SolarWinds DPA is a constant companion making sense of database performance
Updated March 24, 2022

SolarWinds DPA is a constant companion making sense of database performance

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer

We use the alerts to prevent problems. We use the performance data to diagnose and fix problems. We use the dashboard and drill down to know where we are at/know if we're doing well. We monitor any spikes or dips in overall response time to try to understand why users are having the UX they are experiencing.
  • The product is great at visualizing the data you need for administration and performance tuning, making it understandable in seconds. A database like Oracle has AWR reports - many pages long, all text, hard to read. SQL Server has dynamic management views - good stuff but not so easily accessible. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) lays it out so it is quickly comprehensible and actionable.
  • DPA tells us what's really going on. Example: the developer says this stored procedure is running super slowly in this RDBMS but runs like lightning on this other one. They've tried to tune it to no avail. So we spend just a few minutes with DPA investigating the situation and we find that the stored proc is running fine. Instead, it is the application's attempt to access the metadata about the proc that is slow. This led to caching the metadata and now the 'slow' proc is running great! Without DPA it would have been a long time before we got to looking at the right code to tweak.
  • It's great that we can use the built-in alerts functionality to create custom alerts. The custom alerts can gather information for the databases we are monitoring or from the data DPA collects which go beyond the database and into other relevant pieces like the OS, storage and the network.
  • It's a great product - they do most things right. Maybe I'll say keep working on the UI so I can get to the info I need with even fewer clicks.
  • One feature a competitor of DPA has that looks useful is mapping out when jobs are run and being able to map that time-wise against when problems occur.
  • Preventing problems rather than reacting to them is priceless. Our level of customer service shot way up.
  • I'm sure that DPA played a part in this - the gruff head of Development chewed out my boss when he heard I was leaving the company to accept another opportunity elsewhere- 'How can you let the best DBA we've ever had go?' The level of service I could provide using SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer helped me be that excellent DBA.
Quest Spotlight had a 70-page installation manual - quite daunting. SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer, on the other hand, is pretty straightforward to install and use. I'm looking forward to exploring SQL Sentry but haven't gotten far into it yet.

Do you think SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer delivers good value for the price?


Are you happy with SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer's feature set?


Did SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer live up to sales and marketing promises?


Did implementation of SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer go as expected?


Would you buy SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer again?


The dashboard is great when you have dozens of instances you are administering. The free version used to be great for even tiny shops but was changed to crippledware. The history it keeps lets you diagnose a problem that happened yesterday or over the weekend or to see a pattern - does it happen at the same time every day or weekly on the same day of the week, etc.

Using SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer

  • The remote DBA and the sysadmin can look at the same screen and understand what is going on.
  • The remote DBA can share a screen with any developer to investigate the cause of a problem together.
  • We find the alerts, both built-in and custom alerts, quite valuable so we can fix things before they get out of hand.
  • And, of course, the classic - why is the system running so slow right now?
  • It helped to keep track of the SQL versions we were on and know which db servers needed to be replaced or upgraded.
  • If DPA would include Hyper-V and not just VMWare, in terms of showing how the VM is interacting with the Host, we would be monitoring that.
  • The custom alerts give you a sophisticated alert mechanism including thresholds, history, different groups to receive the alert depending on the threshold, that we should utilize it more. If you can come up with a good query that you want to track and be alerted about, that's 3/4 of the battle, and folks have contributed many such queries.

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer Implementation

Follow the guidelines for the capacity of the servers. We found that the DPA databases were getting rather large and also that there are ways to reduce their size built into some of the options.
Yes - We were able to install the product ourselves but phase 2 was to get some on-site training from the vendor and then really understand the product. The trainer suggested which of the built-in alerts would be of benefit and gave other insights.
Change management was a minor issue with the implementation - We thought that the product would be more widely used but it was mostly the DBA team that used it. We could show management screenshots, etc., but the folks who actually directly used the product was basically the DBA team and some server admins would make minor use of it. So we over-implemented not understanding who would actually use it.

Configuring SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer