- Alerting is very flexible and configurable to our needs
- Linking alerting into third party alerting tools via PowerShell was easy
- Collecting and rolling up SQL statements make it much easier to troubleshoot performance problems
- Drilling into PLE and what’s happening when it drops out
- Ease of drilling into time-frame to figure out what was the issue at that time
- Being able to query the SentryOne database for management reports is awesome (Deadlocks and Blocking)
- Navigation could be improved. It can be hard to follow if you are new to the tool
- Calendar of events could use some work. Display can be confusing at times
- Alerts me quickly to SQL Blocking and record locks via email, providing offending SQL and users involved.
- Provides an easy to monitor performance index and common issues that affect it.
- Alerts me to missed tasks, malfunctioning tasks, etc., via email. Really comes in handy when doing MS/Windows updates as I know exactly what was missed when the server was involved in the updates.
- Don't fix too much, it works very well as delivered. Changes made for the sake of change often make a great product into a good product.
- Tech support is great and easy to get to, but a little more development on the help screens in the product could save you some work.
- I'd like to see licensing modified to allow you to monitor one production environment and one test environment. That would be tricky from your perspective, but you are a crafty lot and I'm thinking you could come up with a way to tell if I was monitoring duplicate databases or two entirely different data environments.
- Repeat, do not change too much, this product is great and a good value.
- Collecting and rolling up SQL statements with the associated plan. The ability to see aggregate and individual execution of SQL statements along with the associated plan is key in rapid diagnosis of bad plans. Bad plans are the most common performance issue we see in the big data environment.
- The ability to drill into disk IO. Being able to easily see IO per a file can help identify issues with slow / stressed storage and or poorly distributed tables.
- Easily focus on time-frame. Being able to click and drag to select a time frame to analyze from a prior time frame keeps maintains the flow of troubleshooting.
- Alerting is inherited and highly configurable.
- The collection can be distributed over multiple servers allowing scaling out horizontally and fault tolerance.
- AD roles can be used in configuring access to the subsets of the servers being monitored. Access can be configured such that adding a user to an Active Directory role will provide access to just the servers then need to see. This works very well for our client specific operations.
- The presentation of SQL server waits needs work. A large value on a throw away wait like cxpacket will change the scale such that an important wait like sos_schedular _yield is not readable. I have been told this is being addressed in the next release.
- Installation of the client requires sysadmin access on the repository server for the initial install. Once the install is complete sysadmin can be removed.
- There is a web interface but this does not have much of the functionality yet.
- I have not found a way to view page splits over time.
The only scenario I see were SQL Sentry would not work is were purchase cost of the product is weighted very heavily as opposed to all other factors.
Find the SQL statement in Top SQL
Look at the historical run times/plans grid. Notice run time and color of dot. High run-time and different color, you have a bad plan.
Open the plan to review operators
Add hash join query option or join hints. I know this is not best practices according to MS, but the trade-offs in our OLAP environment make it the best choice.
- Top running SQL - gives statistical information about long running queries as well the ability to customize filters.
- Deadlock - provides detailed graphical analysis on deadlock chains and involving parties. It is very intuitive and easy to pin point the cause of deadlocks.
- Baseline tuning - provides both sampling and historical trending information on SQL servers as well as detailed statistical information about resources utilization.
- Calendar of events - a centralized place for reviewing SQL agent jobs.
- Condition list - set of conditions that can be customized for business requirements.
- It would be nice if the reports can be interactive like drill down, clickable content, etc.
- Navigation could improve and become more intuitive.
- Calendar of events could also improve - wish the date and time range could be specified instead of just by day or interval.
- Easy and simple use of the performance dashboard to see issues straight away.
- TOP SQL viewer to see current blocking and long running queries.
- HADR graph to see if there are any latency between primary and secondaries.
- All changes are addressed by sentryone and in the past we have had these added into a new version.
- It allowed me to drill into the memory being used by the different NUMA nodes very easily, the old tool did not.
- The default view shows Memory Grants Pending and that's an extremely useful item of information, better than PLE in my opinion.
- It's very easy to customize the alerts and create custom ones.
- I would like to see a better default screen that shows the high-level status of all monitored instances in a single view. What is there isn't good enough as the color coding can be hard to see.
- Professional graphical interface.
- Zoom into deep dive into issues.
- Ability to create a baseline and generate alerts on baseline deviation.
- Check historical information on specific SQL
- Give overall advice post installation on tools on low hanging fruits which can be fixed right away
- The unique offering is the graphical chaining of jobs. This is especially important when the job chain spans servers.
- The graphs in the dashboard gives easy to follow and quick information as to the status of the database system.
- The timeline of the job execution has been handy when seeing how long a job has executed or when a scheduled job could cause conflicts.
- I wish there was a better way to determine what queries are running at a given time. This could be a resource problem, but I found myself going to profiler a lot.
- Configuration of alerts is not intuitive. I want to create an alert for low disk space, but the interface was too obtuse.
- Navigation is also not intuitive. You have to fumble around the tree structure to get to things like the job timeline.
- Easy to setup in a Microsoft shop that depends on Active Directory
- Alerting cover a range of issues
- Detailed trace information can be retrieved and stored on demand
- Records blocking and deadlock events
- Records disk contention over time
- Records disk utilization over time
- The disk utilization overview does not seem to accurately display volumes created using a software RAID
- It is difficult to determine what isolation level was used for a query.
- The deadlock and blocking queries tab does not record transaction isolation level either. This would help since knowing the transaction isolation level for a query would help us choose a more appropriate isolation level for the blocking transactions.
- Monitor many internal SQL Server metrics that can help provide early warning about potential issues.
- Graphing of all metrics over configurable time frames with a comparable baseline for the same time frame. The baseline feature is really helpful for understanding how metrics have changed against what is "normal". The baseline is configurable so you can use yesterday, or the same day last week, or a statistically generated baseline. The workload on our application databases varies greatly between business hours and non-business hours so the baseline feature comparing to same day of the week from the previous week is helpful.
- Top consuming queries - SQL Sentry captures the top consuming queries. This helps to identify which database and which function within a database is consuming the most CPU or Disk i/o.
- Query Plans - when SQL Sentry captures a top consuming query - it captures its associated Query Plan. This is very helpful for figuring out why a query is consuming so many resources.
- SQL Sentry is a stand alone solution. There is no direct correlation between SQL Sentry events and application exception events or web server events. All correlation has to be done manually. This isn't really a problem directly with SQL Sentry - but is more the nature of using a stand alone solution like SQL Sentry.
- Using SQL Sentry for reporting can be slow. SQL Sentry is gathering a lot of data. All of that data is written into a SQL database. Reporting pulls from the same SQL Database. If pulling data for a long time range the resulting report can take a long time to load.
- Data Aggregation over time - When you run a report on a specific time range you have very detailed data available. When you run a report over a longer time range the data is aggregated together and specific anomalies get watered down. For example if you run a report over a 10 minute period you will see data at ~1 sec granularity. This makes it really clear where there was a spike in activity. If you run a report over a 24 hour period you will only see general trends. The data is at about 5 min granularity. So there may be a time period where you see a slight rise. You have to zoom in on that specific time frame to see more granular data. As a pro - SQL Sentry makes the process of zooming in and out on different time ranges very easy.
- Alerting features are a must, it takes a little while to tune them to your system but once you have them, they will save you and your team countless hours of recovery / server maintenance as you can stop the issue before it even becomes one.
- Performance Manager is great to understand not only how your server is performing now but also any time in the past. We utilise this to drill into any unusual activity with ease due to the UI being so intuitive and self explanatory. Again a massive time saver
- The cloud based reporting is very useful for a quick health check when you are not near your laptop.
- The event manager can really cluttered when using it on a business intelligence server with jobs running throughout the day. It would be great to see this in a different visualisation that could really help you spot the key hot spots, possibly create an impact metric that displays the jobs size depending on how much resource the job took to complete.
- I can see global view of all my monitored servers on single screen with CPU, Memory, Disk & network usages based on last sample or even historical for upto 3 days. Also if there is an area of concerns Performance Advisor will highlighted that server with red or orange depending upon the condition or level of concerns.
- Blocking and deadlock situations are clearly visible which gives insight to resolve conflicts.
- Disk Activity section provides clear visibility of each and every data files (.MDF, .LDF & .NDF) with the level of activity (Read & Write operations) which is very helpful for us for our OLTP environment to monitor and keep a watch on response from storage system.
- Alert system is good.
- I believe SQL Sentry has good alert mechanism but still I see a room for improvement, for example recently we tried to change subject line of specific type of alerts (for example server offline, or high CPU utilization etc.) to make it more meaningful for our organization and we had hard time doing this.
- Reports need some improvement, reports are good but I believe few summary report need to be added which reflects overall performance of the environment. For example downtime report is available which serves the purpose of availability but having similar reports to reflect high level performance reporting would be helpful.
- In the global view under the disk section ms/IO shows the values based on the sample and changes the color from depending upon threshold which is a good feature. Also, upon right click it allows to generate quick report which again shows time & value for ms/IO. So, it would be a great feature if SQL Sentry can add a functionality to show which particular LUN(s) is responding slowly.
- It captures all relevant information about captured queries, from physical metrics to row counts. It packs all the information we need to analyse our database performance.
- It provides a great graphic user's interface to have quick understanding of what is going in the environment, and gives facility to check historical values for the metric in question.
- It could be improved on the way how the SQL Sentry database is managed, for example archiving old data, and also could have SQL agent jobs to do regular maintenance jobs to make it perform better.
- Also it might be an good idea to have a web interface.
- It would be good to be able to configure what kinds of queries to capture in each server instance.
- Monitors long running queries and alerts on them.
- Provides context for the poorly performing query such as the user running the query, start and end times, number of reads and writes the query or queries has performed.
- Reporting on SQL server top poorly performing queries and provides context to be able to determine why the queries are having such poor performance.
- Provide an interface to perform ad-hoc queries of the data in the SQL Sentry database or a way to export the data for more detailed analysis.
- More detail in the online and local help. More examples that address 'real world' issues.
- Actionable - Lots of other utilities provide 'pretty' dashboards that do not provide much meaning. PA gives you a dashboard that presents vital performance statistics, and anything unusual jump out at you and help you refine how you approach that server.
- Reporting - The built-in reporting provide much better depth in performance trending than others.
- Performance reviews - The dashboard provides all of the necessary items needed to properly and efficiently review a system for any new issues.
- Virtualization metric overlay - The utility now provides a great overview of the virtualization host-level performance metrics and how it impacts the VM's performance.
- The UI is not the most intuitive at first and presents a learning curve to overcome, but once you know the interface these challenges go away.
- The server running PA can get very busy when monitoring large quantities of servers (100+) but this is a matter of architecture with the deployment of the tool.
SQL Sentry Review: "It's not Just a Good Choice. It's the Only Complete SQL Performance Analysis Tool Out There"
We are currently in the evaluation stage of purchasing SQL Sentry Performance Advisor but in my previous role and as a Technology Consultant I've been responsible for installing, configuring, and using SQL Sentry Performance Advisor at multiple companies to the tune of 150+ seats. I'd advocated for years to size up our install base from 15 seats to over 120 at my last company and eventually succeeded in funding with management please over the results.
There, as well as in other companies I consulted for, I used SQL Sentry Performance Advisor to not only identify issues arising on our SQL servers but most importantly to be able to drill into find out the specific commands that are (and were) causing the pain while we all slept at night. There is nothing more important in troubleshooting performance than knowing the specific commands that underlay points in time when performance degrades. The tool is complex in the data available to the end user but simple enough to set up out of the box and the reports it provides to users across all tiers of management has saved many phone calls and stressful conversations.
- Identifying statements causing performance issues: I've never seen any other tool work as good, or provide as much information, as their "Top SQL" tab in SQL Sentry Performance Advisor and I'm quite familiar with all the major players in the SQL Server tools space. You're able to drill into the statements in each of these commands and display (graphically or tabular) what the associated execution plan looked at as well as the IO/Memory/CPU cost for those statements.
- The Dashboard view give you all you need to see in one shot at the SQL Server instance level: CPU, Memory, IO, Network load... it's all there. Then there is the Default Site overview of all alerts, exceeded thresholds, and current status of these same data points for all monitored instances you can see with a single glance.
- Integration with their one-of-a-kind Plan Explorer product: Plan Explorer blows away anything else out there - and there is not much outside of the Microsoft-supplied tools - for graphical query plan analysis.
- There is a great deal of metadata collected and provided to the end user client tool. I've seen issues with responsiveness inside a VPN as a result. This may be an issue with the VPNs itself but I've seen this with at least 50% of the VPNs I've used their tools through.
- Unless you have a DBA on staff, configuration may be a bit difficult as there are a large number of settings to dial in. That being said I've never heard of anyone not getting assistance quickly in regards to customer support and I know from experience for certain sized installs and larger they'll even come on site for training and configuration assistance (either in person or remote.)
- Easy to interpret interface.
- Allows for performance bottlenecks to be quickly identified.
- Low footprint.
- Brings important parameters and variables together on one screen which is helpful.
- To get SQL Sentry to work properly one needs a reasonable understanding of Microsoft tokens and counters. Including something to hand hold and guide inexperienced users for a typical set up would be good.
- A more accessible guide to tokens and counters and what they mean (smart help manual) - would be useful.
Would it be possible to provide some way to point at remote servers with appropriate corporate hand shaking? We install our software with several clients, and it would be good if we could get through an approval process to point at their environment for intermittent ad-hoc problem solving issues. Continuous monitoring would not be needed, but monitoring whilst doing some observed tests - e.g. running specific sprocs on a specific dataset [would be good].
- The performance dashboard presentation gives a quick overview of the health of the SQL Instance.
- Sentry products also include the Server OS performance metrics.
- The problematic SQL code 'jumps' out when zooming in on a dashboard.
- It seems to show only 3 weeks of data. Perhaps I'm not quite familiar YET with all the features.
- Having it as an APP on the iPhone would be nice.
Review: "SQL Sentry Performance Advisor, Just Great when you have some issues with your SQL Server."
- Great overview of the performance part
- Great for searching when deadlocks have occurred
- The dashboard contains the required information to check on how a server is performing.
- Reports are very good. We use them to report to upper management.
- How simple it is to use it.
- Alerting is amazing.
- Expand to other platforms, such as Oracle.
- Quickly drill down from Top SQL to query plan and dashboard to evaluate performance and bottlenecks.
- Demonstrated for me that several of the SQL Servers were over allocated in resources. I used it to tune the right amount of cores and memory.
- Alerts, alerts, and more alerts. A level of notification and communication I would not have without the tool.
- It has a lot functionality, the learning curve is pretty large. I would like to see more videos with more detail.
- The SQL Sentry Performance Advisor Dashboard can come in one of the top five features as it represents all required basic resources such as Network, CPU, System Memory and DISK I/Os from a Windows perspective and SQL Server Activity, SQL Waits, SQL Memory and Database I/O's from SQL Server prospect. As the word represents ‘dashboard', it also helps me to dive deeper to investigate in a specific time window to find which activities were occurring at a given point in time.
- Another good feature of SQL Sentry Performance Advisor is monitoring the top SQL of your monitoring application, and since one can customize the monitoring options based on the application severity it is easy to monitor the application. SQL Sentry Performance Advisor has helped us identify a significant performance threat.
- SQL Sentry Performance Advisor also notifies of blocking SQL and deadlocks with a proper description of occurrence and also provides detailed information to rectify and resolve any such issue.
- We have faced quite a few difficulties monitoring SQL Servers externally. In other words it is difficult to monitor SQL Servers from a different network or SQL Servers which are hosted in cloud. There are also some issues with the consistency of connectivity when monitoring SQL Servers residing in Cloud.
SQL Sentry Scorecard Summary
Feature Scorecard Summary
About SQL Sentry
SQL Sentry is designed to simplify performance tuning by visualizing where problems exist for faster resolution. This solution aims to help users streamline their defragmentation process and query tuning all in one place.
The vendor says they have combined all SQL Sentry tools into a single unified solution to help users monitor and optimize the Microsoft data platform.
According to the vendor, this solution includes everything for: SQL Server and Windows Performance Monitoring, Event Management, Index Defragmentation and Query Plan Analysis, with Desktop, Web, and Mobile UIs.
SQL Sentry Screenshots
SQL Sentry Integrations
SQL Sentry Competitors
|SQL Sentry for SQL Server License||$2,495||per instance|
|SQL Sentry for SQL Server Subscription||$150||per month|
SQL Sentry Customer Size Distribution
|Small Businesses (1-50 employees)||20%|
|Mid-Size Companies (51-500 employees)||50%|
|Enterprises (> 500 employees)||25%|
SQL Sentry Support Options
|Free Version||Paid Version|
|Video Tutorials / Webinar|
SQL Sentry Technical Details
|Deployment Types:||On-premise, SaaS|
|Supported Countries:||United States, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland|
|Supported Languages: ||English|