Frustrated with your current SQL Server performance monitoring method? Tired 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.
SQL Diagnostic Manager
Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise
Foglight for SQL Server
|Enterprise scalability—monitors 800+ SQL Server instances with one monitoring database|
|Resource-based capture and analysis of Top SQL queries||Limited||Limited||Limited||Limited|
|SQL Agent job monitoring||Limited|
|Industry-leading query plan analysis||
|Live query profile and playback||
|Wait stats analysis|
|Advanced deadlock analysis and visualization||Limited||Limited||Limited||Limited|
|Intelligent index optimization|
|Index defragmentation||Available in separate product||Available in separate product|
|Graphical Always On monitoring||Limited||Limited||Limited|
|Storage performance visualization||
|Storage forecasting powered by machine learning||
|Fully integrated Windows process monitoring||Limited||Available in separate product|
|Customizable Windows event log monitoring||Available in separate product|
|Windows scheduled task management||Available in separate product|
|Azure SQL Database monitoring||Limited|
|Amazon RDS for SQL Server monitoring|
|SQL Server on Linux monitoring|
|SQL Server Analysis Services monitoring||Available in separate product|
|SQL Server on VMware monitoring|
|SQL Server on Hyper-V monitoring||Available in separate product|
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.
SQL Sentry, the top-rated database performance monitoring solution, helps you solve database performance problems—and prevent future challenges—that 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 Conditions, Storage Forecasting, Event Chains, Event Calendar, and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Some of the capabilities you should look for in an effective SQL Server performance monitoring solution include:
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.
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.
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.
Your performance monitoring solution needs to be able to regularly record and track your SQL Server system performance and environment conditions.
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.
When you’re evaluating database performance monitoring solutions, you need to do the following:
Determine your business priorities so that you can confirm if a solution meets your specific needs.
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.
Look at the size of your organization and the characteristics of each solution to gauge its cost-effectiveness for your specific use case.