I'm seeking recommendations for free / open event monitoring tools. HPOV costs continue to multiply like so many wet gremlins, and we've had enough.

There are some interesting suggestions in this article and the subsequent comments, but before I set about trying many of these I'm sure you all have found a few that you like that may or may not be in this list. There is also this thread, but we're really shooting for a no-cost solution.

The primary requirements are:

  1. Perform a basic ping test
  2. Check the up-state of the SQL Server service.
  3. Send an email alert if 1 or 2 fail.
  4. Works as far back as Sql Server 2005 - present. (This is where PBM comes up a bit short)

Additional desired-not-required functionality would be:

  1. Ability to pass a synthetic transaction, which if failed triggers an alert.
  2. Ability to measure said transaction for duration, not just completion, and alert if a threshold is exceeded.
  3. Alert on other measurable (logged) events.

Thanks much for any recommendations!

Edit: Currently investigating SpiceWorks


4 Answers 4


Polymon from codeplex is ideal for my uses. I'm monitoring not just server availability, but sql agent jobs success, a host of perfmon data, SQL locking/blocking, db and filesystem freespace, and a whole lot more.

It has a very nice Powershell interface, so any Powershell script you can imagine, it will run on the schedule you specify and then alert/notify/take action as you direct.

It requires a SQL2005 or greater instance to hold its db, but it can monitor any version of SQL. (Using Powershell, I even have it monitoring CACHE on AIX.)

No cost besides having an available SQL 2005 server to host the db.


If you are looking for free why not try SQL Server Performance Dashboard? The link below is pretty detailed on how to set it up and get it running:


Like Shawn said though, there aren't that many free ones available but it is pretty easy to roll your own using SQL/CLR and SSRS. If it's a full integrated solution you want then I would recommend Idera's SQL Diagnostic Manager. It's not free but it is a fairly decent tool and provides all the information you want.

  • Ah yes the old perf dashboard. I loved that thing. It won't meet the goal of alerting, but thank you for suggesting it. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 16:17
  • Idera actually just recently released a free tool called SQL Check that's more or less a very striped down and basic version of their SQL Diagnostic Manager tool. Commented Aug 18, 2012 at 6:39

Well if you are wanting pretty charts and all, there are not to many free ones that I know of that will automagically do all that you ask.

In regards to PBM (Policy Based Management), you can run checks against SQL 2000, 2005, and 20008 instances. So I am not sure where it comes up short for you.

With your primary requirements, most of that could be done with a simple PowerShell script that is run from one central server. I am sure a Google/Bing search on "sql monitor scripts" will come up with a load of things to look through. The desired items, however possible, might require a bit more time and effort to script those but is possible.

  • Thank you for the response. Pretty charts are optional, alerting is the key, and the link I posted had 10 suggestions but I haven't tried them yet. PBM: You can't install a policy to an 05 instance. No install, no schedule, no alert. You can check an 05 instance in real time via PBM, but the goal is unattended monitoring / alerting. Re: Powershell, we'd pref a wrapped solution over monitoring scripts. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 4:50
  • You would have to have a SQL 2008 instance up to use PBM. It does allow for scheduled unattended checks, whether you can do them against multiple servers I don't know, that may require using CMS. I have not worked with PBM to that level.
    – user507
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 17:00
  • Yes 2008 that's correct, but you can't schedule against 05 instances, you can only evaluate a policy in real time. I am using CMS as well. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 17:34
  • There are ways around that restriction: blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlpbm/archive/2008/06/14/…
    – user507
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 20:16

After exploring numerous possibilities, I've found a solution that meets all the requirements and more: Spiceworks

  1. Spiceworks is free.

  2. Spiceworks is an agentless solution. Nothing has to be loaded on the scanned instance.

  3. Spiceworks can send email alerts based on numerous conditions.

  4. Spiceworks can monitor logical volume capacity.

  5. SpiceWorks is extensible and supports open development.

I want to add that the support (also free) is fantastic.

  • (from the vendor's website) SpiceWorks is Ad supported I'd rather not install spamware on my network to monitor anything, thanks very much!
    – user28632
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 12:47
  • My implementation of this product has saved my company tens of thousands of dollars. I can handle them trying to sell me blade servers in the side of the interface... Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 16:29

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