Compare the Best SQL Server Performance
Monitoring Tools

Frustrated with your current SQL Server performance monitoring methodTired of seeing gaps in monitoring data? Wasting time getting to the root cause of the performance problem because you don’t have the right metrics?

You need a more accurate, efficient way to monitor SQL Server performance. Check out how the capabilities of the best SQL Server performance monitoring solutions stack up to one another. 

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SQL Sentry Premium

SQL Diagnostic Manager
Quest Software
Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise
Quest Software
Foglight for SQL Server
Redgate Software
SQL Monitor
Enterprise scalability—monitors 800+ SQL Server instances with one monitoring database icon-checkmark        
Resource-based capture and analysis of Top SQL queries icon-checkmark Limited  Limited  Limited  Limited 
Event calendar icon-checkmark        
Event chaining icon-checkmark        
SQL Agent job monitoring icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark  icon-checkmark Limited
Industry-leading query plan analysis

With built-in
Plan Explorer

Limited Limited Limited Limited
Live query profile and playback

With built-in
Plan Explorer

TempDB analysis icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark Limited
Wait stats analysis icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark
Advanced deadlock analysis and visualization icon-checkmark Limited Limited Limited Limited
Deadlock playback icon-checkmark        
Intelligent index optimization icon-checkmark        
Index defragmentation icon-checkmark Available in separate product icon-checkmark  icon-checkmark Available in separate product
Graphical Always On monitoring icon-checkmark Limited Limited Limited icon-checkmark
Customizable alerting icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark  icon-checkmark 
PowerShell module icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark
Storage performance visualization


Storage forecasting powered by machine learning icon-checkmark    



Fully integrated Windows process monitoring icon-checkmark Limited icon-checkmark Available in separate product  
Customizable Windows event log monitoring icon-checkmark   icon-checkmark Available in separate product  
Windows scheduled task management icon-checkmark Available in separate product      
Azure SQL Database monitoring icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark Limited icon-checkmark
Amazon RDS for SQL Server monitoring

APN Advanced Tier Partner

AWS Microsoft Workloads Competency Partner

icon-checkmark   icon-checkmark icon-checkmark
SQL Server on Linux monitoring

Red Hat Partner

icon-checkmark icon-checkmark  icon-checkmark   
SQL Server Analysis Services monitoring icon-checkmark Available in separate product icon-checkmark icon-checkmark  
SQL Server on VMware monitoring icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark
SQL Server on Hyper-V monitoring icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark Available in separate product icon-checkmark
Web interface icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark
Custom dashboards icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark icon-checkmark

This feature comparison was compiled on March 13, 2020 based on generally available product information. We recommend that you perform proper due diligence to make sure you choose the best tool for your database environment. Please contact us if you have any concerns or feedback.

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Companies with the highest demands for database performance choose SentryOne


Proactively Manage SQL Server Performance with SolarWinds SQL Sentry

SQL Sentry, the top-rated database performance monitoring solution, helps you solve database performance problems—and prevent future challengesthat could delay data delivery or even bring business data systems to a halt.  

With comprehensive support for SQL Server running in physical, virtual, and cloud environments, SQL Sentry offers many unique features, such as Advisory ConditionsStorage ForecastingEvent Chains, Event Calendarand built-in query tuning and analysis, that empower you to efficiently monitor, diagnose, and optimize your database environment and accelerate the delivery of critical business data. 

Optimal database performance is within reach. SQL Sentry delivers not only powerful database performance management capabilities in an intuitive dashboard but also extreme scalability, unrivaled customer support, and low overhead.

Choosing the Right SQL Server Monitoring Tool

SQL Server is the primary enterprise data platform for many companies, which makes its ongoing performance and availability critical to the success of businesses. SQL Server database monitoring tools enable you to continuously and automatically track important SQL Server performance and operational metrics. The last thing a data professional wants to find out is that the database is slow, or worse—down. SQL Server database monitoring tools enable you to proactively manage SQL Server performance by monitoring critical system metrics and providing notifications for any behaviors that indicate potential problems.

Table of Contents:



The Pain of Inadequate SQL Server Performance Monitoring

Many small and medium-sized businesses don’t perform any database performance monitoring or what monitoring they do have in place is very basic. However, the lack of monitoring can be like flying blind—you’re always surprised at what you encounter.

The Absence of Performance Baselines

One of the biggest problems with this approach is the absence of a performance baseline. For example, if one of your critical production applications suddenly experiences a performance problem, you can start troubleshooting the problem by using SQL Server Activity Monitor or the Dynamic Management Views (DMVs). However, without a regular history of your system’s performance, it’s difficult to quickly identify specific problem areas because you have no known reference points to compare to your current metrics. The absence of baselines vastly increases troubleshooting time. Having a set of performance baselines that were collected from regular monitoring enables you to quickly identify any anomalies by comparing current performance to historical metrics and identifying the differences. 

Manual Monitoring Is Time-Consuming

Although it’s possible to monitor your SQL Server database instances manually, comprehensive monitoring is a complex and difficult process that requires a great deal of expertise. There are hundreds of performance metrics you could analyze, and you need to know which metrics are important, what each metric means, and what the baseline is for each metric. You also must manually create and schedule several scripts to capture the required monitoring information. Manual monitoring solutions can be very labor intensive, making them easy to neglect.

In the best of cases, inadequate monitoring results in poor performance, and in the worst cases, it can even result in system downtime.



Database Performance Monitoring Benefits

SQL Server database monitoring tools take the heavy lifting out of performance monitoring, enabling you to efficiently optimize performance, troubleshoot performance problems, and perform capacity planning. Unlike DIY monitoring methods, which can be hit-or-miss, SQL Server database monitoring tools enable you to leverage the expertise of the solution provider to deliver monitoring of vital system metrics as well as advice and guidance for the conditions that the tool uncovers. Database monitoring tools can help you proactively manage and address issues before your users encounter performance problems. In addition, database monitoring tools collect historical data that enables you to quickly compare your current server state to previous states and track resource usage trends over time for capacity planning.

Crucial issues that SQL Server database monitoring tools can help you address include:



Features You Should Look for in a SQL Server Performance Monitoring Tool

Some of the capabilities you should look for in an effective SQL Server performance monitoring solution include:

Enterprise Scalability

You will want to look for a monitoring tool that can monitor physical, virtual, and cloud targets and scale to support your entire infrastructure—from a single SQL Server instance to hundreds of instances.

Tracking Vital System Metrics

Your monitoring solution needs to show all the vital SQL Server performance metrics, including long-running queries, queries with high I/O, missing indexes, deadlocks, blocks, and waits, as well as storage and system resource usage.


Although tracking vital metrics is important, it’s crucial that the solution you implement also provide guidance on the normal range for these metrics, as well as possible causes for any discrepancies.

Query Tuning

The ability to track and optimize your T-SQL query performance is vital for finding and fixing problematic queries. Your performance monitoring tool should be able to perform root cause analysis by drilling into problem queries to identify the underlying causes of performance problems.

Historical Baselines

Your performance monitoring solution needs to be able to regularly record and track your SQL Server system performance and environment conditions.

Low Overhead

Your monitoring solution shouldn’t impact your production processes and shouldn’t add compute overhead while it's monitoring your systems.


The ability to generate alerts for critical system conditions enables you to take corrective actions to rectify the alert conditions quickly. And the ability to customize alerts enables you to be notified just for the conditions that are important for your environment—allowing you to avoid annoying “alert storms" that notify you about every little event.


Evaluating SQL Server Database Monitoring Tools

When you’re evaluating database performance monitoring solutions, you need to do the following:

  1. Determine your business priorities so that you can confirm if a solution meets your specific needs.

  2. Set up a test environment that’s able to reproduce some of the common performance problems that you’ve encountered in your production environment, as you will want to assess solutions based on their ability to handle your test situations, as well as the vendor’s ability to provide customer support and/or consulting services.

  3. Look at the size of your organization and the characteristics of each solution to gauge its cost-effectiveness for your specific use case.


Why Choose SQL Sentry?


Powerful, scalable monitoring

Monitor 800+ targets with no data loss

Predict future storage needs

Best Azure & AWS database monitoring

Unrivaled customer experience

Highest TrustRadius rating 

Free, video-based online training

100% customer satisfaction for support