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Don't Build a Monitoring System

By Grant Fritchey,

Today we have a guest editorial from Grant Fritchey

A lot of the presentations I’ve attended over the years at various events and many of the articles I read here at SQL Server Central and on other web sites, all spend a lot of time talking about how to collect monitoring data from Performance Monitor, Trace Events, and more recently, Dynamic Management Views. I’ve done it myself in things I’ve written and sessions I’ve given. The thing is I don’t build that many mechanisms for collecting performance data. Yes, in the past, I have built reasonably solid monitoring processes that collect the data automatically from the sources available, but only when forced to. Most of the time I’ve quickly done my best to convince anyone I work with, or for, that in a buy vs. build situation, when it comes to monitoring, buy is better. So do a lot of others.

Why then do so many of the people teaching and writing spend all this time trying to get everyone to build a monitoring suite? Even Microsoft doesn’t want us to do that any more. They introduced Data Collector with SQL Server 2008. It only collects data on 2008 servers so far, but the message from Microsoft is clear. They want us to buy, not build. There are all these great companies out there providing various monitoring solutions; Microsoft Operations Manager, Quest Foglight and Spotlight, Red Gate SQL Response, Idera Diagnostic Manager, SQL Server Sentry, and many others I can’t think of at the moment. So why are we being pushed so hard to build our own performance metric data collection software?

The only answer I can come up with is that we don’t want to be seen as openly pushing a third party tool. It would turn you into a salesman for that product. If you wanted to submit a session on how to install, tune and enhance ApplicationX for monitoring your server, most of the major events would you turn you down. Yet, all over the place, we’re using these tools. Wouldn’t a good article on how to use ApplicationZ better be as important to a lot of us as more performance tuning tips? Is there a way we could be honest about how we collect performance metrics without becoming salesmen? I’m not sure it’s possible. What do you think?


Guest Podcasts

Grant has taken a step into the podcasting world with audio and video of today's editorial. Check out the versions, and feel free to leave us feedback. We know the audio is a little low, but we're working on that.


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