Monitoring database servers not only for SQL but all kinds of database systems is really a crucial task and need of any admin to make sure all applications run properly that use data stored on databases. Here we will talk about some tools available with free trials to monitor the performance of SQL server to note its performance, how long it has been online, track the health, load, and a lot more other stats.
What is database monitoring?
Monitoring a database is no different than monitoring other IT components. The main goal of database monitoring is to ensure that data is available when needed. This sounds simple, but the actual operation is quite complicated, partly because of the number and variety of components. So just like any hardware, we have to also track the server where we have installed the database software to know its performance and health so that we can initiate its maintenance and timely response to resolve any issue or bottlenecks that appear from time to time to make our applications run properly.
For example, a WordPress based website that uses MySQL database server to store data, thus suppose it has some million of traffic and quite a good load on Database server because thousands of the query are being generated every second. In such a situation if we don’t monitor our database to ensure its smooth performance we could lose a good amount of revenue. It is a very small example just thing about Amazon with billions of monthly web traffic. So, just envisage if the network admins and developers don’t know what is going inside the Amazon Database servers, eventually, a single problem could shut down the whole website and million-dollar of plunge.
Although a database is an abstract concept, it is composed of very specific things. From hardware to software, database monitoring tools must always ensure that all components are available and operating within the normal range.
7 Best SQL Server Monitoring Tools 2021
If you neglect the proper observation of the SQL server then it would not only attenuate the performance but also results in a loss in terms of money and time. Thus, every DB Administrators and Engineers understands the importance of SQL monitoring tools. Therefore here we are with some best SQL server performance monitoring tools along with downloading their trial versions and software list so that one can cope with the problem that could erupt to cause Database server system failure.
Note: The tools are listed on random bases, not on some benchmark order…
1. Solarwinds Database Performance Analyzer
Solarwinds’ Database Performance Analyzer is an advanced tool for monitoring, analyzing, and tuning database and SQL query performance to find out the hindrance or obstruction in the performance of the Database. This SQL Database analyzer tool uses a Response time Analysis system to find out how much delay a single query took since the origin and getting the response of the same from the database.
The price of the SolarWinds’ DB analyzer starts at $2,107 and can be downloaded as a trial version that works for 14 days with all features unlocked.
Its outstanding features include:
- Track each query in each active session and identify areas that cause query execution and performance delays.
- Get the detection of database issues in real-time.
- A single Dashboard to monitor and optimize Databases resided on-premises, virtualized platforms, or cloud-based.
- Capture multiple metrics of response time and server statistics and store them in a data warehouse repository for future analysis.
- No software or agents are installed on the monitored server, so the load on the monitored instance is less than 1%.
- Automatically create visual reports and email them to specified addresses.
- Proactive alerts via email or SNMP.
- Perfect integration with Orion platform.
- Correlate SQL statements, contexts, systems, storage health, delay, and response times to fully understand query performance.
- Proactively monitor the system and identify issues before they start affecting users.
- Identifies the SQL block and its corresponding lock.
- Provide cross-vendor database support from a single interface. Suitable for different databases, such as SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, MariaDB, AWS Aurora, DB2, and ASE.
2. Redgate SQL Monitor
Redgate SQL Monitor can proactively monitor SQL servers and report problems. It offers numerous products for developers and administrators to protect data, manage Oracle and SQL databases, and monitor performance and availability.
By seeing its interface one can immediately identify whether there is any problem or not because of the color-coded cards on health and process of different Database services. The red in colors will show that there is some problem which the admin should rectify immediately.
On the Red-Gate DB monitoring tool, the admin can set some particular threshold for resources or processes, the moment it crosses the set target limit, a notification or system alert will be generated. For ease, it comes with around forty pre-configured system alerts.
It is also available for 14 days trial after that the user has to pay $1,565 for its SQL monitor tool that comes with 1-year support & upgrades.
Some key features of Redgate:
- Gives you the option to install a basic monitor for each location. This means just like SolarWinds, the reports for all data centers can be obtained in one interface without the need to install a separate UI in each location. In this way, performance in all locations can be monitored through a single SQL monitoring dashboard, so there is no loss of security.
- Analyzes the performance of the applications and finds the performance bottlenecks in the code or the database.
- Identify the wrong database deployment.
- One can monitor instances of SQL server 2005 to 2019 and requires one license per server, regardless of how many instances are on that server are running.
- One SQL monitor license allows monitoring up to 5 Azure SQL Database. You can also monitor 1 x Azure Managers Instance with one SQL monitor license.
- All alerts are a single expandable object in the inbox, so all the necessary information can be brought together. It also avoids cluttering your inbox.
- SQL monitor supports monitoring Windows failover clusters. You will need a license for each node in the monitored cluster. Other proprietary clustering server systems aren’t supported, and might not behave as expected.
- Alert in the event of a crash to easily recover any lost processes and take steps to reduce future occurrences.
- Create advanced charts or reports that allow you to quickly view the status of SQL queries.
- The query history graph helps to see the impact of a query. This makes it easy to identify problems early.
- The blocking process is displayed on the overview page for easier reading.
- Identify the tools that perform the deployment and display the same tools on the timeline.
- Details can be loaded in bulk via the import-export API.
Another one of the best SQL monitoring tools on the list is Navicat Monitor that offers the monitoring of a wide range of database servers. Apart from SQL servers it also supports MySQL, MariaDB along with cloud databases like Amazon RDS, Amazon Aurora, Oracle Cloud, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
Just like most of the Linux based server monitoring tools, the Navicat one is also server-based that can be accessed from anywhere using a web browser. In technical language, the company called it agentless architecture. Furthermore, the software can be installed on some local computer or virtual machine and doesn’t need any special software to monitor the servers.
Its Dashboard is very intuitive and like the other two mentioned above, it also offers cards with colors that represent the health and status of processes or instances.
Navicat monitors databases at regular intervals to accumulate different metrics such as CPU load, RAM usage, and a variety of other resources over SSH/SNMP of the registered Database instances. It can be installed on Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, and Docker.
Navicat Monitor trial version is also for 14 days. However, in terms of licensing, Navicat is quite flexible and also available in the non-commercial form. The perpetual license costs $ 499 while the monthly subscription base plan is available at $32.99. The non-commercial perpetual license is available at $199 and a monthly subscription at $12.99.
Key features of Navicat Monitor:
- It supports quite a good range of on-premises Database servers including the cloud-based.
- Custom Alerts helps admins to set a custom threshold to monitor infrastructure and resources in a better way. For example, in case the CPU utilization in the Database server exceeds 90% for more than 30 minutes, an alert will be triggered.
- Get notifications via email, SMS, SNMP, or Slack.
- A single Dashboard to view all connected MySQL/MariaDB/SQL Server instances along with a feature to group them for a clean view. No geo-restrictions. Furthermore, widgets support allows admins to customize the Dashboard as per convenience.
- Monitor the live MySQL/MariaDB/SQL Server metrics, CPU, memory, and swap usage on host machines
- Generate reports for server performance metrics and can export them to PDF files.
- Just like Redgate, the Navicat monitor also offers 40 fully customizable pre-configured alert rules. Use SMTP, SMS, SNMP Trap, and Slack with customizable thresholds.
- Query Analyzer of Navicat comes with a rich UI to monitor InnoDB deadlock. For MySQL 5.6/MariaDB 10.0.11, Performance Schema is used for query analysis. Helps to find out which query putting the highest impact on the server.
- Detect Replication automatically and send alerts when any replication problems are detected.
- Reports can be created in charts from Up Down Status, Performance, and Long-Running Query Analysis along with replication Diagram.
- Role-based access and user integration for OpenLDAP or Active Directory.
- Allow Repository Database migration
4. Paessler SQL monitoring software- PRTG
Paessler SQL monitoring software is another best SQL server monitoring tool, especially because of its availability as a free version. We talk about that later first let’s see some core things of this software.
PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler is a network monitoring solution for comprehensive monitoring of data traffic as well as the availability and performance of devices and applications in IT infrastructures.
The Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG comes along within the suite of PRTG with complete SQL monitoring tools. Moreover, the PTRG suite itself is known for its network monitoring.
PRTG suite includes classic network devices such as servers, routers, switches, and firewalls, but also virtual environments, applications, storage systems, databases, etc.
Database monitoring can monitor Oracle 10.2 or later, MySQL server 5.0 or later, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or later, and PostgreSQL 7 or later to find out the bottleneck that attenuating the overall performance. Apart from these popular databases, the admin can use their ADO SQL v2 sensor to monitor any data source available via OLE DB or ODBC. For example, to monitor some database solution which is not supported by regular sensors of PRTG implemented on the cloud.
The implementation of this SQL server monitoring is also quite easy because of its preconfigured sensors templates.
The best thing about the PRTG is where other SQL monitoring tools are only available as free for a limited period of time, it comes with a lifetime free version with restriction to monitor 100 sensors. Also, free apps for iOS and Android are available. It comes as a Trail version for 30 days with all features unlocked and if the user doesn’t upgrade then it will automatically turn in to free version with a limited number of 100 sensors.
In the paid section, the PRTG charges as per the usage of the sensors, for example, the 500 sensor package is available at $1600 for one server installation.
Key features of PTRG Network monitor:
- Admin can set a notification on for different SQL database server performance events.
- Triggered alerts can be sent via email or SMS. If you have the PRTG Network Monitor App on iOS and Android the same can be received there.
- For reporting, the PRTG network monitor can provide customizable reports to monitor specific datasets in databases.
- It has a map feature that lets users create maps of monitoring data, a unique to go through the data.
- Pre-configured database sensors are available out-of-the-box.
- Just like the above-mentioned tools, this one also allows monitoring the time a single SQL query takes to process from the source till getting the final result.
- Auto-discovery feature to scan the whole network for a wide range of devices and systems and apply best corresponding pre-defined sensors
- PRTG free version comes with 100 sensors. It means one sensor will allocate to per instance of SQL server database.
- PRTG dashboard provides an overview of all registered databases.
5. Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server
Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL server is another worth tool to try as it has quite good features. It can monitor both virtual (VMware and Hyper-V) and physical servers. Apart from it, replication, cluster monitoring, and mirroring are also supported by it.
Its Dashboard is quite informative with an extensive amount of info in one place. It gives a single view of the health and performance of SQL Server across the environment. Gather real-time data to display, diagnose, alert, and report on critical performance statistics from a central point of control. Monitor instances, sessions, queries, resources, databases, and services.
The tool is available for Windows Desktop and servers such as Windows 10, Windows 7, Server R2, 2008 R2, 2012, 2016.
In terms of price, it is available at $1,996 for a single license. Before buying it the user can go for Idera SQL monitor’s free trial of 14-day.
Idera has the following features:
- Wizards tool to automatically suggest solutions to improve optimization.
- The color-coded index analysis to give the right picture of the performance, missing indexes and also provides the same suggestions for fixing.
- Tuning SQL code on all major RDBMSs (such as Oracle, Sybase, DB2, and SQL Server) through a single common interface.
- Integrated Messaging and Collaboration
- Microsoft SCOM Management Pack
- Reduce training needs and simplify collaboration between different teams within your organization.
- Its unique Visual SQL Tuning chart converts text-based SQL code into a graphical SQL chart. This helps DBAs understand the impact of SQL queries on the database.
- Provides a graphical representation of latency analysis to identify poor database performance.
- Allows information to be shared across processes.
- Load test validates the performance of existing and standby SQL queries against the database
- It helps to run multiple queries in parallel and a Proper SQL rewrite is recommended.
6. SQL Sentry from SentryOne for database performance
SQL Sentry from SentryOne is a popular database performance monitoring solution. It collects and displays performance indicators and alerts, and displays necessary events in a calendar style. In addition to monitoring, you can run detailed analysis directly on the dashboard to quickly resolve issues. The product’s performance dashboard, which provides an exclusive patented storage performance view, shows detailed analysis results for key queries.
The SQL Sentry dashboard is sometimes criticized for its classic appearance, but it all depends on what an admin wants, it presents all key SQL components and services in a clever way to help you manage your SQL database instance and ensure its availability. It offers two modes- Sample and History to go through various performance metrics. One can view performance data in colored graphs and charts to get a quick idea about what is going on.
The tool also has the option to view historical data from the server and compare it with current real-time data. These features help generate baselines and optimize database instances and servers.
It has a tabs interface which another way to seamlessly navigate between different performance metrics. To gathered all info to a single window, the developers of this tools have split the dashboard into a various section which displays the network traffic, CPU usage SQL server memory, SQL server waits, SQL server Activity, Database IO and more…
SQL Sentry is available in two editions SQL Sentry Essentials that comes at $995 and SQL Sentry $2,495 for a single license.
SQL Sentry Essentials has some fewer features as compared to the complete version and also available through a perpetual license at $995 per instance, plus an annual maintenance fee of $199, or through subscription pricing for $600 per year. The trial version is available for 15 days.
- Proactive Advisory Conditions to avoid alert
- Performance Analysis dashboard that displays a graphical view of monitored server activity with tab-based navigation.
- SQL Sentry shows execution plan diagrams, query history, and more, so you can find and fix potentially problematic queries.
- Analyze and address SQL Server blocking and deadlocks
- View essential real-time metrics on a dashboard
- Windows Processes, Top SQL and Blocking SQL View
- Alerting and customizable Advisory Conditions
- Integrated Plan Explorer
- Disk Activity, Disk Space, Indexes, AlwaysOn, and Quick Traces View
- Fragmentation Manager
7. dbwatch- Dedicated SQL Monitoring and Management
The SQL server monitoring tool comes with support to analyze a good range of Database servers such as SQL Server, Azure, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Sybase, MariaDB, and MySQL database instances. The scaling factor also makes this optimal for small-medium businesses with few instances to enterprises running thousand of database instances.
dbWatch is a cross-platform that can run on the cloud, virtual or physical systems and also support hybrid environments. It can be installed on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux servers.
It is available in three editions dbWatch Essentials, dbWatch Professional and dbWatch Enterprise.
The Essentials one comes with core features such as SQL server Monitoring, Management, Basic reports (backup, uptime, health check), IDE for developing alerts & reporting, and SMS and email extensions.
While the dBwatch Profession includes all Essential features along with 3rd party integration for systems such as Microsoft SCOM, IBM Tivoli, etc; Special Dashboard to view performance, capacity, and maintenance; Webserver with dashboards; tuning and maintenance such as index management, backup, and autotuning.
If we talk about the Enterprise one that includes all Essentials and Profesional features with some advanced ones such as Multi-site and Database Cluster support; Active directory integration, dbWatch DBA audit, Kerberos support, SSL certificate-based tunneling; Database auto-discover; Custom reports for higher-level management and more…
The free trial version is available to download use for 30 days. Its licenses start at $3,190 for 10 instances of dbWatch Essentials, so it is for big enterprise not the smaller with few instances. However, the minimum package of licenses is for 5 instances that comes at the cost of $1,999.
Well for flexible plans and all essential features, the Navicat Monitor for SMB to Enterprises could be a good option, while those have few instances and small network and need a lifetime free option, try PRTG – Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG. However, if you are a big enterprise with hundreds of instances need extensive features and tool to monitor any kind or size of environment then SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server, SentryOne SQL Sentry and dBWatch should be in the list to try. Nevertheless, we have enlisted all here and you are free to try any of them as per your need because each tool comes with a specific amount of free trial period. So, it would be a wise idea to download and go through each of them before actually investing hundreds of dollars in any SQL monitoring tool.
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