The better your SQL database performs, the more effectively it will fulfill its purpose of providing information to the apps and services that rely upon it to function.
Optimizing database performance is an ongoing task and one which relies not only on the skill and experience of the administrator but also the assistance of a number of impactful tools that they can work with to achieve their aims.
Here is a look at the best tools that are available today, as well as a quick introduction to what an SQL database actually is for the uninitiated.
While the underpinnings and implications of a typical SQL database may be complex, the core principles are simple. It is simply a system for storing data and then making it accessible to apps whenever requests are received, based on structured query language.
These apps might run locally, or operate remotely, but in either instance, the role of this type of database remains the same.
Another thing to remember about SQL databases is that they can scale to account for a wide variety of workloads, encompassing a handful of users or thousands.
One advantage of this type of database solution is that it can be tinkered with by administrators in order to enhance performance, create unique approaches to data retrieval and generally allow for a range of bespoke tweaks.
Anyone hoping to become a database administrator will need to learn how to master the use of all these features, while also falling back upon the following tools for assistance and support.
Providing excellent SQL server monitoring capabilities, this service lets you keep tabs on how your database performs over time, highlighting issues that may exist and giving you the power to tackle them efficiently.
From tracking data usage to presenting performance metrics in a way that will not leave you scratching your head, SentryOne Monitor and its counterpart SQL Sentry do a solid job of allowing for all-round improvements to database management, whether you are relying on local hardware or leveraging a cloud-powered package.
Red-Gate SQL Monitor
Like many of the other tools on the market, this one aims to alert you to any inconsistencies in performance and more importantly guide you to the cause of any conflicts or slowdown with minimal fuss.
It can help you watch over everything from the hardware resources that your database has at its disposal to the query errors and other issues that can crop up unexpectedly.
One perk of Red-Gate’s software is that it lets you adjust the alerts you receive according to the particular level you want to target, whether that might be the entire database or just a single server, although this, of course, depends on the scope of your setup.
As well as working with SQL databases, this tool is also built to accommodate a number of other solutions, including those built for cloud ecosystems.
Because it is intended to provide remote monitoring for servers, rather than needing to be installed directly to the server hardware itself, it is one of the more flexible and accessible options out there. So long as you have an internet connection and a web browser, you can use any device to check in on database performance, no matter where you are.
When it comes to tracking down the things which may be bottlenecking your database, this particular tool is amongst the best in circulation. It puts a particular emphasis on analyzing the amount of time it takes for databases to respond to queries made and uses this to deliver precise, actionable info to administrators that avoids the need for trial and error when optimizing.
The interface is user-friendly and it presents relevant alerts in a way that helps you to prioritize your responses in the most logical way. Reviewing historical data is also straightforward, letting you see how trends change over time.
Offering a host of different SQL database management and performance analysis tools already found in a lot of the services covered so far, one of the things which helps the diagnostics manager from Idera to stand out from the crowd is the availability of a standalone mobile app.
While it also has a browser-based interface available, the fact that there is a custom app for popular mobile operating systems could be a selling point for some users, especially those who tend to be on the move for most of their working day.
SQL Power Tools
While this software can put you in touch with up to date performance metrics that govern all aspects of your SQL database, it does so without also being a resource hog in its own right.
This super-lightweight approach could be important, especially if you are eager to eliminate all possible unnecessary processes and streamline your server so that its key functions are not burdened unnecessarily.
Paessler PRTG Network Monitor
If you would like to bundle the monitoring of SQL database performance with other aspects useful for optimization and maintenance, such as tracking network activity and looking for weaknesses in real-time, this is a well-made tool to do all of that and more.
It is more affordable than some of its counterparts and lacks certain features to accommodate this lower cost, but it should still be able to provide effective functionalities for administrators who are well versed in database management and the serious costs of unplanned downtime.
Lepide SQL Server Auditing
Boasting a mobile app and a suite of monitoring tools that speed up the process of working out why SQL database performance is not behaving as expected, there is a lot to recommend about this auditing solution from Lepide. Its dashboard is especially intuitive, with information expressed in a clear way. It is also a good weapon in the war on cybercrime since it can help detect suspicious activity and alert you if action needs to be taken. This is very worthwhile given how disastrous breaches can be for small businesses.