Few resources carry as much important information as databases. Small oversights and mistakes can lead to losing some of your most important data. Without the right database monitoring tools to manage these services, it is very difficult to keep an eye on everything you need for which you need to screen. Taking your eye off the ball could very easily lead to your database exceeding a capacity limit.
Here is our list of the best database monitoring tools:
- SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server (FREE TRIAL) Includes real-time performance monitoring plus analysis functions. Runs on Windows Server.
- Paessler PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) Database monitoring functions are part of this all-in-one network, server, and applications monitor. Runs on Windows Server.
- Site24x7 Server Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) An online monitoring package that includes SQL monitoring and analysis functions.
- dbWatch Database Control (FREE TRIAL) A data-base focused tool that unifies monitoring for all databases in an enterprise operated by SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MariaDB, MySQL, and Postgres.
- Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager A specialist database monitor for MySQL or SQL Server.
- SQL Power Tools Logs database performance metrics and scans for anomalous behavior to detect for intrusion.
- Sentry One (SQL Sentry) Live database performance monitoring with automated index defragmentation.
- Red-Gate SQL Monitor Real-time database monitor with color-coded statuses and some great data visualizations.
- Lepide SQL Server Auditing A database monitor that is prized for its cybersecurity features.
- ManageEngine Free SQL Health Monitor A competent free database performance monitor from a leading infrastructure management producer.
- Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring Free, ad-supported database performance monitor.
The best database monitoring tools
The need for proactive monitoring multiplies greatly once a database grows in size. The bigger the server the more CPU and memory are needed to process the data. Using a database monitoring tool is the only reliable way to monitor databases. Similarly, the widespread use of SQL Servers has made monitoring SQL Servers a top priority for monitoring SQL server performance.
Let’s look at some of the best database monitoring tools on the market.
SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL has become a core tool for network administrators looking to address database problems in real time. You can monitor your server performance through the dashboard and verify the status of a server’s queries, CPU, memory, disk, and sessions. Problematic devices are denoted as yellow for Warning and red for Critical. You also have the ability to view graphs of your server health to see all emerging trends.
What makes this platform special is its root cause analysis ability. The foundation of this is the opportunity to view how the code works. This gives you the ability to look beyond the basics through the use of multi-level permissions and group-based policies. This is a refreshing approach because it takes you away from the metrics to look at the code beneath the surface.
It is fair to say that SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer doesn’t fall victim to being a one trick pony either. With this tool, users can monitor a variety of databases. SQL Server, MySQL, DB2, Aurora, virtualized, and cloud databases can all be monitored through this program. The variety of options means that this program functions well in most enterprise environments.
If you’re looking for a database monitor that helps you to identify problems and pinpoint the cause in real-time, then this is a program you should definitely consider. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer is available from a price of $1,995 (£1,562). It is also available to download on a 14-day free trial.
Next, we have Paessler PRTG Network Monitor, a network monitoring tool that boasts a sizeable SQL monitoring ability. This program can monitor common databases such as Microsoft SQL, MySQL, Oracle SQL, and PostgreSQL. In other words, it covers everything needed to provide a solid foundation of visibility on most enterprise networks.
For a network monitoring tool PRTG Network Monitor is also very easy to set up. PRTG Network Monitor comes equipped with sensors that have been configured out of the box. These preconfigured settings cover most large database providers like Microsoft SQL, MySQL, and Oracle SQL. This has the advantage of eliminating the need for you to configure your own configurations from nothing.
PRTG Network Monitor can be used to monitor the execution time for an SQL query. The tool will measure the time from the moment the connection was established right through the transfer to the end of the connection. This allows you to clearly see the performance of your database under pressure.
Overall PRTG Network Monitor is a product that combines general network monitoring ability while simultaneously providing a compelling experience for database monitoring. There are a number of pricing options available for PRTG Network Monitor. This starts with a freeware version of PRTG Network Monitor which allows the monitoring of up to 100 sensors for free.
The first paid version of PRTG Network Monitor costs $1600 (£1253) for 500 sensors. The next three products for larger organizations cost $2850 (£2,232) for 1000 sensors, $5950 (£4,662) for 2500 sensors and $10500 (£8,227) for 5000 sensors. Organizations that need to monitor even more can download the XL1 Unlimited version which supports unlimited sensors for $14500 (£11,361). There is also a 30-day free trial available for downloaded.
Site24x7 Server Monitoring offers network, server, and applications monitoring. This combination is ideal for keeping the performance of your databases in a good state. The system is a cloud-based service, so you don’t have to install any software in order to use it. This configuration makes it a great tool for monitoring remote sites and it also works well for MSPs.
The application monitors in this bundle include a database performance optimizer. It will automatically discover all of your databases and install agents in order to keep tabs on them. These agents report back to the central Site24x7 system, where you can access results through a browser.
Performance metrics are shown live on the screen and you can set alert parameters that enable you to head off overloading. As the tool can monitor any number of instances, it is a good assistant for coordinating between distributed databases and between production and development environments. The reporting utility in the tool will help you analyze the performance of your databases over time.
Given that you get dedicated server monitoring with this support tool, it is easy to identify the cause of performance impairment. You can explore through supporting resources to find exactly which element of the stack is dragging down the performance of your databases.
Site24x7 is charged for on a subscription model and the different plans and add-on options make it possible to create a custom package that is tailored to your business’s needs. There is even a free version, which limits monitoring to just five servers. You can try out the system on a 30-day free trial. If you decide not to buy at the end of that period, your account gets switched over to the free edition.
Norway-based dbWatch Database Control is a specialized database monitoring tool – it doesn’t form part of a generalized infrastructure monitor. So, this tool is a good choice if you already have all of your server and application monitoring tools in place but lack insight into the performance of your databases.
The tool is implemented as on-premises software. You pay for a license based on the number of databases that you want to monitor. The pricing structure begins with a minimum database coverage of ten.
The tool is able to monitor a range of databases in real-time and it also gathers historical data for analysis and reporting. Views and reports can be accessed on each individual database, or as an overall view of the performance of all of your databases.
It doesn’t matter if you have RDMSs from several providers on your site because the tool can monitor different types of databases all at once. It is able to monitor SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MariaDB, MySQL, and Postgres databases. It doesn’t matter where those databases are because it dbWatch can oversea remote and cloud-based databases as easily as it can monitor on-premises instances. It is also able to oversee SQL Server and Oracle clusters and it can interface with Azure SQL on the cloud.
The dbWatch package is available in three service plans. These are dbWatch Essentials, dbWatch Professional, and dbWatch Enterprise. The Essentials package gets you all of the database monitoring tools. The Professional plan adds on automation for maintenance tasks and it also includes license management for SQL Server and Oracle databases. The Enterprise package includes database autodiscovery and cluster management.
The dbWatch software installs on hosts running the windows, Mac OS, and Linux operating systems. You can get a 30-day free trial of the dbWatch Essentials plan in order to put it through its paces before buying.
When it comes to diverse database monitoring solutions, Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager is hard to beat. This SQL monitoring tool can monitor databases in both physical and virtual environments. This program has been specifically designed to help the user view key performance metrics. Metrics you’ll encounter on Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager include CPU, Hard Disk Usage, Space, Network Usage, and Memory. This data gives you the basics you need to assess how well a database is performing.
You can also view what is happening through the lens of transaction analysis. This allows you to view application problems in isolation. For example, SQL Workload Analysis combines granular state monitoring and query plan tuning together with recommendations. This allows you to make targeted changes to address poor performance issues.
What makes Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager a stand out product is its alerts. Alerts notify you when certain data occurs. You can set your own alert thresholds so that you are notified when specific events happen. There is also a predictive alert facility that shows a percentage detailing the likelihood that a certain event will happen.
Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager is one of the most accessible products on the market. It mixes a compelling user interface available online and as a mobile app to help you monitor effectively. You can purchase the Pro version of Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager for $999 (£782). You can also download this tool as a 14-day free trial.
Back in 2000, SQL Power Tools began to develop a name for itself as a staple tool for all things SQL monitoring. This product remains popular as one of the most lightweight products on account of its deployment. SQL Power Tools logs data including response time, destination IP, source IP application, login id, bytes sent, and packets sent etc. In short, this tool provides you with the basics to view how your database is performing.
SQL Power Tools also delivers a high-quality experience in terms of cybersecurity. Advanced Behavioral Analysis and user Entity Behavioral Analytics help the user to identify threats and respond accordingly. In the event that a hacker accesses your system, the breach will be identified promptly and the activity stopped ASAP.
The general monitoring experience offered by SQL Power Tools is very thorough. You can look at everything from SQL wait times to stall times, blocking, and deadlocks. You can even view these in 3D graphs which makes it much easier to understand what’s going on.
SQL Power Tools is a tool that still provides a contemporary monitoring experience despite its age. However, you will need to contact the sales team in order to view a quote for purchasing this product. That being said, you can also download a free trial.
Sentry One is a product that takes an old-school approach to database monitoring. The user interface doesn’t have the same sheen as some of the other products on this list but it gets the job done just fine. With Sentry One you can view real-time data on your databases through the dashboard. All the data displayed allows you to critically see how available your SQL servers are.
Like other top-end database monitoring products Sentry One also has its own alerts system. In fact, there are over 100 alerting conditions available out of the box. These alerts notify you both when servers go down and when databases are taking too long to process data. You can even customize your alert message text to help your staff to respond to problems more effectively.
This program also offers automated index defragmentation and visual deadlock analysis. It helps you to know exactly when you need to perform defragmentation. This is informed by a combination of live and historical data so that you can get a balanced perspective.
In many ways, Sentry One is a program that deserves more attention as it offers a database monitoring experience that is much more sophisticated than its initial appearance. Sentry One is available as a License or a Subscription. The License version can be purchased for $2,495 (£1,955) and provides technical support and updates. The Subscription version can be purchased for $125 (£97.95) per month. There is also a 15-day free trial available for download.
Next,we have Red-Gate SQL Monitor. Red-Gate SQL Monitor is a program that’s SQL monitoring abilities are as striking as its visual design. With this tool, you can monitor all of your SQL databases through one dashboard on the web-based GUI. Your servers will be color-coded and you can identify what their status is in seconds. There is a traffic light system with a green light for Healthy, amber for Warning, and red for Critical.
One of the great things about Red-Gate SQL Monitor is that the web-GUI updates every 15 seconds. This means that you can track live activity without falling behind. This is particularly advantageous for dealing with problems as they emerge in larger networks.
There are also a variety of alerts that you can take advantage of. You can use alerts for high CPU, memory, low disk space, SQL errors, and performance issues. In total there are 40 customizable alerts that come with Red-Gate SQL Monitor out of the box. This provides you with everything you need to stay on top of what is happening on your network.
There is a variety of pricing options available for Red-Gate SQL Monitor based on how many servers you want to monitor. If you want to monitor one to four servers then you can do so for a price of $1,495 (£1,171) per server. If this isn’t enough then you can purchase for five to nine servers for $1,271 (£995). However, you’ll need to contact the company directly if you want to see the price for 10+ servers. There is also a 14-day free trial available.
Lepide SQL Server Auditing is a product that has been used by many big names over the years. Brands from Cisco and Intel to Coca-Cola have called on LepideAuditor to protect their data over the years. This is no surprise given that this product offers one of the most complete platforms for live and historic SQL monitoring.
The user experience on Lepide SQL Server is driven through the dashboard where you can view all your SQL Servers. The dashboard has been designed so that you can see changes to configurations and permissions instantly. It also allows you to view your databases in a hierarchical format. For example, you can view your top 10 active databases and failed logins.
Lepide SQL Server Auditing is used widely for many reasons, but many administrators use it because of its cybersecurity credentials. This program allows you to monitor any changes made to user permissions. In the event that a suspicious change has been made you will be sent an alert. These alerts operate in real-time and can even run custom scripts to allow the user to configure automated threat response.
As far as SQL Monitoring goes, Lepide SQL Server Auditing is a program that is highly recommended for administrators looking to stay protected against external threats. To view pricing options for Lepide SQL Server Auditing you need to contact the sales team. However, there is also a demo version which you can download.
ManageEngine Free SQL Health Monitor is a tool that provides a premium yet affordable SQL Monitoring experience. With ManageEngine Free SQL Health Monitor you can monitor all versions of MS SQL including MS 2012 and MS SQL 2014. In other words, if you’re using SQL servers then this a tool you should definitely consider deploying.
The user interface delivers the high-level production value that one would expect from a ManageEngine product. There is a clear dashboard where you can monitor the key metrics of your MS SQL servers with information such as CPU, memory, and disk space utilization being displayed. This provides you with a centralized location where you can take a magnifying glass to your MS SQL servers.
On the other hand, the SQL server monitoring abilities of this product allow you to view data on the log files used, active transaction data, transactions per second, and log cache hit radio. This is a healthy mix that allows you to look below the surface to solve problems. This is added by being able to set warning thresholds based on metrics like disk space, memory, and CPU.
In terms of setup, ManageEngine Free SQL Health Monitor is very easy to set up. You can even autodiscover SQL servers throughout your network. This is massive because it means you don’t have to waste time adding servers manually. This means less time configuring and more time monitoring. You can download ManageEngine Free SQL Health Monitor for free.
SpiceWorks is another well-known name in the network monitoring space, and SpiceWorks SQL Server Monitoring is a platform that showcases this company’s prowess in creating infrastructure monitoring products. With Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring you can check the health of your servers minute by minute on SQL databases from SQL Server 2005 and up.
Customizable charts and graphs are an area where SpiceWorks really excels. You can create charts that change the perspective you take of your servers. For example, you can select or deselect metrics such as IO Bytes/sec, Disk Queue Length, CPU Queue Length, and Processes Blocked. The result is the ability to analyse your server performance in different ways.
This is also true of the customizable dashboard where you can choose exactly how your monitoring environment is structured. You can create your own widgets and dedicate them to server data as needed. The best part about this is that you don’t need a complex display in order to take the basics in, and you can restrict what you see to only the crucial data.
SpiceWorks SQL Server Monitoring is a product that is great for smaller organizations looking to make their way into SQL monitoring on a budget. The best part about this product is that it is completely free.
Server Monitoring: Our Top Pick
All of the products listed above are valuable database monitoring tools in their own right. However, if you were limited to two, we would recommend SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server and Paessler PRTG Network Monitor. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server should be the top pick for any organization serious about overseeing database performance long term.
The ability to see the root cause of performance issues is something that will help you immeasurably when going through the troubleshooting process. Rather than spending time fumbling around for solutions, you will be able to point to specifics and take the appropriate action.
However, if you would like to combine a network monitoring experience alongside your SQL monitoring activities then Paessler PRTG Network Monitor is the better choice. It has the ability to monitor a variety of SQL databases and delivers a scalable pricing structure that is suitable for organizations of all sizes.