The concept of using services to take the place of writing a lot of your own code goes way, way back in computing history. The fundamentals of the concept go back to the dawn of computing with places like IBM hosting time-shares for computing power that you could rent for short periods of time. But things really took off with the building of the Web. Now, all the growth with virtual machines, hosted machines, hosted services from vendors like Amazon and Microsoft, the need to keep all of your software locally on physical boxes is just going the way of the dodo. There will likely always be some pieces of software that you keep on machines on your property or on your person, but the concept of keeping fundamental services locally is going away. As someone put it to me once, if you were starting a business right now, would you bother setting up an Exchange server to manage your email or would you just go to one of the external mail services for everything? For most of us (who are not Exchange admins) the answer is pretty easy.
With all this momentum to having external services manage more and more of the infrastructure that’s not business unique, why would you burn up a server and license instance setting up monitoring for your SQL Servers? Of course, some of you are dealing with hyper-sensitive data that might require, through law or treaty, that you lock it down and never expose it to the intertubes, but most of us are not. So, what if someone else took on the basic hassle of setting up monitoring on your systems?
That’s what we’re working on here at Red Gate. Right now it’s a private test, but we’re growing it and developing it and it’ll be going to a public beta, probably (hopefully) this year. I’m running it on my machines right now. The concept is pretty simple. You put a relay on your server, poke a hole in your firewall for it, and we start monitoring your server using SQL Monitor. It’s actually shocking how easy it is to get going. You still have to adjust your alerting thresholds, but that’s a standard part of alerting. Your pain threshold and my pain threshold for any given alert may be different. But from there, we do all the heavy lifting, keeping your data online and available, providing you with access to the information about how your servers are behaving, everything.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really excited by this. I think we’re getting to a place where we can really help the small and medium sized businesses get a monitoring solution in place, quickly and easily. All you crazy busy, and possibly accidental, DBAs and system admins finally can set up monitoring without taking all the time to configure systems, run installs, and all the rest. You just have to tweak your alerts and you’re ready to run.
If you are interested in checking it out, you can apply for the closed beta through the Monitor web page.