Welcome to the Azure Marketplace
One of the freeing things about virtualization in general is that you can quickly spin up a Virtual Machine for a short term task, and then just throw it away.
If you want to test out a proof of concept, have some temporary machines to run a demonstration on, or try out a new product, virtualization makes this trivial. Cloud providers like Azure make it even easier, because as long as you have permissions to a subscription you can handle all of this self-service.
At SQL Sentry, we wanted to take advantage of this flexibility by providing a Virtual Machine preconfigured with our software for evaluation and use. I’d like to announce the availability of a SQL Sentry Performance Advisor Evaluation virtual machine in the Azure Marketplace!
The Virtual Machine you create from this image will contain our SQL Sentry Performance Advisor product, complete with a trial license of the core product, Event Manager, Fragmentation Manager, Azure SQL Database support, Azure SQL Data Warehouse Support and more. Geared mostly for evaluation, this image uses SQL Server Express 2014 as the repository for the performance data the product collects.
This works just fine if you are evaluating the product, or just want to monitor a few things. It is recommended that if you plan on monitoring more than three targets or instances, that you use SQL Server Standard edition or higher to serve as the repository. You can also bring your SQL Sentry license to the image and replace the evaluation license if you’d like.
What’s this cost you? Just the normal cost of running a VM in Azure. You select the size of VM to run the image on, but we suggest that you select at least an A2 (Basic or Standard) or higher. We don’t charge anything for the evaluation license itself.
So how do you take advantage of this capability? If you have an Azure Subscription, simply search for SentryOne in the marketplace within the portal. You’ll find it under the Data + Analytics category. Select the image, click Create and then provide the required information for setting up a Virtual Machine in Azure.
If you’ve never set up a VM in Azure before, don’t worry, it’s pretty easy! There’s a tutorial by Microsoft you can follow, simply start with the SQL Sentry image in the Marketplace rather than the Windows Server 2012 image they mention; all the rest of the steps are the same.
Once the VM is deployed into your subscription, you can Remote Desktop into the VM. You’ll see that there is a Getting Started shortcut on the desktop, as well a shortcut to start up the SQL Sentry Client. The first time you start up the client, you’ll be shown the Setup Wizard.
One of the features of our product is email alert notifications, so the wizard will first prompt you for SMTP settings. If you wish to set up email alerts for the system you can fill in the SMTP settings of a public facing SMTP server (you can use a SMTP server provided by Google, Outlook.com or other provider if your organization doesn’t have a publicly exposed SMTP server), or you can choose to skip the SMTP settings for now.
After the setup wizard is completed, you’ll be shown the Add Target Wizard, where you can add your first target. We suggest starting with an Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Data Warehouse target. If you deploy this VM into an Azure Virtual Network that contains other VMs running SQL Server Standard, or higher, you can also add those SQL Servers to your monitored targets. Note that for the best experience, if you are going to monitor SQL Servers in the environment, we recommend all the Virtual Machines belong to the same domain.
We have a lot of information about getting started in our Quick Start Guide, as well as some suggestions for getting the most from an evaluation in our Evaluation Highlights guide. As with any of our products, if you run into something that doesn’t look right, or need some help, reach out to our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, what are you waiting for? Go try out the product! We’ll be keeping the image in the Marketplace updated with the newest major versions of the product so that as we release new features you can use this as way to try them out.
Mike (@mikewo) is the Site Reliability Engineering Manager for SentryOne, working on cloud based products, services, and related technologies. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the industry, and for the last decade has been focusing on cloud technologies. He was one of the first Microsoft Azure MVPs, first recognized in 2010, and has been awarded an MVP each year since. Mike also blogs at mvwood.com.