SQL Server Diagnostic Solutions

Use licensed software or SAAS to observe important DB metrics.

Start diagnosing the environment that databases run in. Use SolarWinds® cloud-based or licensed software to diagnose important server and database metrics.

Data is the fuel driving business success. It's the foundation ensuring applications are available and performant to meet end users' needs, it helps inform critical business decisions, and it even offers the proprietary advantage, setting organizations apart from their competition. Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database are common data platforms businesses worldwide choose to meet these challenges, and monitoring SQL database performance is critical.

Database administrators and IT pros cannot improve what's not measured. Ensuring you have the right monitoring solution to monitor the correct metrics, and provide actionable metrics, ensures you can efficiently pinpoint the root cause of a problem and helps to optimize and tune database performance to prevent future issues.

To successfully diagnose Microsoft SQL Server, you need to start by monitoring your entire data platform stack. This monitoring should include the SQL Server application, the operating system, and extend into the hypervisor host infrastructure for public, private, and hybrid clouds. Database administrators and IT departments should continuously monitor these layers. If you’re only monitoring the SQL Server instance itself, you can have blind spots in your monitoring, potentially leading to SQL Server performance and availability issues.

SQL Database and Server Diagnosing

SQL Database Diagnosing in Hyper-V and VMware Environments

SQL Database Diagnosing in Hyper-V and VMware Environments

More and more databases run in a virtual environment, meaning your monitoring and diagnosing should extend into VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors. Running virtualized SQL Server requires insights into network, CPU, memory, and storage of vSphere and Hyper-V hosts and their virtual machines. Looking at metrics such as disk latency, disk space, vCPU utilization, and Co-Stop are hypervisor-specific, and neighboring VM's performance could adversely affect your SQL Server performance if not monitored.

SQL Server Operating System Monitoring

SQL Server Operating System Monitoring

Moving up the data platform stack is the SQL Server itself. There are standard metrics that should be monitored at the hypervisor and OS layer, such as CPU, memory, and networking. There are additional metrics that need to be monitored at the operating system and application layer. Metrics such as:

  • Processor Queue Length
  • SQLServer:Buffer Manager\Buffer cache hit ratio
  • SQLServer:Buffer Manager\Page life expectancy
  • And more

Each of these metrics should be monitored and accounted for when diagnosing your SQL Server issues.

Monitor and More Easily Analyze Performance Metrics

Monitor and More Easily Analyze Performance Metrics

Use metrics available in easy-to-read analysis dashboards to maintain your database environment. A useful metric to monitoring is wait time. By viewing the overall wait time, you can get a sense of where the most time is spent in the database in a given day and given time period—remember wait time is concurrent and can exceed 24 hours in a given day. Analyzing database performance can allow you to separate the anomalies from the cyclical events associated with SQL database operations. Monitoring and knowing your average wait time provides you with a better sense of your overall SQL performance.

Optimize Query Performance

Optimize Query Performance

To take care of database SQL performance, you need to tune your indexes and queries. A good way to identify problematic SQL queries and indexes is through wait time. To start optimizing and tuning your tables, look for inefficient steps, the number of affected rows, if there’s a primary key, and if the foreign key is indexed. Be mindful that while you optimize your query and table, it may be at the cost of another table or query.

SQL Cloud Monitoring

SQL Cloud Monitoring

Diagnosing SQL performance is still critical, even if your company has a cloud-first strategy. Moving databases or building new ones in the cloud could still present performance and design challenges while running on-premises. Overall wait time, the number of query executions, and latency are a few of the metrics that should be monitored and tuned to ensure optimal SQL performance. The elastic nature of cloud databases may be able to account for unexpected activity, but will come at the cost of your cloud bill.
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