Over 600 technology professionals who work in organizations that use SQL Server recently responded to our survey to discover the current state of SQL Server monitoring.
We asked people across a range of sectors, in organizations of every size around the globe, about how they monitor SQL Server, the technologies they work with, and what they thought the biggest challenges were for them and their estates over the next 12 months.
Into the cloud
One of the major themes to emerge from the survey was migrating to the cloud. Although only 48% of respondents are currently using cloud technologies, principally SQL Server on VMs or Azure SQL DB, cloud is growing in importance. Migration to the cloud is expected to be the biggest challenge this coming year.
If our respondents’ expectations are correct, then we may reach a tipping point this year, where most of our peers are deploying daily to cloud-based servers, at least for part of their estate.
Alongside this almost 50% of organizations are already deploying changes multiple times per week, and those operating in the Finance and Technology sectors often deploy multiple times per day.
This demonstrates quite a dramatic shift from just a few years ago, when deployments were perhaps less frequent major events to locked-down servers hosted on-premise.
Data privacy and protection
Whilst migrating to the cloud is seen as the biggest challenge in the next 12 months, perhaps unsurprisingly concerns around security and data protection emerged as a major challenge for estate management right now.
The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, coupled with HIPAA, PCI-DSS, SOX and many other forms of legislation across the sectors, having confidence in your organization’s compliance is a clear priority, and something monitoring can definitely help with.
Once you have a data protection policy in place, it’s essential to keep track of your estate to ensure compliance. With a monitoring tool you can detect activity that risks data breaches caused by unauthorized access, restore availability and access to personal data in a timely manner when errors occur, and get the insight you need to respond before it impacts your business.
Resolving issues and monitoring health
Most respondents said they spend an average of one hour per day looking at the health of their SQL Servers, with quite a high proportion (30%) spending less than an hour. Those using a monitoring tool actually said they spend longer, between 1.75 and 2 hours per day, looking at the health of their servers.
From this you could infer that monitoring manually or not monitoring at all takes less time than using a tool, but in fact respondents who spent less time looking at the health of their servers had fewer servers to manage or belonged to organizations with smaller estates. Monitoring tools come more into play as server numbers increase and it’s no longer possible to do everything manually.
Furthermore, a monitoring tool can make it much easier to see performance information and identify problems, which means if you are using one you’re more likely to catch issues and then spend time addressing them.
The time spent resolving issues followed a similar pattern to health monitoring, with over half of the respondents reporting that they spend one hour a day or less on this task.
Those using a paid-for or in-house tool spent longer, between 2 and 2.25 hours on average, which again reflects the increased visibility of issues using a tool brings to monitoring processes.
With the ability to see data trends that indicate a recurring issue, for example, a monitoring tool can help you take proactive steps to eliminate future problems. Therefore it may take more time now, but it will reduce the numbers of issues in the future, freeing up time for more productive tasks.
Read the full report
This post merely scratches the surface of our 2018 State of SQL Server Monitoring report. To delve into all of the data and insights download your free copy today.
If you’re ready to start proactively monitoring your SQL Server estate, then give SQL Monitor a try. Download your free 14-day trial.