Monitoring a SQL server can be an arduous task if you are having to do all of the heavy lifting manually, hence the reason that so many dedicated monitoring tools are available to lighten the load significantly.
Of course with all of these tools to choose between, you may face decision paralysis. To cure you of this, here is a look at the most desirable features a monitoring tool needs to offer to be worthy of your attention.
It may not immediately be obvious, but SQL server performance tools that lack the ability to scale to accommodate your specific setup, or whatever this might evolve into in the future, are less than ideal.
Conversely those that do offer the flexibility to monitor a multitude of instances and also easily expand their pervue to encompass whatever changes and additions you might make further down the line, should be seen as superior.
Making sure that TempDB is behaving as it should do is important for any DBA working with SQL servers, and monitoring tools that can analyze and track how this particular asset is operating are obviously appealing.
This is relevant because issues with TempDB can be especially bad for overall server performance, so they need to be nipped in the bud as soon as possible.
Deadlocking is something which happens occasionally in a SQL environment, and the most severe cases can be a thorn in the side of an entire server.
Monitoring tools that not only alert you to deadlocks when they occur, but also scrutinize them to see what caused them and even suggest potential fixes and optimizations to try out, will be a boon for anyone who has faced this dilemma unaided in the past.
Databases rely on well-managed storage resources to meet the expectations of users, so it makes sense for storage monitoring to be factored into any tool that you deploy.
Of course the extent of the storage monitoring features will also vary depending on the tool you choose, and the best of the bunch will not only be able to track and analyze storage usage over time, but also generate visualizations so that this can be interpreted more easily, as well as forecasts so that you can plan server upgrades well in advance, rather than having your hand forced by necessity.
Interface accessibility & customization
One final yet still important element of SQL server monitoring tools to add to your checklist is the presence of browser-based access to the administrator interface. This will not only give you the ability to check alerts and make changes from any device, but also from any location.
Add customization into the mix, letting you adjust your dashboard according to the kind of layout that makes the most sense for your needs, and you should be able to spot which monitoring tools are at the top of the ladder and which are languishing far below. Whether you are using your server for running a website or powering any other digital service, monitoring should be a priority.