This is the data age. Almost every organization is currently relying on data to flourish. Which explains the numerous cases of company breaches and data leakages experienced over the last few years. And when a commodity becomes that precious then it needs to be protected. And what better way to do that than starting from the root. The databases where this data is stored.
A good system admin knows that making sure that the database is performing effectively is crucial in ensuring the success of a Network and organization in general. And to achieve this, then you need the best Monitoring and analysis tools.
Proactive database analyzers are the best because usually when a database issue occurs then it can go undetected for a while. And when it is finally detected usually the losses experienced are significant. Proactive monitoring helps you predict these problems before they can occur.
Important components you will be Monitoring
A good Database Performance Analyzer should be able to achieve the following roles.
- Database size monitoring. These tools will help in keeping track of the growth rate of your database. This will avoid exhaustion of storage resources and will also help you plan better for CPU and Memory resources.
- Measure and Analyze the throughput. Throughput refers to the workload that the database is performing under normal circumstances. The database analyzers use this as a baseline to detect any changes in performance and will immediately notify you to act accordingly.
- Monitor expensive and slow queries. It’s not uncommon to have poor database performance when every other aspect seems to be doing okay. Like the database is online and there is no strain on the resources but still, performance is not optimal. It’s usually due to a number of factors such as inefficient query plans, data skew or non-existent indexes and troubleshooting these problems may be a little tricky. However, a great database analyzer will help you to quickly identify the expensive and slow queries and then further analysis can be conducted to determine the applications causing them.
These are the top 5 Database Management Tools you can use.
1. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer
SolarWinds is one of my favorite providers of IT infrastructure Monitoring tools due to the depth of each of their tools. Their Database Performance Analyzer is a great software that can be used to monitor different database types including the SQL server, Oracle, MySQL, Maria DB, and IBM Db2.
It has a great interface complete with visualizations of all the key performance metrics of the database that help you to better understand its health status. You can easily tell the health status of the database component based on the color used to represent it. Yellow serves as a warning and Red indicates that the situation is critical.
To identify bottlenecks in the network, the tool sends query requests to the databases and analyzes the wait types before it receives a response. It also provides you with an easy way to detect blockages and identify what is causing them. It will then highlight the impact of the blockage on your database performance and give you possible solutions.
The SolarWinds Database Performace Analyzer is equipped with an intelligent algorithm that uses machine learning technology to understand your database wait trends and can, therefore, alert you when it deviates from normal.
It also keeps a log of historical performance data which acts as a guide in predicting future trends. You can use this data to determine why performance was bad at an earlier date and therefore avoid similar problems in the future.
The Web-based interface is a great way to facilitate collaborative monitoring by your whole team. As expected this tool comes with a comprehensive alert system that will notify you of anomalies in your database system. It has prebuilt trigger conditions and reporting templates but you can also create your own.
2. PRTG Network Monitor
The biggest advantage of using the PRTG Network Monitor is that it monitors your whole IT infrastructure. But more importantly, it will be perfect for monitoring the most common databases such as the Microsoft SQL, MySQL, Oracle SQL, and PostgreSQL.
Once setup the PRTG Network Monitor automatically detects all the components of your network thus streamlining the configuration process for you. It then sets sensors from preconfigured templates that will immediately start monitoring the various aspects of your database system. Talking of which there is a free version of the PRTG which limits the user to just 100 sensors.
To determine the performance of your database this tool measures the execution time for an SQL Query. That is how long it takes to transfer and establish a connection to the query.
The PRTG Network Monitor has a number of interfaces that you can choose from depending on the ease of use. It also mobile apps for the various OS including Windows phones which means you can monitor your database from anywhere with an internet connection.
This tool also has an automatic alert system that will save you a lot of time. Notifications are delivered to you through push notifications or can also be set to SMS and email. You can even utilize their API to write your own notification script. This includes setting your own level of threshold and also integrating it with other applications like slack for notification.
3. SQL Sentry
SQL Sentry is a powerful server monitoring tool that will save a lot of guesswork in the diagnosis of server problems. It provides an overview of your complete server environment on an intuitive dashboard where you can select any aspect to access more information about it. Information is presented in as graphical visualizations.
You can also view the database performance history from the tool’s dashboard and compare it with the current real-time data for better analysis.
This tool boasts of in-depth query analysis capabilities complete with execution plan diagrams, query history, and other data that help you troubleshoot and fix high impact SQL queries quicker than some of the other tools. It allows you to set automated responses to certain server conditions so that you don’t have to jump into action every time you get an alert.
The SQL Deadlock analysis is a useful feature that turns what is usually an exhausting process into a simple affair. Also important is the SQL Sentry Event calendar which helps you keep track of the scheduled SQL server jobs and Windows scheduled tasks to avoid any potential conflicts.
This tool comes with over 100 trigger conditions for alerts but you can customize them or add your own conditions.
4. SQL Power Tools
SQL is an excellent monitoring tool that thrives on simplicity. The makers are quoted saying that it has the lowest monitoring overhead than any other database analyzer. Which actually makes sense because it is agentless and so you won’t have to install collectors on your server. They do however use a zero impact SQL capture agent that will collect any SQL activity with maximum accuracy. This agent does not connect to the server though.
The SQL Power Tools dashboard is also an important part of this tool. It is simple and incorporates a heat map to better represent the status of your server. And the good thing is that you can access the dashboard from any web browser including the one on your phone.
But one of the biggest features of SQL Power Tools has to be the 3D graphical visualizations that give you a view of the entire server farms aspects like the SQL wait times, performance counter, buffer cache, and database space usage. They make it so much easy to draw analysis conclusions.
The tool uses automated plan mining to monitor the SQL I/O and can generate a graph for the SQL plans in one click. It can also be used to Monitor VMWare for servers running in virtual machines. And there is one of my favorite features, this tool also uses advanced behavioral analysis and entity behavioral analytics to protect your server from data breaches.
5. Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager
The last tool in our list that you can use to monitor on-premise and cloud SQL servers is the Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager. It gives you important data on the condition of physical servers such as CPU, Memory, hard disk usage and storage space and also checks the DBMS to ensure it is functioning efficiently.
The Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager identifies blocks and dreadlocks in your database system by monitoring queries and query plans. It then recommends possible steps you can take to optimize the database performance.
This tool allows you to create custom thresholds for which you will receive email notifications or a message on the taskbar when exceeded.
It also uses a web-based interface that can be accessed from anywhere and mobile application for Android, iPhone, and Blackberry devices. You won’t have the full functionality using the mobile apps but you can view and kill processes, start and stop jobs and also run queries to resolve server issues.
This tool also logs all the performance historical data that you can access from the interface. This information can be used as a guide in optimizing real-time server performance.