The Best 8 Tools for SQL Server Database AdministratorsThe best tools for monitoring database environments

        (In No Particular order)

There seem to be more SQL Server monitoring tools today than there are DBAs. Let's walk through some of the best ones, so you can make an informed choice about what is best for you to use:


1-SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA):

Description: SolarWinds DPA is a cross-platform performance monitoring tool that supports various databases, including SQL Server. It offers comprehensive performance monitoring, query optimization, and historical analysis to ensure the optimal functioning of database environments.

Best Use Cases: DPA is best suited for organizations with diverse database platforms. It excels in identifying and resolving performance issues, optimizing queries, and providing a unified view of performance across different database systems. One of the strongest features of DPA is it’s ability to be used on multiple different Database types including; SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, DB2, and PostgreSQL. (This is one of the most popular tools among Soaring Eagle Data Solutions’ clients due to its flexibility)

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Does SolarWinds DPA support cloud-based SQL Server deployments?
    • Yes, SolarWinds DPA supports monitoring for cloud-based SQL Server deployments, including Azure SQL Database.
  1. How does the tool assist in optimizing SQL Server queries?
    • SolarWinds DPA assists in query optimization by providing insights into poorly performing queries and suggesting improvements.
  1. Can DPA provide insights into the impact of database performance on overall application performance?
    • Yes, DPA can offer insights into the correlation between database performance and overall application performance.

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2-Redgate SQL Monitor:

Description: Redgate SQL Monitor is a robust monitoring tool designed to empower SQL Server DBAs with real-time insights into database performance. Its user-friendly interface provides customizable dashboards, alerting mechanisms, and historical performance data, making it a valuable asset for monitoring and optimizing SQL Server environments.

Best Use Cases: SQL Monitor excels in identifying performance bottlenecks, analyzing query behavior, and ensuring the overall health of SQL Server instances. It's particularly useful for proactively addressing performance issues before they impact end-users. As it’s name states, this is best used by companies that have a single database environment: Microsoft’s SQL Server or PostgreSQL

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can SQL Monitor monitor multiple SQL Server instances simultaneously?
    • Yes, SQL Monitor can monitor multiple SQL Server instances concurrently, providing a centralized view of the entire environment.
  1. How does SQL Monitor handle alerting, and can alerts be customized?
    • SQL Monitor offers customizable alerting features, allowing DBAs to define thresholds and conditions for alerts based on their specific requirements.
  1. Does SQL Monitor support cloud-based SQL Server deployments, such as Azure SQL Database?
    • Yes, SQL Monitor supports both on-premises and cloud-based SQL Server deployments, including Azure SQL Database.

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3-Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager:

Description: Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager is a comprehensive monitoring tool designed to offer deep insights into SQL Server performance. With features like baselining, historical data analysis, and query performance optimization, it provides DBAs with the tools needed for effective performance management.

Best Use Cases: SQL Diagnostic Manager is well-suited for organizations requiring a holistic view of their SQL Server landscape. It assists with diagnosing and resolving performance issues, optimizing queries, and ensuring the stability of database environments. Again, this product is best for single database environments; Microsoft SQl Server.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can SQL Diagnostic Manager monitor both on-premises and cloud-based SQL Server instances?
    • Yes, SQL Diagnostic Manager supports monitoring for both on-premises and cloud-based SQL Server instances, including Azure SQL Database.
  1. How does the baselining feature assist in performance monitoring?
    • The baselining feature in SQL Diagnostic Manager helps establish performance norms, making it easier to identify deviations and potential issues.
  1. Is there a way to integrate SQL Diagnostic Manager with other monitoring or alerting systems?
    • Yes, SQL Diagnostic Manager provides integration capabilities with other monitoring and alerting systems for a more comprehensive solution.

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4-Quest Spotlight on SQL Server:

Description: Quest Spotlight on SQL Server provides real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and optimization capabilities for SQL Server environments. Its feature-rich toolkit includes activity tracking, deadlock analysis, and customizable dashboards, making it a versatile choice for DBAs.

Best Use Cases: This tool is particularly effective for proactive monitoring, performance tuning, and troubleshooting in SQL Server databases. It aids in identifying and resolving issues before they impact application performance. Foglight does work on multiple different database environment types.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How does Spotlight on SQL Server handle deadlock analysis?
    • Spotlight on SQL Server includes robust features for deadlock analysis, providing insights into the causes and resolutions of deadlocks.
  1. Can the tool be customized to monitor specific performance metrics based on organizational needs?
    • Yes, Spotlight on SQL Server offers customization options, allowing DBAs to tailor monitoring to specific performance metrics relevant to their organization.
  1. Is there a feature for generating reports and trend analysis with historical performance data?
    • Yes, Spotlight on SQL Server includes features for generating reports and conducting trend analysis using historical performance data.

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5-SQL Sentry:

Description: SQL Sentry is a comprehensive monitoring tool designed to provide SQL Server DBAs with real-time performance insights, alerting, and query tuning capabilities. It includes features like Plan Explorer for in-depth query analysis and offers a holistic approach to performance management.

Best Use Cases: SQL Sentry is ideal for organizations seeking a complete solution for monitoring, alerting, and query optimization. It excels in providing detailed insights into query performance and overall database health. This is SolarWinds’ SQL Server specific tool. The gains in specificity and reporting outweigh the flexibility lost from SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (above) for environments that are SQL SERVER (and AZURE SQL) focused.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How does SQL Sentry's Plan Explorer assist in query optimization?
    • Plan Explorer in SQL Sentry provides a visual representation of query execution plans, aiding in identifying and optimizing poorly performing queries.
  1. Can SQL Sentry monitor and alert on specific performance thresholds?
    • Yes, SQL Sentry allows for the configuration of custom alerting thresholds, enabling monitoring based on specific performance criteria.
  1. Is there a feature for historical analysis and trend reporting within SQL Sentry?
    • Yes, SQL Sentry includes features for historical analysis and trend reporting, allowing for a comprehensive view of performance over time.

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6-Idera SQL Admin Toolset:

Description: Idera SQL Admin Toolset is a collection of tools that streamline various SQL Server administration tasks. It includes utilities for monitoring, performance optimization, and troubleshooting, providing DBAs with a set of tools for efficient database management.

Best Use Cases: SQL Admin Toolset is valuable for organizations looking to simplify routine administrative tasks. It includes tools for schema comparison, data export/import, and database health checks.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can SQL Admin Toolset be integrated with other monitoring systems or scripts?
    • Yes, SQL Admin Toolset can be integrated with other monitoring systems or scripts to enhance its functionality.
  1. What types of administrative tasks can be streamlined using SQL Admin Toolset?
    • SQL Admin Toolset streamlines tasks such as schema comparison, data export/import, and database health checks, among others.
  1. Is there a centralized dashboard or interface for accessing all the tools within the toolset?
    • Yes, SQL Admin Toolset provides a centralized dashboard or interface for accessing all the tools within the toolset, facilitating ease of use.

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7-SQL Governor

Description: Headquartered in Europe, this newer product is for Automated capacity and performance management for Microsoft SQL Server platforms


Best Use Cases: SQL governor is a monitoring tool that is best suited for larger environments (50+ to several thousand instances) that are looking to scale back and reduce their hard and soft costs. SQL Licensing savings from 20-40% are typical, plus related hardware and cloud savings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can SQL Governor be used to identify performance problems in the database environment?
    • Yes, SQL governor can drill down into 60 different performance counters
  1. What is the average savings on SQL licensing after using SQL Governor for Capacity Planning?
    • Clients are saving around 40% on their SQL licensing after a thorough capacity planning review using SQL Governor.
  1. What type of Database Capacity Planning does SQL Governor do?
    • SQL Governor allows you to optimize your current SQL estate and calculate the optimal server topology to meet your business needs

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8-FLIGHT CENTER from Soaring Eagle Data Solutions

Description: Soaring Eagle's FLIGHT CENTER reduces the noise of all your alerts and provides a Single Pane of Glass view of your Database Environment. The purpose of FLIGHT is to reduce the headaches that come with maintaining and managing database environments.

Best Use Cases: The most benefit from this monitoring tool will come from companies with larger database environments, 20+ instances of SQL Server (or other Database Environment Types). Flight CENTER can also filter alerts from synergistic products like SolarWinds DPA or Redgate’s SQL Monitor and provide actionable insight based on those tools. Flight works on SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Oracle database environments. This makes FLIGHT CENTER a great tool for larger, complicated environments with lots of moving parts.

Frequently Asked Questions:Visualize the health of your database environment

  1. How much data does FLIGHT CENTER look at?
    • FLIGHT CENTER only reviews meta data – Server names, server capacity, disk space, etc. No *real* data is ever pulled.
  1. How much time does FLIGHT CENTER really save, and how?
    • Database Administrators tend to write themselves “jobs” to alert themselves to issues in the database environment they monitor. Flight Center takes the jobs written by about 30 DBAs, each with dozens of years of experience, and puts them into one visualized dashboard. This results in Automated Maintenance, Health checks, Backup confirmations and much more. This is where your time savings come in. Between automated maintenance, confirmation of maintenance, and the Health Check you should save 2-4 months of work per server.
  1. Does FLIGHT CENTER improve server uptime?
    • The Database Administrators at Soaring Eagle Data Solutions have analyzed the alerts of thousands of servers from hundreds of clients over 20 years. What they have found is ~60% of afterhours server downs come from capacity issues that are predictable. By analyzing and predicting capacity consumption FLIGHT CENTER can remove close to 90% of capacity related server downs.

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