I have a client with MS SQL Server instances (2000, 2005) scattered across 20-30 servers. I've been engaged to get things organized and will be periodically reviewing the state of the database infrastructure for health, testing backups, etc. We also plan to get as many of these databases up to 2008 as possible.

I'm aware of services like New Relic for Linux stack web apps and databases, and I stumbled onto the SQL Monitor product (RedGate) just today via Google. Can anyone provide some direction in terms of services or tools (that you have experience with) that would enable me/my client to monitor and manage their MS SQL instances?

  • 1
    You can see RedGate's SQL Monitor live in action here: monitor.red-gate.com/… This is the live demo of it monitoring the SQL servers that are used by SQLServerCentral.com site.
    – user507
    Aug 4 '11 at 20:25
  • Yep, I saw that and found it useful in understanding what the tool is capable of, although I didn't realize what servers it was monitoring. Aug 5 '11 at 17:40

You've got lots of options. The venders to look at that are SQL specific are:

Quest Software - Spotlight
Red Gate Software - SQL Monitor
Confio - Ignite
Idera - SQLdm
Microsoft - System Center Operations Manager
Microsoft - SQL Server 2005 Performance Dashboard
SentryONE - Performance Advisor
ApexSQL Monitor

They will all do the job nicely, it just really depends on which one works best for you in your shop. They all have free trials so you can try all of them and make an informed decision.

  • The main point about SCOM is that you can do MORE than SQL monitoring. Start there then move up to control the whole application stack.
    – TomTom
    Nov 26 '13 at 7:20

I've lost enthusiasm for Idera SQLdm, having used it at one client for several years. SQL Monitor is excellent considering the price. SQL Sentry is what I'd recommend to a client currently, if they have the budget.

If you've never heard of SQL Sentry, at the very least grab a free copy of Plan Explorer.


I have been using Redgate's SQL Monitor for many years. The price is great and it has many, many useful alerting capabilities. Plus data gathering and reports for metrics. It's a powerful system that I recommend you try.


The 3rd party tools for which I've got some experience:

  • Confio IgniteFree - very nice tool to monitor current and past 24 hours experience. Very useful for a first glance upon the server and see most obvious problems. It has a more detailed paid version, but haven't had the pleasure of working with it.

  • Idera SQLdm - only paid version, as I'm aware. Good for having very complete picture about the server's status at some point in time. Has configurable snapshots that show complete picture of the server at a specific point in time. Has also a nice set of already made reports, or a way of creating custom reports based on your needs. Can create custom alerts and reports. It's a bit heavy on the resource consuming side, so need to fiddle a bit with it before releasing upon a production instance.


I would take a look at DIAB from DBAinABox.com it's loaded with featurs monitors multiple servers, sends email alerts and very easy to use. It also has some some tools that I haven't found from the other vendors like online trace, example: you can click on any user,spid, or application and start a sql trace on the object. It also has SQL code check which I use a lot it can scan hundreds of lines of code at once and output problems in the script like table scans and mismatched column types. And it's pretty cheap last I looked.

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    Do you have direct experience using this product? Please disclose any affiliation you have with it. Jan 31 '12 at 21:52

Your request for monitoring, managing, & healthchecks across 20-30 servers fits very well with the tool I wrote - miniDBA. It will also enable you to performance tune & diagnose problems at individual database level.

A fixed price for as many monitored servers as you like should make it financially viable for you.

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