Product articles SQL Monitor Monitoring Large Estates
Proactively monitor your SQL Server…

19 February 2019
19 February 2019

Proactively monitor your SQL Server estate with SQL Monitor 9

Faris Hilmi introduces the new Estate pages in SQL Monitor 9, which provide estate-wide views of disk space usage, backups and other jobs, and application of recent SQL Server updates and patches. Using them, a team can review the overall health of all their servers and databases, identify potential issues before they escalate into real problems, and assign priorities, proactively.

Increasingly, organizations need to monitor bigger databases across higher numbers of SQL servers, installed across diverse networks and platforms, including cloud platforms such as Azure. Often, these large estates are still managed by a relatively small team who can struggle to keep up, because their monitoring tools and processes fail to scale. They find that they are held back by unfocused and incomplete information, and that their time is still eaten away by firefighting problems as and when they happen. SQL Monitor 9 provides new tools to alert you to problems before they occur, across all you monitored servers and databases, and automatically provides the data you need to monitor your server estate, proactively.

Estate Pages

We’ve worked closely with DBAs and database developers to discover exactly what diagnostic data they need, and how best to present it. SQL Monitor’s new Estate pages analyze data regarding installed versions, backups, disk space and agent jobs, across every server and database on the monitored estate. It presents this data simply and visually, so that the team:

  • Retains a clear picture of the overall health and security of the estate.
  • Understand not only current levels of use but also see predictions on future behavior, based on current trends
  • Spot impending issues quickly and anticipate when resource constraints will escalate into the sort of problems that cause downtime, and unplanned maintenance work
  • Have the time they need to plan, and so respond in a controlled way, when they spot sudden changes or worrying trends.

I’ll briefly review the purpose of each page here, but for a complete overview, Redgate’s Kathi Kellenberger has an article on Using the SQL Monitor Estate Pages.

Installed Versions

With smaller or homogeneous database estates, it’s relatively easy keep on top of the planning required to upgrade to a new SQL Server version, and to manage how and when you test and then apply the latest cumulative updates and server packs.

However, as estates get larger and incorporate a mix of different SQL Server versions this can quickly build in complexity with patches applied late or even forgotten, leaving your systems vulnerable. The new Installed Versions estate view gives an overview of which SQL Server versions are installed on each of your servers, when mainstream support ends for that version, the latest update applied and whether any updates or service packs are available but uninstalled.

If any are out of date, SQL Monitor will provide links to download the latest patch for your database, further reducing the load on you and your team. Using this view, and by setting the appropriate alerts, you can ensure your databases are always up to date and secure and provide a clear demonstration of due diligence for any audit or compliance purposes.

Disk Usage

Collecting and processing information on a database’s disk usage is an important, if time consuming, task that can quickly overwhelm a team as estates grow. With the new Disk Usage tab, however, SQL Monitor can ensure you always have this data on hand.

This view provides an instant overview of disk usage across your estate, with a breakdown of current and projected usage for each database. If data growth on any disk volume is such that it will soon exceed its current capacity, SQL Monitor will highlight this, letting you plan for more storage or drill down into the database to investigate the increase in size on a file by file basis.

With SQL Monitor you’ll be able to proactively plan your capacity requirements with ease and avoid running out of disk space ever again.

Backups

The Backups view allows you to the success, performance and size of all your different types of database and log backups. It also provides a high-level overview, across the estate, of your current potential exposure to data loss, if disaster struck and you needed to perform an emergency restore operation to get any database back online.

You can drill down to view the recent backups for each database, with information on which types of backup are running (full, differential and log), when the last backup job ran, backup duration, backup size, and an analysis of the extent of the risk of data loss for each database, should it need to be restored and recovered in an emergency.

If a database is experiencing backup failures, or long running backups, perhaps meaning that its exposure to data loss exceeds its recovery point objective, you can drilldown on the full backup history of the database to see what backups have run, and when, and their size. If a backup has grown rapidly in size, and so is suddenly taking much longer, you can investigate the cause. If backups jobs are failing, or you suspect are being blocked by other maintenance processes running at the same time, you can jump straight to the server overview timeline, to see what else was running at the time of the problem. This will help you establish quickly where and how individual backup processes need to be revised and improved.

This view will help you ensure that all databases can meet their recovery point and recovery time objectives. Using it, you’ll also produce reports proving your data has been backed up, as required. In the unfortunate event of any data loss, these reports and the backup history (along with evidence of regular test restores) will help you prove to an auditor or compliance officer that proper procedures were followed.

SQL Agent Jobs

Discover if all your Agent jobs are running smoothly, at a glance, with instant metrics on successful and failed jobs. Additional information is available on all your jobs including the job name, number of executions, number of times it has succeeded or failed, when it was last run and due to run next, and the step it last failed at. In the event of job failure, you can choose to be alerted and drill down to diagnose causes for the failure.

Using this view, you can confirm quickly which of your jobs are still active and explore your most important ones to ensure they are working correctly, and running at the appropriate intervals, times, and durations.

Azure SQL Database support

SQL Monitor 9 now fully supports monitoring Azure SQL Databases, so you’ll be able to add and monitor these database side by side with your on-premises systems, all from a single monitoring dashboard. If need to start monitoring Azure SQL Databases, this article provides a rundown of what you need to keep an eye on and how SQL Monitor can help you do it: Monitoring Azure SQL Database with SQL Monitor.

Additionally, to keep pace with how you purchase and pay for cloud databases we’ve also updated our licensing so you can maintain flexibility. Each license allocation can be used to support a single on-premises server, Elastic Pool, Managed Instance, or up to 5 Azure databases. You can manage your licenses and how they are divided all within the SQL Monitor client.

If you have an active support license with SQL Monitor you can upgrade from the banner within your client or download the update directly from our website. Otherwise if you’re interested in SQL Monitor you can go to our online demo to try it yourself or download a fully function 14-day free trial and see SQL Monitor working with your specific setup.

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