Don't Build a Monitoring System

  • Hi Carla, I think you've summed it up perfectly 🙂

  • Most magazines that accept advertising don't do head to head comparisons because it's bad for business. We tried to do that years ago and it was a mess.

    Consumer Reports, and a few other magazines that will go head to head, often don't rely so heavily on advertising, so they can make things work better.

  • Most magazines that accept advertising don't do head to head comparisons because it's bad for business.

    Can you really substantiate that - because almost all the computer orientated magazines I read:

    1. Take advertising

    2. Do comparative reviews

    Indeed most have their monthly comparative review as their headline article.

    Which magazines were your thinking of that don't do this ?

  • Is there still a licence condition on Microsoft SQL Server that you need Microsoft's approval to publish product benchmarks? I suppose that could affect open discussion of third party tools as well.

    For that matter, in any conversation here where one of us says, "I ran the query like this and like that, here are the times taken each way", we could be breaching the licence just there. Or even saying "User-defined functions are pretty lame." Note I put that in quotes, I did not say it (I like 'em!)

  • Earlier in this forum several people mentioned creating an open source tool for monitoring. I'm wondering if members would actually be interested in doing this. I for one would love to a part of a project like this.

    It would also be interesting to see what functions DBAs would like to see in an open source tool

    Comments?

    Rudy

    Rudy

  • Most of the software reviews I've seen are very light. They don't seem to do the same job that a Consumer Reports does. There are exceptions, but they tend to be careful about what complaints they have. There is definitely pressure from advertisers if a piece comes out that beats on software too hard.

    I can't provide you specific examples, but I can say that we have had reviews done in the past that we submitted to vendors for comment, and we told that we would lose advertising if we did not remove some of the harsh comments.

    What you also don't always see is that some companies will not submit their products for review if they suspect a bad review is coming. Look at all the software you use, and then how many reviews there are. There aren't a lot. The IE v Firefox ones, Word v google Apps don't count.

  • Several of the interesting articles in SQLServerCentral.com are of the form "Here is the stored procedure / script / business process that I use to..." Some of them are less interesting because you've already got one of those or it isn't something that you do. But certainly there's enthusiasm for do-it-yourself solutions, at least for addressing individual issues. An overall system for adding value would need more of an organised effort, less of a hobbyist approach - which I think is still how some of us, I anyway, approach such tasks. Half for fun, to prove it can be done!

    To make some obvious points, ideally a SQL Server Central monitoring and maintenance toolkit should have versions for different SQL Server products, versions, and configurations (we just stepped up to SQL Server 2005), should be as straightforward to use as possible, with plenty of documentation and comments, integration into Management Studio or for diehards Enterprise Manager would be nice (elementary example, you may be shocked: I had separate "external tool" entries added in EM just to "ping" (TCP/IP) each of our remote-sited servers to verify we could even talk to them, but I didn't need that every day), and also on my wish list is that tools should deal well with an overstressed server. You know when a rogue process or lock or conflict means that EM or SSMS can't even display information about possible rogue processes or locks or conflicts? A good tool doesn't go dark on you in that situation. Maybe I should publish some of my own scripts... but you probably have good ones already.

  • I can say that we have had reviews done in the past that we submitted to vendors for comment, and we told that we would lose advertising if we did not remove some of the harsh comments.

    Ouch - how unethical - obviously if you are living off advertising that can be difficult to deal with - I would have thought that offering them the chance to have included in the article their response and details of how they intend to address any identified shortcomings would have been the ethical way forward. It also opens another can of worms - should you be accepting adverts for products you know to be shoddy? A bit of an extreme analogy but should a financial site show adverts from load sharks - I think not - so where do you draw the line.

    Look at all the software you use, and then how many reviews there are. There aren't a lot.

    I do agree that the more "enterprise" the application the less available the comparative reviews are - I think this is probably due to a mixture of:

    a. The audience for the reviews is much lower so it would not be as compelling to devote time to writing an article

    b. The software is much harder to review anyway

    c. The software is expensive so if it is not provided free for review it would be difficult to justify purchase for review

    d. The infrastructure required for and installation of these products can be quite major

    That said there are consultancies (Bloor, Gartner etc) that make money from reports on this sort of thing.

  • It's hard to draw a line. I've been told we were idiots because we quite often refused $$$ to do something. Left money on the table, but I think we drew a moral line that we could live with and pay the bills. It can be a nasty world.

    There are people, like Gartner, Consumer Reports, and they charge. I often see people not wanting to pay for their info, and wanting someone to "share" it with them.

    we've talked about a "software consumer reports", but never had the time, or money to see if enough people would actually pay $2-5 a month for info. At least without sharing it with their friends.

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