Blog Post

Poor man’s SQL monitor


Here is quick tip that can help you track SQL Job and Alert notifications in Microsoft Outlook. Many of you may already do this, but for those who do not, if you arrange your inbox “by conversation”, instead of date, emails will grouped by subject. This will enable you to easily “arrow down” through the group and quickly compare messages.

Look at a standard a SQL Server Alert notification as an example:

Subject: SQL Server Alert System: 'Batch Requests/sec
DATE/TIME: 5/2/2011 5:35:01 AM
DESCRIPTION: The SQL Server performance counter 'Batch Requests/sec' (instance 'N/A') of object 'SQLServer:SQL Statistics' is now above the threshold of 1000.00 (the current value is 1077.30).

By sorting through several of these “Batch Requests/sec“ messages you can quickly compare important information such as the date/time and the current Batch Request/sec value.

For this server, it is normal to receive this message a few times randomly throughout the week, if it is not accompanied with other alerts. In this particular case, I received this email exactly every 30 minutes, between the hours of 5 AM and 10 AM. I may have eventually found this pattern anyway, but by arranging my inbox by conversation, it was quick and easy to spot the pattern. The exact time pattern suggested some type scheduled job or process, which was exactly the problem in this case.

I have come to like the “arrange by conversation” view so much, I now view all email like this. Often DBA’s find themselves involved in many projects and conversations, and sometimes we are involved in ALL the projects at once. Being able to organize emails better helps me stay up to date with my projects, conversations, improve multi-tasking, and I know who said what, and when.