Overall Satisfaction with SQL Sentry
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.)
The sheer amount of information, ability to tune almost all areas of alerting and thresholds, and the low impact of monitoring as well as transparency into how their monitoring processes may impact performance gives them the advantage over these others. In some cases their competition doesn't even provide Top SQL-type functionality which is a deal-breaker or they obscure their monitoring impact or simply provide incorrect information and recommendations.
Plus their support is the best I've ever experience from any product vendor I've dealt with. Plain and simple.
SolarWinds SQL Sentry Feature Ratings
Using SQL Sentry
- Performance troubleshooting
- Identifying root cause
- Historical benchmarks
Evaluating SQL Sentry and Competitors
- Product Features
- Prior Experience with the Product
- Vendor Reputation
- Existing Relationship with the Vendor