My First Look at SQL Monitor

I’ve used other tools for monitoring SQL Server, but this was my first look at SQL Monitor made by Redgate Software.

The first step was just to download the software and install it. It comes as part of the Redgate SQL Toolbelt, so I just had to make sure I selected the right tool from the bunch.

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After installing, I had to point it to an existing SQL Server where a database would be created, and two services would be set up. Next, I just had to supply the instance that I wanted to monitor.

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Since I was just setting all this up on a VM for a SQL in the City Streamed session, I installed everything on the same box. In a real production environment, you would probably set up a dedicated server for SQL Monitor. SQL Monitor is made to scale to hundreds of instances, so you don’t want it affecting any instances that you intend to monitor, and I also found that it needs to have enough memory to function properly.

One of the nice things about SQL Monitor, is that you do not need to install any client software. It’s completely web based. I tried it in Edge, IE, and Chrome and found no issues.

After launching the web page, I saw that it had already picked three problems with my instance! I saw those notifications less than five minutes after downloading the software. I was already impressed!

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I spent some time watching videos on the Redgate site and YouTube to learn more about the tool. In this case, since I would be presenting, I wanted to feel confident and not stumble around. I found that once I understood the layout, finding my way around was easy.

If you count the Availability Group alerts, there are about 40 alerts built-in, and you can decide which merit an email notification.

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Depending on the alert, you can configure them to meet your own requirements. For example, the “Log Backup Overdue Alert” can be configured for three thresholds. You may want to set different alert levels depending on how long since a transaction backup was performed.

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Another very cool feature is the ability to add custom metrics. Many of these were contributed by members of the Friends of Redgate program. I started out with a list of things I want to see in this type of tool. Between the built-in alerts and the available custom-built alerts, I found everything I needed.

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For those of you managing large SQL Server estates, be assured that this tool has a fantastic interface for viewing the status of hundreds of instances at once. Here is a look at our demo site which is running live against Redgate’s own production servers. You can play with this all you wish without breaking anything.

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Once an alert has been raised, drilling into it gives you quite a bit of information. You’ll see the performance metrics during that time period and a description of the problem. The description will get you started solving the issue.

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Overall, I was really impressed with SQL Monitor. It’s simple to install and use. You’ll spend some time making changes to the configuration, but it will start working immediately even if you don’t get to that right away.  

Posted in Database Administration, SQL Server Administration | 2 Comments

Live from Cambridge!

Every year, I present at eight or ten events plus user group meetings, either in person or remotely. Due to travel costs (yes, speakers pay their own way to events) and time, I’ve stayed in the US except for one event in Montreal almost ten years ago.  I love adding new states to my list of states where I have presented, but I decided that I should start adding new countries as well.

Again, that money and time thing has kept me close to home, but now my goal will be achieved next week! When I set goals, they are usually met, but not always in the ways I expect. Next week, I will be part of Redgate’s SQL in the City Streamed. This event will be broadcast live from Redgate’s headquarters in Cambridge, UK.

My session is “What SQL Server performance metrics should you monitor?” I’ll talk about my favorite things to watch out for as well as how to troubleshoot some common problems. I’ll be joined by MVPs Steve Jones and Grant Fritchey, so please tune in!

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PASS Summit 2017 Report

This is my 14th PASS Summit. I started going in 2003 and missed just 2012 in all those years. Once again, it was held in Seattle. I think that it’s a great location since it’s so close to Microsoft he22859726_10214569546539467_6711468017818284228_oadquarters. Microsoft has a big presence at the event with sessions, a big vendor booth area, and the Microsoft Data Clinic.

This year was a very special one for me. It’s my first Summit as a Redgate employee. I didn’t spend a ton of time at the Redgate booth, but I felt proud to talk to our customers as they came to the booth when I was there. Redgate hosted a great party Thursday night and the traditional Friends of Redgate Dinner. The Friends of Redgate Dinner has always been my favorite meal of Summit, but this year I was not there as a Friend which made it even more special for me.

As part of my new job, I met up with current Simple Talk authors and potential authors. For the past several years, Summit has been more about networking for me than attending sessions, so it didn’t feel much different.

I’m also co-leader of the PASS Women in Technology Virtual Group which meant I had quite a few obligations related to WIT throughout the week. We launched the first book of the Let Her Finish Series, Voices from the Data Platform. Six other successful data platform women and I wrote this book, each in our own voice. I have been involved with quite a few book projects, but this was the first book for most of the other women on the team. I am really hoping that the book inspires many other women to start writing.

I made it to about half of one session all week except for my own, of course. I gave a half-day session on Indexing for Beginners. It went well, but I would like to have had more people in the room.

I started the week at SQL Saturday in Portland and went out for Karaoke that night. In Seattle, I continued the Karaoke tradition at Bush Garden for five nights out of six. We had thought that last year would be the end of Bush Garden, but the developers have not taken over the building yet. We can only hope that it will still be there next year.

Overall, it was a fantastic week. Next year, it doesn’t happen during or near Halloween, so I think that will get more people coming back. I’m looking forward to 2018 and hope to see you there!

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