SQL Sentry Reviews

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Score 9.7 out of 101

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Reviews (1-25 of 87)

Kevin R. Zakoski profile photo
November 21, 2019

SentryOne Product Review

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
My team uses SentryOne to monitor our production SQL environment. They will use it as a first tool to verify system health when pulled into production issues. If SQL is determined to be the bottleneck in process, we'll use the information SentryOne provides to pinpoint the problem code and pass the information onto developers for fine tuning. In our development environment, our developers also have the client tools to monitor their processes. If we had licenses available for the Dev/Test servers, then we could fine tune them before releasing code to production. This is limited because we only have a few licenses to spare for Dev/Test.
  • It has an easy to use interface/dashboard; it doesn't require a lot training or reading to get information. Most of the key counters are on the main dashboard and the rest of the data you're looking for is usually just a tab away.
  • Historical information: By the time I get the call, the system is usually back to normal, so having the ability to look back in time and pinpoint when problems started is essential for us when determining the root cause of problems.
  • One tool: Not only can it determine what is causing the issue, SentryOne also captures the detail and plans for code being executed. It allow me to drill into the plans and get down to the nitty gritty code all within one interface. No need to buy additional tools or load into Management Studio to get more details.
  • Tuning advice: With all the graphs and data available, it's not always easy to determine the best thing to do. I'd like to see SentryOne provide some best practice analysis based on the historical information collected for the server being looked at.
  • They could add help tips or links to help documents, when you select a graph on the dashboard. Inexperienced users tend to put blinders on and focus on one thing when they see a high counter or something out of the ordinary. It would be very useful to include a link that provides underlying help. The link would provide an explanation of the counter in detail and offer possible explanations as to why the counter is off.
It has great out-of-the-box features that make it easy to install and get it up and running right away. However, fine tuning and customization of the solution, like setting up custom alerts and notifications, needs to be someones dedicated responsibility. Because of this, we don't necessarily have the time allocated to become true subject matter experts on the tool. What we get out of the box is usually going to be the norm.
We get hammered after quarterly releases and get inundated with performance calls asking what changed. Most think the DBA team is constantly changing configurations, etc. and must be the problem, because their test cases ran just fine. SentryOne has found numerous flaws in coding practices that they never looked at in Test and\or even tried running through the production workload. With evidence we provide from SentryOne, we're able to work in some temporary workarounds while the Dev team goes back to work to make a permanent fix.
Read Kevin R. Zakoski's full review
Timothy Ford profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

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.)
Let's get this straight: when it comes to performance analysis tools for SQL Server this is the only product I'd recommend. I've yet to see an scenario where SQL Sentry Performance Advisor was not appropriate. I've monitored physical and virtual servers, large and tiny instance. No issues across the board.
We had a situation with an internal development team that was laying blame on a performance issue with configuration of the SQL Server instance and were asking for an additional allocation of 64GB of RAM and 8 vCPUs to the VM. We were able to show in less than 5 minutes that the issue with performance instead lay with their internally-developed code running against a sub-standard third-party tool's database. We then were able to tune the query and take CPU consumption from 90%+ down to 40% at the peak.
Read Timothy Ford's full review
Richard Bober profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use the product to identify performance issues as they occur, with the goal of improving our processes and software to eliminate these issues going forward. We also use the product to monitor the health of our servers and to identify developing issues well before they actually make an impact on the environment.
  • Monitors running processes and reports when they exceed runtimes well beyond those that are considered normal.
  • Tracks resource utilization on the SQL Servers and makes recommendations on reconfigurations that would improve performance.
  • Tracks troublesome and long-running SQL queries and provides insights into improvements that could be made.
  • The user interface is intimidating, and not very friendly. You really have to study and work with the product in order to find what you're looking for.
  • The product is SO feature-rich that it is hard to get started simply.
  • The warning messages for various server conditions are great, but the "as shipped" values don't work very well with our environment, so there's a tremendous amount of setup necessary.
It's great for making sure your environment is performing well. I love the fact that I can monitor my entire SQL Server estate from 1 screen. However, the setup and customization to ensure your inbox doesn't get inundated with warning messages are tedious and time-consuming.
Most recently, we discovered that one of our nightly data warehouse load SQL scripts was causing a bottleneck in our overnight processing. By making the suggested improvements in the SQL code, it reduced the run-time of that function by 50%, and the resulting bottleneck elimination improved our overall nightly processing by over 10%.
Read Richard Bober's full review
Corey Carrender profile photo
November 18, 2019

SentryOne worked for us!

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Currently, the DBA team is the primary user of SQL Sentry. We use it for monitoring and performance tuning as well as mining the data for our own internal reporting. We have recently been rolling it out to other teams within Data Services (Data Engineers, Data Warehouse, etc.) and developers as well. The other groups use it for performance tuning and SQL Agent job reporting/history.
  • Historical Performance
  • VERY Customizable
  • Solid, Intuitive Interface
  • Excellent Customer Service and Prompt Assistance
  • Sometimes the UI can be cluttered. (Although SQL Sentry has worked with us to fix this)
As a DBA, SQL Sentry has been extremely suited for most scenarios where I would need a monitoring tool. The primary thing I use it for is alerting. The default alerts are beneficial, and you can make custom alerts for seemingly anything you can think of.

The only downfall I could think of is how it aggregates historical data, and you cannot get as granular with older data. However, I completely understand the need for this, and it may even be something that can be done, we just haven't asked them about it yet.
We have had several instances of the "Death by a thousand cuts scenario" where a query wasn't particularly costly, but it was running a ton of times. The Top SQL Sentey feature in SentryOne helped us find these issues where our old monitoring tools did not. They had Top SQL charts, but they did not group things properly and mainly sorted them by cost per run.
Read Corey Carrender's full review
Tim Hermann profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We are using it to monitor our SQL Server instance with customer data on it. It enables me to review the load on our server and also monitor high cost SQL Statements.
  • Capture costly SQL Statements
  • Alert the Database Administration Staff to deadlocks, blocking and other important issues
  • Able to provide management with performance statistics on the database and server
  • Some issues monitored to generate a health score I find to be misleading. One example would be % of free space when you have the data files set for autogrowth.
I believe SQL Sentry is well suited for any environment where you need to monitor performance for both the databases and the database server. I wouldn't think it would be neccessary in a development environment.
One of our customers was suffering from performance issues on a job that ran at the top of every hour. I was able to modify the code in the job to reduce the run time by over 90%.
Read Tim Hermann's full review
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Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is being used by our IT department to monitor our SQL Servers. It lets us know when there is a performance problem or if there are issues with certain batch jobs.
  • It gives real-time updates to performance issues.
  • It monitors batch jobs and lets you know when a job completion time falls out of the minimum/maximum range for that job.
  • Helps you identify the culprit when blocking or a deadlock is detected.
  • It is not easy to figure out disk activity problems when red marching ants point to a particular database.
  • It is not easy to analyze and re-assign licenses for SQL Monitoring vs. Windows Performance monitoring. It should be more intuitive and easier to transfer a license from a SQL Server or Windows machine that I know longer want to monitor.
  • It is not always easy to drill into the Health Score details and find the pertinent server, database, SQL object, etc.
It is well-suited for analyzing and identifying performance issues. It is also well-suited for monitoring failures for SQL jobs and performance issues resulting from blocking or deadlocks.
SQL Sentry helped identify a poorly written stored procedure that was re-reading the same data multiple times. Performance was increased by loading the data into a temp table and querying the temp table, instead of re-querying the data from the original tables.
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
I [use it to] watch for large usages of CPU and repetitive use of stored procedures and ad-hoc queries.
  • Identifies executions, CPU usage and waits of stored procs
  • Identifies waits, wait states within the monitored database(s)
  • Tracks blocked and what is blocking database activity
  • Identification of reports and report activity on SSRS servers
  • Identification of report jobs and subscriptions
  • Identify rights issues on objects
Very appropriate tool when applications appear to be dragging when many queries run without any perceptive issue
Illustrated the use of poor SELECT clauses out of our Entity Framework implementation
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Steve Lomicka profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use SQL Sentry to manage in-house production and development databases as well as production databases of our clients. SQL Sentry allows us to effectively, efficiently manage many databases in our high volume, highly transactional system. This tool allows us to help us keep our system running smoothly and proactively fend off possible problems, greatly reducing and even eliminating the dreaded "the system seems slow today" phone call.
  • Determine the root cause in seconds. Determining the root cause of SQL Server issues can be a time suck in a black hole. This tool eliminates that.
  • Historical Perspective. SQL Sentry provides an easy way to review performance intuitively over time.
  • Indexes. The Query Plan Explorer almost makes tuning indexes fun.
  • UI Response Time. At times the UI is sluggish. This somewhat understandable when you realize what the tool is doing. The 2-3 UI response is not an issue though when compared with the amount of time that it saves you troubleshooting.
There are a lot of choices in this area, a few leaders. The entire process from pre-sales, to sales, training and finally using S1 daily has been smooth. The combination of all aspects of the company and product leads to a "you can't go wrong with S1" recommendation.
Read Steve Lomicka's full review
Jim Rothe profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is used to identify issues with our custom SAAS solution for the education industry. It is used by IT to identify issues in our SQL environment and by the development team to find the root cause of SQL issues and correct and/or improve them.
  • Identify problem queries.
  • Identify root causes for bottlenecks.
  • Provide baseline and historical data for comparison.
  • Identifying index related issues.
I cannot think of any scenario where it would not be useful. It is very helpful in identifying where we can improve our code to improve performance and reliability.
We found that specific common queries were causing deadlocks which impacted both performance and usability of our application. We then worked with the development team to determine the cause and deploy a patch for our software which resulted in 70% improvement in response time from our application.
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Adrian Sullivan profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
We use SQL Sentry to provide an agreeable set of monitoring metrics and results which we use as part of our consulting toolset for MS SQL server.
It also forms the basis of our alerting and monitoring framework that we deploy for our clients.
  • Easy to implement
  • Great knowledge base
  • Excellent support
  • I'd like some customisable branding for reports
  • Having a customisable time allocation table to map alerts to an estimated, predefined chunk of time allotted to resolve the alert
SQL Sentry is amazing at getting information relating to the state of SQL servers. Alerts and issues are easy to consume as an action list.
When troubleshooting performance issues on a SQL server we exhausted our normal tuning methods. We turned to SQL Sentry and found from monitoring data that this server was seeing a very high amount of Context Switches.
This information pointed us to SQL server MAXDOP settings and VM CPU configuration issues.
We would not have been able to find this information easily without using SQL Sentry to find the root cause.
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Michael Abernathy profile photo
April 26, 2019

SQL Sentry

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We currently use SQL Sentry to monitor and alert on production SQL Server systems.
  • Easy to see everything on one screen
  • Awesome customer service
  • Alerting is confusing at first, but they are willing to help.
SQL Sentry is well suited for a SQL Server shop. We also use DB2 and the DB2 guys are very jealous over the SQL Server monitoring tools.
We use it all the time to find long running queries and index problems
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Chris Taylor profile photo
March 15, 2019

SQL Sentry Review

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Reseller
Review Source
I work as a consultant and this tool is used by my clients to monitor production (dev/test in some cases) servers. Monitoring and alerting (PA and EM) is used. Fragmentation manager etc., is handled via other scripts.
  • Easy to set up and navigate.
  • Provides some very important/useful metrics for performance monitoring.
  • Custom conditions is an excellent addition to the product.
  • I understand that the product requires a certain level of knowledge to interpret the results but I believe tooltips on certain areas could be useful for companies that do not have this knowledge but would like to have their systems monitored and reviewed.
I know virtualisation monitoring is available with future work in the pipeline but at present this is an area that I would like to see improved.
Slow system reported, review history of that time period and pick out the top SQL
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No photo available
April 17, 2019

Force Multiplier

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
As a Managed Service provider, SentryOne provides us with a key platform to monitor, diagnose issues and optimize performance for our customers. The platform provides the capability for services to be monitored 24/7 with in-depth, relevant information to be captured and reviewed for proactive and reactive cases, improving service delivery significantly.
  • Provides a fantastic review capability for historic data, collating data in a far more efficient, presentable way than you can with default tools. You know that if a customer experienced even the slightest performance dip overnight, you can review that to the finest detail later.
  • A highly customisable monitoring system, providing rock solid information which you can drill down to the smallest detail.
  • An outstanding Support Team, which continues to go above and beyond any expectations.
  • The perfect SQL Server monitoring platform.
  • Has the potential to make the business think they can replace DBAs with this fantastic product.
  • Windows Integrated Authentication for cross-domain monitoring (but you can monitor across domains, so this can be forgiven!).
A customer experiences a slow Analysis Services cube processing overnight from their Data Warehouse and wants to understand why this issue has occurred. SentryOne provides you the capability to see exactly what happened, with just as much detail as if you were sitting on the servers at 3:00am monitoring it directly. This applies for SQL Server, Windows, Azure, APS. Once you have experienced the product, you will realize you must have it.
A business intelligence application would intermittently take two to three times its normal duration to complete its processing run, causing significant business disruption. The workload was spread across multiple SQL instances and was a black box from a code perspective. SQL Sentry identified that the application was running multiple processing runs in parallel, but this wasn't visible from a customer perspective, as they only scheduled the run once.
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We specifically purchased SQL Sentry Performance Advisor out of the need to resolve performance issues on one of our SQL clusters. It was difficult to troubleshoot the issues after they had occurred and SQL Sentry allowed us to review the performance over a period of time and specifically go back to when an issue occurred to troubleshoot. We now use this for the majority of our SQL estate and specifically for IT Department only.
  • Historical analysis of performance counters - you can go back in time or over a range to see what was happening to the server
  • Review Top SQL and Blocking - You can see at a specific moment in time what queries are running and even review historical blocking.
  • Baselining - Ability to set your own baselines, so you can compare what is on screen to what you expect
  • Read only views - You can grant read only access to users, allowing us to grant support teams the ability to review the dashboards as well.
  • If a server is maxing out and unable to allow the service to record then you can get blackouts in the data. This is a risk of running as a service, but then you have bigger problems to deal with if that has occurred.
SQL Sentry can be utilised for both performance monitoring and alerting. It is good if you need to analyse performance issues whether in production or in development. Easily can export stats to send to vendors where applications are not performing well. And can setup alert thresholds that can send emails to support teams or write out to SCOM or the event log.
Fairly recently we had a performance issue with a SQL Server consuming 100% CPU, with the performance advisor we was able to pin point the specific queries that were a problem and advise the vendor. Which lead the vendor to make recommendations and changes to their tables and jobs. This resolved the performance issue.
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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SQL Sentry is one of my favorite tools. In a single dashboard I can see the state of most metrics I care about for daily operations and well being of the SQL instances. The most useful feature is having the ability to trace back performance issues, days and even weeks after they have occurred. You can establish a baseline and detect unusual activity in real-time.
  • Troubleshooting performance issues and bottlenecks.
  • Historical review of spikes and root causes.
  • Visualizations.
  • Better reports.
  • Customizing the dashboard.
  • Storing more historical data.
It's best for real-time and historical analysis of what is going on in your systems. However, since it's limited to 5000 sessions in some cases it won't fit certain systems.
Most times, the debate is usually between the DB people and the application people - who was responsible for the performance problems. E.g. was it a table being locked by SQL or was it an unresponsive application server that caused the session to hang and locks to appear. With SQL Sentry, this is easily solved.
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Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is being used to monitor performance and support troubleshooting issues in our SQL Server infrastructure. It provides thorough and more complete information than the native tools. We use it across the main SQL Server Farm by a team of 5 DBAs
  • Provides a real-time view of performance.
  • Provides comparison to historical performance baselines.
  • Has valuable reports for the executive summary.
  • Difficult to limit email alerting to only actionable events.
  • Drill down in the event calendar is difficult and can be confusing.
This product has value for medium to large SQL Server infrastructures. Smaller instantiations of less than 10 instances will derive value but not as much as those organizations with 10 or more servers to monitor. SQL Sentry's newer product (SQL Sentry Essentials) is the appropriate choice for these cases.
We were having a great deal of memory and CPU pressure on a critical business SQL Server and we were able to quickly trace the root cause to a poorly written SQL Server ad-hoc query. By showing the performance impact to the developer we were able to assist in having this functionality rewritten as a stored procedure and dramatically reduce resource consumption.
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Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Monitors five servers, many with production issues. The old environment had been very neglected until a DBA was hired. I am the DBA's backup.
  • Query Logging, for evaluating performance.
  • Network logging, for detecting network issues.
  • Query plan view is VERY nice. Better than MS-SQL's native query plan visualization.
  • Object browser isn't the most intuitive. the "All Targets" heading is fine, but its a little weird to have your servers underneath "Default Site". Perhaps there's functionality I'm missing, but I still think the default setting should be more clear. Perhaps rename it to "Servers".
Haven't nearly explored all that is possible with SQL Sentry, however it was essential to diagnosing an issue we had recently. A very fast query was running thousands of times, vs. just occasionally as in the prior release. This would have been near impossible to find without SQL Sentry logging this query. Also, the network activity dashboard was the first indication there was a problem, which was our first indication of the issue.
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April 30, 2019

SentryOne review

Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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We use it to monitor our critical SQL server cluster and it is currently just used by the DBAs. It allows us to monitor in real time but also allows us to better understand why problems had happened so we can prevent them from reoccurring.
  • Monitors IO at multiple levels such as Storage, OS & Database level.
  • Top SQL provides a lot detailed analysis which allows you optimise queries
  • Alerting when setup correctly allow you to fix issues before users are aware.
  • Temp DB is not monitored and needs to be
  • Improved notifications like push
IO waits were high and we didn't know why but using SentryOne we established IO performance on the storage was reduced which then helped us identify a problem with one of our storage controllers. Without SentryOne it would have been impossible to show the storage team evidence of the issue.
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Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
Performance Advisory allows you to quickly know what the overall performance of the servers looks like. From the dashboard you can deep dive right away to any specific area that may require attention. It contains the KPIS and data of almost all aspects of the SQL Server.
  • Excellent presentation of KPIs
  • Allows you to deep dive on counters with a click of a button
  • Lets you easily move from one time frame to another
  • To allow users to configure raw data retention before it is aggregated
  • Reporting
  • To use algorithms that alert when a relevant or critical KPI is behaving abnormally
I think it is well suited for all scenarios where an SQL Server is involved. Given the costs perhaps I wouldn't spend money paying for licensing on Development environments.
Correlating performance metrics is the key to resolving complex issues, and doing that without a resource that displays them in an organized manner is very hard. This tool has enabled us to identify and remove all kinds of issues, such as sources of blocking, deadlocks, storage bottlenecks, etc.
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Louis Fritz profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use SentryOne in our production (over 120 Instance worldwide and growing). It gives us an easy way to navigate the dashboard to quickly identify a performance problem and the ability to drill into the issue quickly and come up with a game plan to address the performance problem.
  • 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
It’s great for a DBA to have a tool like SentryOne. To be able to troubleshoot our production environment and come up with a root cause to a performance issue in very little time is awesome. Being able to drill into an instance and see what happened yesterday when a user walks up to our desk and tells us the instance was slow yesterday and they want to know what was going on.
One time we deployed a new feature to our product, and it was causing over 88,000 plus long running queries over 2 seconds (in a one-day period) and we found the root cause to the issue in minutes. It turns out it was a missing indexing. So, to have a tool like SentryOne to help us identify this issue was great, and resolving the client’s issue within minutes of the performance problem was amazing.
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Lars Rasmussen profile photo
November 23, 2018

SQL Sentry Review

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is being used to monitor SQL Server performance across our entire organization, providing trending, alerting, and helping us solve the "death by a thousand cuts" types of issues that are more of a challenge to pinpoint.
  • SQL Agent Jobs runtime trending and alerting - out of the box alerts runtime deviations send alerts.
  • Ad hoc trending against a previous week, day, or sampling period - pretty colors with ranges and averages to share with others.
  • Reporting against multiple counters - this is available to compare time periods as well.
  • I'd like to see a "Response Time" - measuring/tracking 'Select 1' out of the box instead of having to add a custom counter.
  • There is so much functionality in the product that we need additional training to more fully utilize it. For many DBAs this type granularity is preferred over simplicity - I'd rather have more options than too few in a monitoring product.
SQL Sentry is more suited to managing SQL Server performance issues in an enterprise environment. If you are a small shop it may not be the best fit due to cost.
During load testing we were able to quickly find the specific stored procedure that was causing the highest cumulative execution time in a specific time range using SQL Sentry.
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Dennis Squires profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We use SQL Sentry to monitor our production ERP databases. It allows easy tuning checkup, configurable emails to alert you to conditions that require attention, and offers insights into SQL that are difficult and time consuming to duplicate with SQL Management Studio.
  • 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.
Unless you really don't care about performance and reliability, I can't imagine a SQL environment which would not benefit from SQL Sentry.
We've had a few cases with unexpected blocking, but due to our ability to quickly narrow it to a specific time and specific SQL objects involved, we were able to determine the cause was not something developed inhouse, but a vendor customization. It was easy to duplicate with the info we had, so we were able to prove it to the vendor quickly and get them to warranty it rather than play the "he said, she said, ...." game.
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Mark Lessard profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is being used to monitor 260 SQL instances across or enterprise. We are in the process of integrating the alerting capabilities with SCOM via SNMP. Along with alerting SS greatly increase our efficiency in resolving ongoing and past performance issues. SS also provides a central repository for reporting at the enterprise and client level. We previously used a competitors tool for 7 years but moved to SQL Sentry due to the products inability to function in our environment and more so a lack of response to the issues we were experiencing by the vendor. Our experience with SQL Sentry support has been excellent to date.
  • 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.
I only see one scenario for this type of tool. I want all tools in this category to collect OS and SQL performance metrics over a time frame and present and or alert on them in a way that allows me to diagnose availability and performance issues on the servers. I need this information in real time and historically. I need to be able to report on this information at the micro and macro level. I need a tool that just works and a company that stands behind there tool. SQL Sentry meets these needs.

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.
A common experience is the SQL optimizer choosing to use a loop join on a large join. We see this even after stats update with full-scan on the associated tables. We have tried the optimizer trace flag.

Process.
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.


Read Mark Lessard's full review
Jun Tang profile photo
November 28, 2017

SentryOne Brief Review

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
We have been using SQL Sentry exclusively in our database department. Occasionally our technical leads join our analysis and troubleshooting sessions. We run screen shares in those sessions to solve application performance related issues. We have used SQL Sentry analyzing and researching long running SQL queries and deadlock issues, which have become major bottlenecks in our application development processes. The software has helped us address missing index issues and optimize query performances. In the past, we were also able to make a few important design decisions based on the analysis and statistics that were provided by SQL Sentry monitoring service. Decisions that include when and where to use application or database caching mechanism, as well as the benefit of implementing ad-hoc queries versus stored procedures. It has also helped our QA department to identify most key issues in our load tests.
  • 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.
SQL Sentry is well suited in a professional environment where experienced DBAs are available. It requires some learning curve to understand all the counters and measures before one can started troubleshooting SQL server issues. This product may not benefit companies that have only a few servers to manage. Larger companies should benefit more as the product is a huge time saver when DBAs have to manage a cluster of SQL servers.
One time during the application launch, we have discovered a site not responding due to heavy load on the web server. In New Relic we saw the application process that took a long time to respond but couldn't figure out the root cause. By looking into SQL sentry Top SQL tab, we immediately identified that a stored procedure that was designed to lookup information across database that had been timing out. We were able to address it immediately and prevented the site from shutting down.
Read Jun Tang's full review
Nick Buckley profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source
SQL Sentry is used currently on our live platform to mange SQL performance which makes debugging issues much easier. We are looking to also implement this into our test environments so we can see the effect caused by releases at a more granular level.
  • 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.
When we are getting techincal live issues on the website SQL Sentry is the first tool I use and the majority of times its the only thing I need to look at.
We were getting performance issues after a release which turned out to be indexes not covering new columns. We were able to see which procs caused the issues and the plans associated to them. We were able to quickly amend some indexes to cover the procs.
Read Nick Buckley's full review

Feature Scorecard Summary

Performance dashboard (87)
9.7
Intelligent alerting (83)
8.4
Top SQL (87)
9.8
Historical trend data (85)
9.3
Virtualization support (56)
9.3

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 Features

SQL Performance Monitoring Features
Has featurePerformance dashboard
Has featureIntelligent alerting
Has featureTop SQL
Has featureHistorical trend data
Has featureVirtualization support
Additional Features
Has featureQuery Plan Analysis
Has featureBlock and Deadlock Analysis
Has featureEvent Calendars
Has featureAdivsory Conditions
Has featureAlwaysOn Availability Groups Monitoring
Has featureIndex Analysis
Has featureStorage Forecasting

SQL Sentry Screenshots

SQL Sentry Videos (2)

SQL Sentry Integrations

SQL Sentry Competitors

Redgate, SolarWinds, Idera, Quest

Pricing

Has featureFree Trial Available?Yes
Has featureFree or Freemium Version Available?Yes
Has featurePremium Consulting/Integration Services Available?Yes
Entry-level set up fee?No
EditionPricing DetailsTerms
SQL Sentry$2,495per instance
SQL Sentry Annual Maintenance$499per year
SQL Sentry Subscription$125per month; billed annually
SQL Sentry Essentials$995per instance (up to 5 instances)
SQL Sentry Essentials Maintenance$199per year
SQL Sentry Essentials Subscription$50per month; billed annually
Plan Explorer (SQL Server Query Tuning)$0free

You can trial SQL Sentry Essentials for free at www.sentryone.com/essentials-trial , and SQL Sentry at my.sentryone.com/trial.

SQL Sentry Customer Size Distribution

Consumers
5%
Small Businesses (1-50 employees)
20%
Mid-Size Companies (51-500 employees)
50%
Enterprises (> 500 employees)
25%

SQL Sentry Support Options

 Free VersionPaid Version
Phone
Live Chat
Email
Forum/Community
FAQ/Knowledgebase
Social Media
Video Tutorials / Webinar

SQL Sentry Technical Details

Deployment Types:On-premise, SaaS
Operating Systems: Windows, Linux, Amazon RDS and EC2, Azure SQL DB Managed Instance
Mobile Application:No
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