As a SQL Server DBA, Why Do I Need Performance Advisor for Windows?
SQL Sentry Performance Advisor (PA) for Windows is one of our newer product offerings, and I think one that could use a little bit of use-case clarification. I am often asked questions like this: "Why would I need Performance Advisor for Windows when Performance Advisor for SQL Server already shows me Windows metrics?"
There are several possible answers to this question:
- You really don't need it; Performance Advisor for SQL Server has you covered.
- You need visibility into other Windows Servers that aren't monitored by Performance Advisor for SQL Server.
- You need additional visibility into other things running on one or more of your monitored SQL Servers.
Before we talk about each of the three answers above, let's go over what Performance Advisor for Windows does:
- Adds the Processes Tab.
- Adds process group highlighting to the PA Dashboard.
- Allows monitoring of any Windows machine with the Windows portion of the PA Dashboard and the Processes Tab.
You really don't need it; PA for SQL Server has you covered.
This is the easy one. In the case of a standalone SQL Server instance with few to no other running services aside from the OS, you probably don't need PA for Windows, as there won't often be a need to see details about the "other" Network, CPU, and Memory metrics. In this case, you are probably going to be just fine with PA for SQL Server by itself.
You need visibility into other Windows Servers that aren't monitored by Performance Advisor for SQL Server.
There are plenty of use cases for this. If you are responsible for monitoring other servers in the environment that aren't running SQL Server, PA for Windows offers a great solution. Often, for users of PA for SQL Server these are servers that interact with your SQL Servers: VM Hosts, Sharepoint Farm Servers, App Servers, Servers used in ETL processes, and so on. This is helpful because a SQL Sentry user can create consolidated views of related servers, and easily drill into problems.
You need additional visibility into other things running on one or more of your monitored SQL Servers.
If you find yourself wondering what makes up the "Other" category that you see on the PA for SQL Server dashboard, those details can be collected and shown by PA for Windows. Well-known processes will have predefined color highlights, and highlights for other processes not automatically recognized by SQL Sentry can be created with a quick update to the SQL Sentry Database.
Detailed utilization metrics are also available on the Processes tab, which is also available in the Jump To menu for drill-down. This gives the user a way to see what is happening with processes like Reporting Services, Integration Services, Internet Information Services, third-party backup tools, and other things that might be running alongside the SQL Server process.
I hope this helps clear up the use cases, and what PA for Windows adds to servers already monitored by PA for SQL Server. Please comment below or contact us with any questions.
Scott (@ScottFallen) leads SentryOne’s Solutions Engineering team. He and the rest of the team interact with customers and prospective customers at conferences and trade shows, and provide demos and online webinars to existing and future users of the SentryOne platform. Scott has been teaching the SQL Server community and our customers about our products since 2010. Scott’s blog covers events that the SentryOne team attends and offers tips on using our software. Whether you are an existing customer, evaluating the software, or just curious who we are, be sure to check out his blog to see what is going on at SentryOne.