Friday, June 6, 2014

SQL Server Monitoring Tools (Dashboards)

Now see here! Dashboards are awesome. I'm a person easily stimulated by visual input and a good dashboard is, in my opinion, the quickest way to get information into my brain.

Zion Control from Matrix Reloaded
What I really really want is an interface like Zion Control from the Matrix movies. I know, I know. We've wanted this kind of stuff for years -- all of us.

Honestly, though, we're getting pretty deep into the 21st century, aren't we?

So why do SQL Server monitoring interfaces suck so badly? Why do dashboards in general suck so badly? We are data scientists and the data visualization experts. All I want is an easily installable, easily customizable interface that I can hook up  to a data source and instantly have metrics and graphs and charts. It's not that much of a request.

Well, here's the reason, I think. Companies that do this kind of stuff make big big dollars charging for it. Companies like QlikView and what not. Microsoft is trying to get into that space with Power Query and Power Map and Power View, and those are amazing tools that I use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, we have to tie them to SharePoint and the administration and configuration of that is just a nightmare. It'll be at least another year before we have those bad boys installed here.

So in the meantime, I'm evaluating SQL Server Monitoring software. Ugh. It's bad. It's ugly. It's hard to customize. Yes, I know, I'm the DBA and I need to know all this stuff. Honestly, though. It all needs work. Why can't we have something clean and simple and easy like Dashing?

Anyway, in my opinion, the best visual monitors are Spotlight on SQL Server and Idera's Diagnostic Manager. I'm still running through the evaluations. I probably won't post a full write up since there have been so many written before. Here's a thorough write up of various SQL Server Monitoring Tools. Enjoy!

Update 2014.06.06: Here is a comprehensive list of SQL Server Monitoring Tools. It doesn't dive into the details of each product.

Update 2014.06.06: Here is another review of some SQL Server Monitoring Products. The article itself is not very interesting, rather the comments are what I found fascinating.

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