I think though that was done by our last DBA so I've not seen any of it operating. I guess I'll recommend that we get hold of trials of these three things then if we can. I've had a quick look at Spotlight/Foglight too and they look quite impressive. Foglight in particular may be useful as we're also (in parallel as it were) looking for something to monitor our farm of ASP.NET servers.

If you do decide to evaluate SQL Monitor and you need any input, get in touch.

Will do, thanks.


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Post #1416469
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013 6:53 AM


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I won't say bad things about the competition, but be sure you do a VERY thorough evaluation of the Quest/Dell offerings. Just saying.

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"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood..." Theodore Roosevelt
The Scary DBA
Author of: SQL Server 2012 Query Performance Tuning
SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled
and
SQL Server Execution Plans

Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software
Post #1416486
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