Microsoft SQL Server is one of the most popular database management systems (DBMS) in the world. As a result of its popularity, many mission-critical databases and applications are built using the platform.
If you are a database administrator (DBA), knowledge of SQL Server is an excellent skill to possess and will help you land an interesting position in the information technology (IT) world.
As a SQL Server DBA, one of your primary responsibilities is ensuring that your systems perform up to expectations. Lagging performance and slow response time usually result in disgruntled users and can have a serious negative impact on a business. Degraded performance also impacts internal systems and threatens to make everyone less productive.
This post will introduce you to the features of SQL Doctor that help identify and fix performance problems affecting your SQL Server environment. The tool supports on-premises SQL Server instances as well as those located in the cloud on the Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) for SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database.
What is SQL Doctor?
SQL Doctor is a third-party database tool designed specifically to address SQL Server performance issues. The software can be installed on either physical or virtual Windows machines from where it can be configured to analyze and report on problems throughout the SQL Server environment.
A unified dashboard lets DBAs access all SQL Server instances quickly and drill down to identify performance issues. Teams can shorten the time required to collect and analyze information to resolve performance problems from hours to minutes.
Data collection can be focused on specific areas affecting SQL Server performance including queries, memory, wait statistics, security, and server configuration.
Features of SQL Doctor
Let’s look at some of the features that make this an outstanding solution for tuning SQL Server performance to keep internal and external users satisfied.
- The previously mentioned dashboard provides DBAs with a complete picture of the SQL Server instances under review. It provides a quick view of the health of all registered servers as of the last refresh. The dashboard serves as the platform from which to investigate server performance and quickly begin directly addressing the problems.
- Server analysis can be scheduled or conducted on-demand when the need arises. Teams can configure the tool to report on specific areas of concern regularly so they can proactively address any emerging issues. A quick review of critical performance metrics can become a regular part of a DBA’s day, enabling them to head off problems before they impact customers.
- Analysis of registered SQL Servers can be fine-tuned to focus on specific aspects of the system. Any combination of categories such as deadlocks, disk usage, index optimization, network traffic, and long-running jobs can be analyzed against any database or application workload. The tool identifies deadlocked sessions and jobs or transactions taking longer than expected to run.
- SQL queries are often the cause of performance issues, and SQL Doctor can prescribe techniques to improve them. The tool analyzes query plans and provides tuning recommendations based on industry best practices. Wait-state statistics and index usage are analyzed and potential problems are diagnosed with appropriate solutions offered by the Doctor. Cloud-specific recommendations are made for managed cloud instances of Azure SQL Database and Amazon RDS SQL Server.
- SQL Doctor uses a patented ranking system to display the options that will provide the greatest performance improvements. SQL scripts can be generated from within the tool to perform the recommended changes. Reverse scripts can also quickly undo the changes if necessary.
Two IDERA solutions briefs are available that go into slightly more technical detail regarding the features and functionality of SQL Doctor. I recommend both SQL Doctor for the Hybrid Cloud and Tune SQL Server Performance to any database team considering adding this valuable solution to their software toolbox.
The hybrid cloud doc gives step-by-step instructions regarding adding SQL Server instances to the tool and provides recommendations for analyzing cloud databases. The server performance solution brief furnishes multiple screenshots that illustrate some of the activities DBAs will be carrying out with the app.
If you’re on the fence about whether this tool is right for your environment, these docs will help you decide. You can even evaluate the Doctor’s efficiency for two weeks for free to see its benefits firsthand. When was the last time you got a free house call from a doctor?