Your Resolution This Year: Get A Monitoring Tool That Helps

Yes We Have No Bananas

I speak with a lot of people who have SQL Server performance problems. Sometimes they’re constant, sometimes they’re obvious, and sometimes they’re intermittent.

Constant and obvious problems are easy to observe, though not necessarily easy to resolve without experience. Still, they’re a bit less frustrating, because at least you’ve got some idea what’s going on. It’s those intermittent problems that can be a real pain.

SQL Server is very catch-me-if-you-can when it comes to most issues. I’ve talked about this before I’m sure, but if you’re not hitting F5 at in the right place at the right time, you could totally miss what happened when you had a problem, and very there’s no time sliced data collection (except in query store) that can help with any reliability.

Not wait stats, not perfmon, not index usage. The plan cacheĀ can be okay, but is often unreliable, and has many blind spots.

Whatcha Got?

The people I talk to generally fall into two groups:

  • We don’t have a monitoring tool at all
  • We have one, but we can’t figure anything out with it

If you don’t have one, Sentry One is a good place to start. It’s not perfect, but I tend to have good luck with it.

If you do have one, make the most of it. Have a sales tech give you some training. That’s part of what you pay for. Take it a step further: tell them about the kind of problems you have, and ask them to show you how to find them using their monitoring tool. If they can’t do that, it might be time to shop around for one that can.

Old Block

This isn’t just for you, either. This request is sort of selfish.

Let’s say you call someone like me in to look at your server. If you’ve got intermittent issues, it’s a whole lot easier to show me what was happening in the monitoring tool the last time you had an issue than to try to explain to me what happened. It’s a lot less annoying than hoping it happens again while we’re looking at the server together, or trying to recreate it.

Thanks for reading!

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