Few resources carry as much important information as databases. Small oversights and mistakes can lead to database outages and losing some of your most important data.
Without the right database monitoring tools to manage these services, it is challenging to keep an eye on everything you need for which you need to monitor.
Taking your eye off the ball could very easily lead to your database metrics exceeding capacity limits.
Here is our list of the best database monitoring tools & software:
- SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server EDITOR’S CHOICE Includes real-time performance monitoring plus analysis functions. Runs on Windows Server. See how your code works with root cause analysis, start a risk-free 14-day free trial.
- 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.
- SolarWinds AppOptics APM (FREE TRIAL) A comprehensive cloud-based application performance monitor that includes specialized processes for monitoring databases
- Datadog Database Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based application monitoring service that includes database performance checks.
- Site24x7 Server Monitoring An online monitoring package that includes SQL monitoring and analysis functions.
- Atera A remote management solution for managed service providers that includes database backup automation and supervision.
- dbWatch Database Control 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 detec any intrusions.
- 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 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 software 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 database 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 database 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.
The Database Performance Analyzer offers cross-platform support for on-premises or cloud installations. High-powered anomaly detection engine, index and query tuning advisors and an interface that doesn’t leave you guessing are available straight out-of-the-box. Real-time and historical data presentation is the icing in the cake.
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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 straightforward to set up. PRTG Network Monitor comes equipped with sensors that have been configured out of the box. These pre-configured 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 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 several 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.
AppOptics APM is a cloud-based service that monitors the performance of applications and the infrastructure that supports them. A lower edition, called AppOptics Infrastructure just focuses on the performance of equipment and doesn’t include the application performance monitoring features of the APM package.
APM has specialist screens for different applications, including databases. The service can interact with a long list of database management systems including Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, and Apache DBMSs.
The tool can examine queries as they run on your database, spotting those that seem to be taking too long or behaving inefficiently. When the monitor spots a poorly performing query, it makes a trace file of all of the database transactions that it performs, which enables further analysis. Other features in the tool examine the code of programs that include SQL database queries and also any batch files and SQL scripts that you might have on your system. This feature identifies lines of code and clauses in SQL that should be altered to improve performance.
The AppOptics APM service isn’t restricted to just monitoring databases and applications running on your site. It is also able to supervise the performance of applications running on rented virtual servers run by AWS or Azure servers. If you have a hybrid on-premises/cloud system, then that can be monitored by the service as well.
As a cloud service, AppOptics is charged for by subscription. The service has a flat fee per year and it doesn’t matter how many staff access the service. As well as the APM and infrastructure-only plans, SolarWinds offers a cheaper Metrics Pack. However, to get database monitoring features, you have to go for the APM edition. You can get a 14-day free trial of AppOptics APM.
Datadog Database Monitoring is a SaaS application monitor that includes extensive database monitoring capabilities. The Datadog system includes AI machine learning techniques that establish normal performance profiles for applications and infrastructure over time. This enables the system to automatically set alert thresholds and cut down the number of notifications that administrators receive.
It includes over 400 turn-key integrations including Cassandra, Redis, PostgreSQL MongoDB, SQL Server, MySQL, and more.
Although alert thresholds are set automatically, they can be adjusted and it is also possible to create custom conditions that would trigger alerts. These can be created by combining existing performance checks by using a straightforward SQL query tool.
The performance monitor has a lot of database performance visualizations and, when combined with infrastructure or website monitoring modules, can show exactly where any performance issue in your IT system originates. The APM will cover server performance metrics as well as application delivery checks.
The screens of Datadog enable fast problem recognition through charts, maps, and color coding and they include a number of troubleshooting investigative tools. The user can reorganize graphs to create a simultaneous performance stack to make analysis easier.
As a cloud-based service, Datadog can monitor databases wherever they are. So, you can centralize the monitoring of services located on several different sites and it is also possible to watch cloud databases with this system.
There is a certain amount of service performance logging with the Datadog APN package. However, to get standard database logs and other system logs analyzed properly, you would probably need to get the company’s log management module as well – it is called Ingest.
Datadog visualizations and performance analysis reports are great for communicating the current state of your databases and their future needs to stakeholders. Information can be distributed through an integration with Slack, or through other team collaboration tools.
Datadog Database Monitoring and all other Datadog modules can be experienced on 14-day free trials.
Site24x7 Server Monitoring offers network, server, and application 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 database monitoring software 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 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.
Atera is a cloud-based service that supports managed service providers (MSPs). The platform includes both remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA). So, it includes all of the software that an MSP needs to conduct its business.
The monitoring features of Atera include the tracking of live statuses and also database log file monitoring. Any database problems that arise will be caught by one of those two methods and converted into alerts in the system dashboard.
One of the remote management services included with the Atera RMM is the ability to manage database backup and recovery procedures through the tool. This feature doesn’t implement the backup and restore process directly – it is better to use the native procedures built into the DBMS. However, the Atera interface can interact with the DBMS of multiple vendors, which means that a systems administrator working as part of an MSP team can perform all backup and recovery tasks through one dashboard.
The Atera system can interact with the database management systems for MS SQL Database Server, MySQL, and Oracle.
As an online service, Atera is billed on a subscription basis. Prices are levied per technician per month, which makes the service ideal for a small MSP or independent technician. The prices are lower for those who opt to pay annually. However, the service has to be paid for in advance whichever billing period you choose.
Atera is available in three editions: Pro, Growth, and Power. All editions include the regular database status monitoring feature and all include database backup and recovery procedures. However, the top plan, Power, also includes the ability to store database snapshots. Atera is available for a 30-day free trial.
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 an on-premises database monitoring 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 can 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 can monitor SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MariaDB, MySQL, and Postgres databases. It doesn’t matter where those databases are because dbWatch can oversee 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 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 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 particular 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 database metrics 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. If 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 extensive. 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 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 performance monitoring dashboard. All the data displayed allows you to see how available your SQL servers are critically.
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 more extensive 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, 40 customizable alerts 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 are 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. If 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 the 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 that 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 performance monitoring 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 straightforward 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 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 analyze your server performance in different ways.
This is also true of the customizable dashboard where you can choose precisely 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 an elaborate display 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.
Database Monitoring Tools: Our Top Picks
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.
Database Monitoring FAQs
What is auditing in DBMS?
DBMS auditing involves tracking the use of database resources and monitoring the access rights of each role and the people who have been allocated those roles. The basic form of auditing a DBMS lies in recording events that occur within the database. Most DBMSs have an audit logging function that just needs to be turned on in order to implement auditing. Beyond that data gathering task, auditing a DBMS also requires human analysis of auditing data, adjustment to policies, and confirmation of optimized utilization of resources plus the assurance of security standards.
What are the most important database performance metrics and how do you monitor them?
Watch the following database performance metrics.
- Row counts per table
- Table sizes
- Database size
- Database file IO
- Memory performance
- Rollback space (transaction log in memory)
- Transaction log file size
- CPU utilization
- Response times per query
- Blocking events
- Wait time per execution
All of these important database performance metrics can be monitored by querying system tables. However, that is a boring and time consuming task, which would lead any DBA’s attention to wander, thus leading to poor monitoring. It is better to buy monitoring software to watch these metrics, set thresholds, and alert when one of these indicators gets tripped.
How is database performance measured?
Measure database performance by following key DBMS metrics. The goal of database performance monitoring is dictated by company policy and resources. If the aim is to give users the best possible database performance, then any identified shortfall in performance can be resolved through tuning and then through purchases. If the goal is to limit the cost of database services, then database tuning needs to be followed by access restrictions.
What is a database agent?
The database manager software includes processes that are spawned in order to service application requests. These threads are called database agents. A database agent tracks a connection to the database. The DBMS allows statistics to be gathered from the database agents about the performance of each connection and also allows for limitations to be placed on the number of concurrent active database agents.
How do you ensure database security?
Database security can be automated in order to prevent unauthorized use or malicious damage. Implement these five database security tasks.
- Implement a secure credentials policy
- Enforce complex passwords.
- Ensure password rotation.
- Protect authentication databases.
- Encrypt the database
- Protect data in the database.
- Encrypt system files that contain metadata.
- Encrypt all data transmissions between the database and users
- Encrypt all backup files.
- Segment the database
- Hold related tables per business function in each database segment.
- Only allow each user access to pertinent segments.
- Set up views to resolve cross-segment referencing.
- Restrict development access to the live database
- Create clones of the database with sensitive data removed.
- Only allow adjustments to the live database once they have been tested elsewhere.
- Analyze all code in sandbox environments before applying it to the live database.
- On web applications, don’t allow direct outsider access over the internet.
- Monitor and audit the database
- Track users.
- Monitor code performance.
- Optimize database queries.
- Implement intrusion detection systems.
How so I shrink a SolarWinds database?
The part of a SolarWinds database that you can reduce in size, or “shrink,” is its transaction log. Don’t try to shrink the data file in a SolarWinds database because that can result in damage to the links between database objects, such as indexes on tables and mapping to memory locations.
Shrink the transaction log with these steps.
- Go to the Orion Service Manager and shut down all Orion services.
- Open the SQL Server Management Studio. Connect to your SQL server.
- Right-click over the Orion Database.
- In the context menu, select All Tasks then Shrink and then click on Files. Set the File Type to Log.
- Under Shrink action, select Reorganize pages before releasing unused space.
- Set Shrink File to 0 MB.
- Click OK.
- Go to the Orion Service Manager and restart all Orion services.
The Shrink action takes a while to complete. Expect to wait a few minutes for each GB in the file. The process might not shrink all the size that is possible to reduce in one go, so repeat the process before restarting Orion services. Check the transaction log file size after each attempt. When the Shrink action makes no difference to the file size, it has done all it can.