Servers are some of the most important resources within a network, and the widespread popularity of SQL Servers has made SQL Server monitoring tools a prerequisite for long-term network maintenance.
Using a server monitoring tool to track the health of a server can give you the information needed to address performance concerns. In the long term, nipping performance issues in the bud will keep your network up and running.
Overlooking the importance of SQL Server monitoring can result in performance issues at best and complete downtime at worst; it can cause a server to go down and cost organizations a lot of money.
Here is our list of the best SQL Server monitoring tools:
- Datadog SQL Server Monitoring EDITOR’S CHOICE An infrastructure monitor that includes database monitoring and a specialized integration for SQL Server. Start a 14-day free trial.
- SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server (FREE TRIAL) This cross-platform tool for Windows Server monitors SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, DB2, SAP ASE, and Cloud servers from one centralized location.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager (FREE TRIAL) Monitors SQL Server databases and underlying server performance. Runs on Windows Server and Linux.
- Site24x7 SQL Server Monitoring (FREE TRIAL) A monitor for networks, servers, and applications with SQL Server monitoring capabilities. This is a cloud-based system.
- Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG (FREE TRIAL) A network, server, and application monitor that examines monitor Microsoft SQL, Oracle SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL performance.
- SentryOne SQL Sentry (FREE TRIAL) Automated SQL Server monitoring plus query optimization and database improvement tools.
- Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud (FREE TRIAL) A package aimed at managed service providers that is delivered on a SaaS model and focuses on security for data held on endpoints.
- Checkmk An infrastructure monitoring system that includes specialized monitors for SQL Server. Runs on Linux.
- dbWatch Database Control A specialized database monitor that offers a unified front end for all of your database instances. Runs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
- Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager This tool monitors SQL databases in physical and virtual environments including server CPU, memory, hard disk, and network usage.
- AimBetter This cloud-based service specializes in performance monitoring for SQL Server instances and can also tune Oracle and SAP systems. There is also a database management service available.
- Lepide SQL Server Auditing A server auditing package for effectively monitoring SQL instances that run on Windows and Windows Server.
- Red-Gate SQL Monitor This tool has 40 pre-configured alerts to monitor memory resource usage, high CPU, disk space, SQL errors, and SQL query performance issues.
- SQL Power Tools Lightweight agentless SQL monitoring solution that covers Oracle SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase database servers.
- bForge Monitor Discover CPU utilization, memory utilization, disk activity, and IO latency with this tool.
- Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring Track metrics like SQL Server size, connection, and speed with this tool.
The best SQL Server monitoring software
When selecting the tools for this article, we took into consideration the performance and features of each tool, their ease of use, their support and documentation, and robustness in use in a wide array of industry use cases.
What should you look for in SQL Server monitoring scanner tools?
We reviewed the market for SQL Server monitoring software and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- Monitoring functions to examine resource efficiency within the DBMS
- A service that examines the DBMS’s access to server resources
- An analysis tool that can identify inefficient or absent indexing
- An SQL query optimizer
- The ability to aggregate performance monitoring for several database instances
- A free trial for a no-cost assessment exercise or a money-back guarantee period
- A good mix of tools that will improve the efficiency and profitability of the company, paying back the purchase price
The Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring service service is a cloud package that can monitor databases. The Datadog system can be enhanced with specialist plugins, called “integrations” and there is one available for SQL Server.
- Query throughput, query execution performance, connections, or buffer pool usage in real-time
- Turnkey database integration
- Drag-and-drop graphs and widget display
- Intelligent alerts
- Cloud based
Data gathering for the monitoring service is performed by an agent but all processing is performed on the Datadog servers. Although the Datadog agents can be installed on Linux as well as Windows, the agent that monitors SQL Server will only install on Windows.
Installing the SQL Server integration doesn’t block the Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring from also monitoring other applications, rather, it adds specialized screens to the console for that account.
The console for Datadog is resident on the cloud server and it can be accessed through any browser. As it does not need to be installed on site, Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring is able to monitor SQL server instances resident on remote sites and also those running on cloud servers.
- Excellent interface and dashboard visuals for real-time monitoring and historical analysis
- Platform can monitor a variety of applications, making it a viable solution for additional monitoring needs
- Offers pre-made templates specifically for SQL monitoring
- Runs in the cloud, avoiding costly on-premise installs
- Reports and dashboards are customizable with simple drag and drop widgets
- Scalable pricing works well for any size SQL solution
- Could use a longer trial period
Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring is charged for by subscription with a monthly fee and also a lower annual rate available. That is a rate per host. The service is also available with an App Analytics add-on. Datadog Infrastructure Monitoring is available for a 14-day free trial.
Datadog SQL Server Monitoring is our first choice. We particularly like how you can query parameters like throughput, connections, execution performance and buffer-pool use in real-time. Drag-and-drop functionality in the console makes your life easier.
Official Site: datadoghq.com/product/free-datadog-trial/
SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server (DPA) has been designed as a complete server monitoring solution for modern networking. With SolarWinds DPA for SQL Server you can monitor SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, DB2, SAP ASE, and Cloud servers from one centralized location. One of the main focuses of this product is finding the root cause of performance faults.
- Monitors SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, DB2, and SAP ASE
- Oversees on premises, remote, and cloud servers
- Tracks supporting services
- Supports database optimization
The user is provided with a data collection engine to view the raw server usage data. This includes a graph detailing how the SQL server performance metrics have changed over time which can be viewed in five unique ways (Summary, CPU, Memory, Disk, and Network). To get to the root cause of performance issues, it allows you to use metrics such as wait times, users, files, and objects to find out what the problem is.
What makes it one of the best SQL Server monitoring tools is that it has a low overhead cost on system resources. This means that you can run the program while having a minimal impact on your network performance.
Uses machine learning for anomaly detection and provides real-time and historical data.
- Highly intuitive DB management system tailored for medium to large size database implementations
- Monitors in real-time, offering a number of alert and notification options that can integrate into popular helpdesk solutions
- Threshold monitoring helps keep teams proactive, and fix issues before they impact performance
- Dashboards are highly customizable and be tailored to individuals or teams
- Supports multiple versions of SQL including MySQL, DB2, and Oracle
- Leverages machines learning to identify performance bottlenecks
- Ideal for larger networks and SQL servers operating in enterprise environments
- Could benefit from a longer 30 day trial period
SolarWinds DBA is not only scalable but can also be integrated with other tools like SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor and Storage Resource Monitor, meaning that you can expand the monitoring experience based on your own requirements. The price starts at $1,170 (£883). There is also a 14-day free trial.
SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer is great for SQL server database performance tuning and optimizations with an intuitive interface that is both powerful and easy to use. Offers real-time and historical analysis, identifies the worst performing SQL and applications, machine learning anomaly detection and graphic visualizations of wait times and more.
Get 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/database-performance-analyzer/registration
OS: Any physical or virtual Windows or Linux server that supports JRE v11
ManageEngine produces a range of IT infrastructure monitoring tools and SQL Server monitoring is part of its Applications Manager. This tool can be combined with other monitoring modules from ManageEngine to create a full IT support monitoring and management service.
- Live performance monitoring
- Optimization analysis
- On premises, AWS, or Azure
The monitoring tool watches live database statuses including the performance of database services, such as memory and disk space usage and cache and buffer performance. The Applications Manager also records the utilization of database structures, such as tablespaces, and will warn the DBA if space is running out.
Database tuning services are also included in the SQL Server monitoring service. This includes analysis of database objects per type and also run-throughs of synthetic transactions to test queries on a database to spot which objects are badly implemented. Analysis tools also support SQL tuning.
The SQL Server monitoring section of Applications Manager is tabbed, which makes it easy to switch between screens of live data and access analytical features. The database monitoring capabilities of this tool are not limited to SQL Server. The Applications Manager will monitor a long list of database management systems, including Oracle, SAP, PostgreSQL, and MySQL. So, it is a suitable support service for mixed DBMS environments.
- Offers on-premise and cloud deployment options, giving companies more choices for installation
- Can highlight interdependencies between applications to map out how performance issues can impact businesses operations
- Offers log monitoring to track metrics like memory usage, disk IO, and cache status, providing a holistic view into your database health
- Can automatically detect databases, server hardware, and devices in real-time
- Can take time to fully explore all features and options available
The ManageEngine Applications Manager monitors server statuses as well, so all of the monitoring capabilities for the statuses of the underlying hardware is included along with the SQL monitoring capabilities with one package. The tool includes a wide range of application monitoring screens and it will monitor those systems that rely on databases, such as web servers. The Applications Manager installs on Windows Server and Linux and ManageEngine makes in available for a 30-day free trial.
Site24x7 is a cloud-based platform of monitoring tools. The tools are bundled into packages and the Site24x7 Infrastructure plan includes database monitoring. The service is able to monitor SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Cassandra, DB2, MongoDB, VoltDB, CouchDB, and ClickHouse databases.
- Monitors SQL Server, Oracle SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Cassandra
- Monitors server resources
- Database tuning
The monitoring system requires an agent program to be installed on the system that contains the database to be supervised. However, that doesn’t have to be on the same server because the tool is able to reach databases across a network. It can unify the monitoring of databases on several different sites and also include cloud-based databases.
The Site24x7 Infrastructure service searches an enrolled system and creates an application stack map that identifies the dependencies of applications that serve a user-facing software package. The system is particularly strong at monitoring websites, where databases play an important supporting role.
The SQL Server examines the structure of a database instance, examining its data file size, log file size, and log cache hit ratio. The monitor watches SQL execution and records factors such as errors, replications, SQL compilations, and longest transaction time. It spots problems with resource locking and index inefficiencies. It also explores the resources of the server that supports the database and identifies the effects of each transaction on attributes such as CPU, memory, and disk space.
The SQL Server monitor includes an alerting mechanism that notifies technicians when performance drops or resources approach full capacity.
Site24x7 Infrastructure includes network, server, and website monitoring features as well as database monitoring. There is a 30-day free trial available for the monitoring system.
- Flexible cloud-based monitoring option
- Offers a host of out-of-box monitoring options and dashboard templates for SQL server
- Allows administrators to view dependencies within the application stack, good for building SLAs and optimizing uptime
- Offers root cause analysis enhances by AI to fix technical issues faster
- Can unify SQL monitoring across multi-cloud environments
- Site24x7 is a feature-rich platform with options that extended beyond databases management, may require time to learn all options and features
Site24x7 Infrastructure is resident in the cloud, so it doesn’t need to be downloaded or installed. The maintenance for the software, processing power, and storage for the data that the monitor generates are all included in the price. The Web-based dashboard for the system includes customizable screens and it can be accessed from anywhere with any standard Web browser. The service costs $9 per month when paid for annually.
Next up we have Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG, part of the PRTG suite, a network monitor that also offers a range of SQL monitoring features. With this tool, you can monitor Microsoft SQL, Oracle SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL for signs of performance degradation. This process is made simple because Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG has preconfigured sensor templates for all the most popular databases.
- Monitors SQL Server, Oracle SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and ADO SQL
- Records query execution metrics
- Supports query optimization
- Used for database tuning
Some of the sensors that Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG comes equipped with out of the box include Microsoft SQL v2 Sensor, Oracle SQL v2 Sensor, MySQL v2 Sensor, PostgreSQL Sensor, and ADO SQL v2 Sensor. Each of these sensors has its own unique view and provides you with the key metrics relating to that individual server. For instance, the Microsoft SQL v2 Sensor tells you the execution time of the request, execution time of the query, number of affected rows, and downtime.
Outside of these unique sensor tools, Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG also has a range of additional features like notifications. You can schedule alerts to determine when you will receive notifications for performance data events within your SQL Servers. Once an alert has been triggered you will be sent a notification via email or SMS. If you have the PRTG Network Monitor App on iOS and Android, then you can also receive the alert there.
- Offers a range of sensors that can monitor SQL, as well as other applications, infrastructure, and devices
- Sensors are templatized for quick deployment
- Allows users to create their own custom sensors tailored to their needs
- Freeware version offers 100 sensors for free, great for smaller businesses
- PRTG offers a suite of monitoring services that can take time to fully explore
Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG is one of the best SQL monitors for Windows devices. There is a freeware version of PRTG Network Monitor that lets you monitor up to 100 sensors without cost. From then on the prices range from $1,750 – $15,500 (£1,321 – £11,701) depending on the number of sensors you want. The cheapest paid version is PRTG 500 which offers 500 sensors for $1,750 (£1,321). The largest version is PRTG XL1 which offers unlimited sensors for $15,500 (£11,701). There is also a 30-day free trial of Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG for evaluation.
SentryOne SQL Sentry from SolarWinds is a tool that takes a more classic approach towards SQL monitoring. You can use this tool to view performance metrics of servers connected to your network and to look closer at poorly-performing SQL queries. You can also discover storage and resource bottlenecks. With SentryOne block analysis you can view all blocking processes from a hierarchical perspective so you can find the root cause faster.
- Monitors database performance
- Examines bottlenecks in underlying services
- Query optimizer
SentryOne SQL Sentry helps you to stay ahead of the curve with over 100 alerting conditions. You can customize alert messages to display the exact information you want. This is a simple process as well because all you need to do is go to the Condition pane and select the condition you want to customize, then click Message tab > Edit. All messages are XML-based.
- Dedicated to monitoring specifically only SQL, good for companies that already have other app monitoring tools they’re happy with
- 100+ alerts and templates customized around SQL server health monitoring
- Supports root cause analysis for faster resolution times
- Pricing is on the higher end
- Isn’t a holistic application/infrastructure monitor
The price for SQL Sentry starts at $1,450 (£1,095). The software installs on Windows Server and you can get it o. There is also a 14-day free trial.
Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is a SaaS package of system and data security measures that is designed for use by managed service providers (MSPs). The package includes Acronis Cyber Backup, which gives MSPs the opportunity to offer their clients a data backup and recovery service that includes cloud storage. The system also includes secure day-to-day file sharing and syncing features for the users on the endpoints covered by the Cyber Protect plan.
- Integrates with RMM and PSA systems for system-side security
- Automated playbooks for threat mediation and data recovery
The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud system isn’t a full RMM solution. Instead, it is able to integrate with your current RMM and PSA systems to implement system-wide security and also log the chargeable services that the package offers.
Each individual service in the Acronis bundle can be turned on or off for each client. Therefore, the security services included in the package can be offered to each MSP customer as a menu of add-on modules. You don’t have to provide all of the Acronis security features to all of your customers.
The Acronis package can be white-labeled and its systems are supported with marketing and training material that helps the MSP present and explain the benefits of each security feature. Billing and contract negotiation are eased by the service reporting capabilities built into the Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud package.
The security features in the Acronis bundle offer a full range of endpoint and data protection services, which includes insider threat detection, anti-malware, and Web-based threat scans and controls.
The system includes automated playbooks for threat remediation and data recovery. The threat detection processes in the Acronis package are based on AI-built baselining. Data security services extend to corporate services, such as file transfers and email systems, and can be managed by the customer’s administrator or an MSP technician to apply different data activity access permissions for different roles and user accounts. The Acronis SaaS package also includes a threat intelligence feed.
Naturally, communications between client sites and endpoints and the MSP technician console are also scanned and protected. The system includes threat reporting that provides source material for MSP security analysts to offer enhanced threat protection analysis to clients. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud toolbox also includes a system security auditing module that will support add-on consultancy security services that the MSP might want to offer to their clients.
Backup procedures in Acronis include automated AV scanning to prevent ransomware from working into your data stores. Recovery procedures also scan for malicious data infection in order to prevent re-infection of a client’s restored system. Backups are offered as both full disk and file-level options, which provides the MSP with a range of system protection strategies to offer to their clients.
- A hosted package of system security services
- A multi-tenant architecture for MSPs
- Individual service activation options for upselling
- Security consultancy analysis tools
- Doesn’t include a full RMM system
Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is a subscription service and you can assess the package with a 30-day free trial.
Checkmk is an infrastructure monitoring system for networks, servers, and applications. The system can be enhanced with product-specific plugins. Checkmk has more than one plugin for SQL servers and supports for example Microsoft SQL Server, MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL.
- Tracks SQL Server performance
- Monitors database interactions with the host and network
- Also monitors MariaDB, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL
The SQL Server monitor is able to track the performance of factors such as database connections, blocked sessions, cache hit ratio, tablespace resources, resource locks, backup performance, and database file sizes.
The monitor watches the interactions with host services and tracks processes, disk usage, and memory usage. The system also monitors the access to the network interface and the flow of database interactions across the network.
Checkmk is very easy to set up because it includes autodiscovery processes. These will search the network for every device and then scan each device to log all of the services that it hosts. SQL Server isn’t the only DBMS that Checkmk can monitor. It also monitors Oracle, MongoDB, MySQL, and PostgreSQL, among others.
- Operates as a full-fledged infrastructure monitoring system, good for companies looking for more diversity in their SQL monitoring tool
- Dark mode is easy on the eyes, great for long term monitoring and NOC teams
- Tracks metrics like hit ratio, database size, and tablespace out of the box
- Sleek and simple interface that is easy to learn
- Like most infrastructure monitoring tools, Checkmk is designed for system administrators and not home users
Checkmk is offered in two editions. The Raw edition is a fork of Nagios Core and it is free to use. Checkmk also wrote its own proprietary infrastructure monitoring suite and there is a Free version of that, too. The full version of the paid system, which is called Enterprise Standard, has no limits on its capacity. There is also a version for managed service providers, called Enterprise Managed Services. You can access a 30-day free trial download.
The dbWatch Database Control package isn’t part of a wider general server or application monitor. It is a specialized SQL server database monitoring system.
This tool is capable of monitoring several databases at once and it isn’t restricted to working with just one database brand. The tool is able to monitor SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MariaDB, MySQL, and Postgres databases. It also doesn’t have a problem with watching over the coordination of clusters created with Oracle and SQL Server. This is a universal solution that can monitor cloud-based databases managed by Azure SQL as well as on-site implementations, It can even handle hybrid environments.
- Monitors SQL Server, Oracle, Sybase, MariaDB, MySQL, and Postgres databases
- Live database statuses
- Can simultaneously monitor multiple databases
The environment allows you to view live data on database events and these views can be accessed on a per-database basis or as aggregated data across a selection of databases or all databases. The pre-written reports that come with the system are also available to log both an individual database or across all of your instances.
It doesn’t matter where your databases are located because dbWatch centralizes access to them whether they are onsite, in the Cloud or on a remote site. The tool is available for all sizes of enterprises, thanks to a scalable pricing structure. However, the minimum license size covers ten databases, so it probably wouldn’t be suitable for very small enterprises.
The software for dbWatch is available for download and installs on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux servers. The package is available in three plan levels.
- Supports multiple database types including cloud-based databases like Azure SQL
- Good option for businesses that have a large number of SQL servers in operation
- Can proactively alert based on set thresholds
- Available cross-platform on Windows, Linux, and Mac
- Specializes only in SQL server monitoring
- Minimum license requirement of 10 – not for small businesses
The lowest of these, dbWatch Essentials, will give you SQL Server monitoring and will also cover any other DBMS implementations. The next plan up, dbWatch Professional, includes maintenance automation and SQL Server and Oracle license management functions. The top package, dbWatch Enterprise, has all of the facilities of the lower two packages plus cluster support, security monitoring via Active Directory, database autodiscovery, and the ability to extract data out in CSV format for import into Excel. You can try out dbWatch Essentials risk-free on a 30-day free trial.
If you’re looking for more of a specialist SQL monitoring software product then Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager is the product for you. With Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager you can monitor SQL server databases in physical and virtual environments. You can view performance data on server CPU, memory, hard disk, and network usage. With this information, you can see if a server is experiencing difficulties.
- Monitors resource availability
- Query tuner
- Predicts resource shortages
To get the most out of this program, you’re likely to need the SQL Query Tuner add-on. This add-on helps you to discover and diagnose SQL queries that are performing poorly. It does this by creating a graphical representation of the data so that you can see what is going on more clearly.
Predictive alerts is one of the most useful features offered by Idera SQL Diagnostic Monitor. You can configure custom thresholds for an SQL server activity alert so that you receive a notification once this trigger condition happens. This product also provides you with expert recommendations so that once an issue occurs you can run an automatic script to solve the problem. There is also specific guidance and online content to help you to fix performance issues as they occur.
- Interface works well, even at scale when supporting multiple SQL databases
- Query tuner helps assist DBAs in optimizing query performance
- Predictive alerting works well with little configuration
- Only available for Windows server
- Would like to see a longer trial period
Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager is available for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 SP2, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016, and Windows Server 2019. You can purchase a single license of Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager for $997.60 (£753). There is also a 14-day free trial.
AimBetter is a SaaS package that was developed by SQL Server experts. The tool assesses your database structures to offer guidance on object optimization and then watches over the activities of your instances. The design of your database is very dependent on how it is used – for example, a system that experiences many inserts has different indexing requirements to tables that are only ever referenced. So, AimBetter gathers information on how best to tune your database by recording how it is used.
- Physical resource tracking
- Configuration assessments
- Database object tuning
The performance monitoring service in AimBetter tracks more than 400 metrics. It looks at how the DBMS interacts with its underlying host’s resources and can spot when space and memory allocations need to be resized. The service will help you to improve the structure of your SQL Server instances.
The performance monitor includes automated alerts, which will warn you of developing problems. However, this isn’t just a monitoring package – it is managed service. You also get the advice of expert SQL Server consultants on how you should improve your databases to get better performance. The experts will only advise you, making those changes is still up to you. However, on a managed service plan, you can get AimBetter to provide the DBAs as well.
- Expert assistance on database tuning
- Automated alerts on resource shortages and locks
- Historical analysis data
- Can’t be installed on your own servers
AimBetter is a cloud service and so you don’t need to install the system on your own site. This configuration is preferable as most SQL Server databases are themselves hosted on cloud servers and form part of other services, such as Web hosting. You need to install an agent on the server that hosts your databases. The AimBetter package includes data retention for historical analysis and also analytical tools to mine that information.
The AimBetter dashboard can be accessed through a Web browser or a dedicated mobile app. You can try out the AimBetter service by requesting a free trial.
Lepide SQL Server Auditing provides a solid server auditing experience for monitoring SQL instances. With Lepide SQL Server Auditing all changes made to the configuration of SQL users, permissions, triggers, SQL server databases, and logins are saved as audit data. This is great for tracking how SQL configurations change over time and keeping on top of what is going on.
- Tracks user account changes
- Monitors server resource availability
The Lepide SQL Server Auditing platform also allows you to monitor the health of connected SQL Servers. Lepide SQL Server Auditing monitors servers and provides you with data on usage, CPU usage, connections, and error rates. If a server goes down then you will be notified by an alert. Alerts are sent as console updates, emails, and push notifications from the LepideAuditor App.
- Offers monitoring services with detailed auditing, good for larger DevOps teams
- Supports alerts sent as push notifications and webhook integration
- Can track SQL config changes over time automatically
- Interface takes time to learn – unconventional layout
- Must contact sales for pricing
You can download Lepide SQL Server Auditing on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016. If you want to know the price of Lepide SQL Server Monitoring then you’ll need to contact the sales team directly. Lepide also offers a free trial of this software.
Red-Gate SQL Monitor is an SQL monitoring solution that offers one of the most modern monitoring experiences on this list. Red-Gate SQL Monitor gives you a Global Overview that allows you to view the health of connected servers from one window. This view shows a color-coded display of server health throughout your network. In the event that a server is down, it will turn red with a fault message. Fault messages include a notification like “Long-running query. sharepoint since 4:22”.
- Monitors multiple servers simultaneously
- Database performance alerts
- Error logging
Red-Gate recognizes that even with this Global view it is difficult to keep track of a live network which is why they have their own alerts system. The alerts system comes with 40 preconfigured alerts and can also be customized to send you alerts once a certain threshold has been exceeded. You can set thresholds for memory resource usage, high CPU, disk space, SQL errors, and query performance issues.
One of the most noticeable things about this product is how clear and pristine the graphs and visual displays are. They make it easy to monitor your server health promptly. There is also a reporting module that you can use to further breakdown your data for future analysis. You can export reports to PDF and schedule them to be emailed to you in the future.
- Scalable interface – can manage multiple SQL databases without clutter
- Best suited for multi SQL server environments
- Offers pre-configured alerts and templates specifically for SQL DBAs
- Doesn’t support other applications beyond SQL
- Trial is only 14 days, could be longer
In organizations where top-down visibility over lots of different servers is vital, Red-Gate SQL Monitor is an excellent choice. The Global view will provide you with that core dashboard monitoring experience that keeps you on top of everything going on. You need to request a quote from the company website to view the price. You can evaluate their software on a 14-day free trial.
SQL Power Tools is an agentless SQL monitoring solution that is dedicated to being as lightweight as possible. With SQL Power Tools you can monitor Oracle SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase database servers with minimal impact on your server resources. Impact is kept to a minimum because the software uses packet sniffing to analyze the performance of the server.
- Monitors SQL Server, Informix, and Sybase
- Logs query metrics
- Blocks hacker attacks
The data utilized by SQL Power Tools includes response time, destination IP, source IP application, start time, end time, database, rows returned, bytes sent, and packets sent. This is a sizeable body of data that gives you everything you need to scrutinize a database’s performance.
One of the key areas that SQL Power Tools focuses on is cybersecurity. This tool has been designed to prevent cyber attacks with Advanced SQL Behavioral Analysis and User Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA). When an attacker tries to breach your network these two will recognize the threat and stop it immediately. This makes SQL Power Tools a good solution for securing your servers as much as monitoring them.
- Was specifically built to be as lightweight as possible, allowing it to manage a large number of SQL servers with little resource consumption
- Offers built-in security auditing and monitoring that leverages behavioral analytics to stop SQL attacks
- Clean user interface takes little time to learn
- Doesn’t support other applications beyond SQL
- Must contact sales for pricing
Overall SQL Power Tools is a product that should be considered by any organization that wants to combine a performance monitoring solution with additional cybersecurity capabilities on Windows. In order to view the price of SQL Power Tools you’ll need to contact the sales team directly. You can request a free trial.
dbForge Monitor is an SQL monitoring tool for Windows that delivers a simple and contemporary SQL monitoring experience. dbForge Monitor absolutely nails the top-down perspective required by a larger network with a dedicated Overview tab. In the Overview tab, you can view key metrics like CPU utilization, memory utilization, disc activity, and IO latency.
- Provides summaries for multiple databases
- Individual performance details
- Query optimizer
If you would like to delve deeper into the read and writes for individual database files then you can use the IO Data tab. Through the IO Data tab, you can view total data reads and writes, latency, and input/output operation count. Similarly, the Wait Stats tab is designed specifically to tell you the wait time and waiting tasks to help you pinpoint resources that are adversely affecting server performance.
With regards to queries, dbForge Monitor has its own SQL query performance analyzer to keep tabs on resource optimization. The SQL query performance analyzer looks out for resource-intensive queries that overwhelm the system so that it can’t cope with its entire workload. You can view the query text and query profiling data so that you can rewrite it to support your server better.
- Offers additional features and functionality beyond Management Studio without unnecessary tools and options
- Excellent overview into the health of multiple SQL server databases
- Can rewrite queries and profile data from directly inside the tool
- Only runs on Windows
- Requires Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
All-in-all, dbForge Monitor is the ideal tool for users who want to view in-depth metrics without relying on too many complex displays. In order to run dbForge Monitor you need Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio 2012, 2014, 2016, or 2017. You also need to have .NET Framework 4.5.2 installed. You can download dbForge Monitor for free.
Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring is a free server monitoring tool that is popular among smaller enterprises. WIth Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring you can track metrics like SQL Server size, connection, and speed. If you’re looking to monitor the health of connected servers then you need to look no further than this platform. The dashboard is completely customizable and you can create widgets to monitor the exact infrastructure you want.
- Free to use
- Database structure monitor
- Customizable graphs and reports
Once data has been pulled from a server it can then be viewed in customizable charts and graphs. This is particularly useful for seeing how the performance of a server has changed over time. Monitoring servers over a longer time period allows you to see the signs of performance degradation earlier.
- Completely free server monitoring
- Dashboards can be customized relatively easily
- Is a lightweight solution better suited for smaller SQL server monitoring operations
- Interface includes ads, and other upsells to get you into Spiceworks paid products
- Not the best option data centers or larger enterprises running SQL services
Organizations looking for a lightweight but well-designed SQL Server monitoring experience would be hard-pressed to go wrong with Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring. You can download Spiceworks SQL Server Monitoring software for free.
That concludes our look at the best SQL monitoring tools for 2020. Of all the tools mentioned on this list we recommend SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server, Datadog SQL Monitoring and SentryOne SQL Sentry. Each of these tools offers a server health monitoring experience that can function well within any size environment. The autodiscovery feature of the former makes this a particularly simple process.
No matter what your preferences are, we recommend that you try out a number of free trials before you make a purchase. If you’re working within a small network then it is ideal to try out a tool like Paessler SQL monitoring software PRTG on account of its freeware version. The most important thing is to find a product that you’re comfortable monitoring with before you make a purchase. At the end of the day, your comfort with the program will determine how effective it will be when you use it on a daily basis.
SQL Server Monitoring FAQ
What is the first step in reviewing your system in SQL?
Before approaching the task of reviewing your system in SQL, ensure that you have an effective monitoring tool. Reviewing the system by manually issuing a series of SQL queries is time-consuming, prone to error, and could slow down or block a system if it is already close to its operating limits. A performance monitor can give you advanced warning of potential problems before they become critical so you know that any actions you take in the database aren’t likely to make a bad situation worse.
What are the performance counters in SQL Server?
The term “performance counters” means the metrics or system indicators that you need to watch in order to prevent the database and its supporting services from getting overloaded. The most important of these are:
- % Processor Time
- Processor Que Length
- Processors Blocked
- SQL Compilations/Sec (or Re-compilations/Sec
- Total Server Memory
- Bytes Total/sec
- Average Disk Queue Length
- Buffer Cache Hit Ratio
- Cache Hit Ratio
How do you check a SQL Server instance is running or not?
The steps to check on whether an SQL Server instance is running are:
- Open Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio
- Scroll through the Object Manager to find the folder the represents the instance that you want to check on.
- Right-click on the mouse to get the context menu.
- Look through the options. If Start is grayed out, the instance is currently running.