Choosing the Most Effective SQL Server Monitoring Solution

by Jan 11, 2021

Maintaining a high-performing SQL Server environment can be a daunting task for a database team. Many factors can impact the performance and availability of enterprise databases and applications. It can be extremely difficult to identify and isolate the issues that result in degraded performance. The challenge is intensified by the fact that variable conditions may cause intermittent problems that affect response time but do not persist long enough to be pinpointed and addressed.

Monitoring software is one way to meet the complexity of optimizing SQL Server performance. The right tool can provide a wealth of information and point out issues that enable the database team to take the proper proactive or reactive measures. The trick is in finding a tool that comprehensively furnishes the required data and offers a feature set that appeals to the team that will be using it.

What to Look for in SQL Server Monitoring Software

When searching for SQL Server monitoring software, some essential aspects need to be incorporated into the solution.

  • Monitoring is the main purpose of the software tool. It needs to be flexible and allow organizations to customize alerts against defined thresholds to address their business requirements. 

  • Diagnostics related to the issues identified while monitoring is another important part of the solution. Letting you know that there are problems is nice, but providing information that can help address the issue is indispensable. 

  • Analysis that identifies the root causes of degraded performance is crucial. It enables teams to develop a plan to address the underlying issues and prevent a recurrence of the problem. The ability to study historical trends can also provide deep insights into usage patterns and capacity constraints that can be used wisely to increase database performance. 

Open Source Versus Proprietary Solutions

Many database monitoring tools exist and it can be hard to determine which one is best for your situation. There is often a temptation to use open source software rather than obtain a licensed proprietary product. While this may seem like a viable approach, you need to consider the following factors before committing to an open source solution. 


While there is no initial purchase price with an open source program, that is not to say there are no costs associated with its use. Time is money, and the use of an open source monitoring solution may entail considerable deployment, configuration, and administrative time. These are often reduced with a proprietary solution and can make the open source solution much more expensive when all costs are evaluated.


The support you obtain from an open source solution is often hit or miss. Do you really want to depend on the user group for a specific piece of software to bail you out if problems with the tool come up? Probably not, especially if you are monitoring a mission-critical SQL Server. Proprietary software vendors usually provide more thorough support which may be a major factor in making a decision. They also update their products for compatibility with new features introduced to SQL Server by Microsoft. 

Features and Complexity

The feature set of a given solution is what matters most to the database team using it. Monitoring software should be relatively easy to install and configure. It should integrate seamlessly with the systems it will be monitoring and not require complex plug-ins or extensions to get the job done. A proprietary solution built to work with a specific database platform will offer the best combination of usability and functionality in one package.

SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server

Once you decide that the benefits of using proprietary software outweigh the immediate cost saving of an open source product, it’s time to select your solution. IDERA’s SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server is a dedicated monitoring and diagnostic application that provides many features that enable teams to optimize the performance of on-premises and cloud SQL Server instances. The tool delivers the capability to monitor, alert, diagnose, and report on SQL Server issues from a unified and user-friendly interface.

SQL Diagnostic Manager continuously monitors the complete SQL Server environment and provides the means to quickly identify performance impacting issues. The tool also collects performance metrics for the operating system and allows you to monitor and alert on job success or failure. Over 100 alert settings developed from SQL Server best practices can be customized to reflect any organization’s requirements. 

Alerts can be tailored so different audiences receive relevant information and automated responses can be defined. Use baseline information to configure alerts to minimize the occurrence of false positives. The application even gives recommendations when alert thresholds may need to be modified to avoid alert fatigue.

Historical trends can be examined so proactive measures can be taken to reduce the possibility of problems. The tool also assists with storage capacity planning by providing informative charts that help forecast future needs. With SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server, you get a robust monitoring solution that addresses every aspect of your SQL Server environment and is backed by a reliable software vendor. A free trial will show you all you need to know about this valuable addition to your database software support portfolio.