I’ve been running Indepth on a dozen SQL Server for over one year and half years.
You can install the monitoring agent on another machine so that nothing is installed the SQL Server. This feature is called remote monitoring which I’ve used on several SQL Servers. I would recommend remote monitoring over running the monitoring agent locally. Either way the resource usage on the monitored SQL Server is very low much lower than running a trace in fact Indepth claims it add less than 1 % overhead.
Data by default is stored in 16 – 32 MB files which are written to round-robin. The size of file is adjustable and the amount of detailed history is determined by the size of the file and the activity on the server. Most of my installations use the default and I am able to use one file per day giving me 16 days of detailed history. On some of the more active servers I’ve adjusted the file size to 64 or 100 MB in order to get the one file per day history.
Data is also loaded into a backend database for long-term retention although you lose some detail as there is a rollup of data. I believe you get a daily view for 4 weeks which is then rolled up into a weekly view after a certain number of weeks and then finally rolled into a monthly view.
Indepth works by reading the history files or the buffer of the collector and does not require SQL Server privileges to use for the most part except if you request certain options such as generating a query plan from the GUI.
I’d also point out this review is for 1.5 version the 6.5 version (the next version after 1.5) has been out for over 6 months and includes many cool features including:
Captures perfmon counters in addition to SQL statements
New blocking troubleshooting ability
Use capture queries to run index tuning wizard
Collapses like statements
There are also a lot of features which the author did not address (either for the sake of brevity or lack of familiarity).
I would add Veritas technical support is excellent I’ve contact them on numerous occasions and they’ve always responded quickly. It’s true the price is high, but the support you get is great. If anyone has used their backup software you are probably familiar with their good support.
I would recommend if you purchase this product which I believe is the best SQL performance monitoring tool on the market you sign up for their training. I attended an 8-hour WebEx training session which helped explain how to use this very powerful and somewhat complex tool.