Savvy IT professionals understand the value of powerful database performance monitoring solutions. From smaller organizations operating a handful of applications to large enterprises managing complex, global database estates, the business need is clear. Timely access to data is critically important to many business operations, and database performance monitoring helps IT teams ensure that happens around the clock.
An investment in a high-quality database monitoring solution today — one that allows you to find and fix database performance issues quickly — can help save you money by increasing database infrastructure cost efficiency and minimizing database-related interruptions in business systems that generate revenue and raise productivity.
But not all database monitoring solutions are built the same. That’s why we’re highlighting two of the leading database monitoring solutions you can find on the market: SolarWinds® SQL Sentry® and Redgate SQL Monitor.
SolarWinds SQL Sentry
SolarWinds SQL Sentry is a robust database performance monitoring solution designed for the Microsoft Data Platform. With full visibility across the entire Microsoft data estate (including SQL Server, Azure SQL, and Amazon RDS SQL Server databases), reliable scalability, and fast root cause analysis, users can help ensure their environment is operating at optimized levels.
SQL Sentry is very popular with SQL Server users. SQL Server users have voted SQL Sentry the top SQL Server performance monitoring tool on TrustRadius for each of the past four years.
SolarWinds SQL Sentry makes it easy to:
- Quickly diagnose and optimize high-impact queries
- Pinpoint problems that surface in the virtual and OS environment
- Evaluate and tune index utilization
- Identify the cause of deadlocks and other blocking behavior
- Leverage predictive analytics to forecast storage capacity
- Take action in response to an advanced alerting system
- Observe the birds-eye-view of database environment health
- Efficiently manage resources and schedule events within an Outlook-style calendar
SolarWinds SQL Sentry helps companies keep business-critical database systems running smoothly. Businesses can benefit from SQL Sentry’s host of features, which are focused on maximizing uptime, sustaining database performance, and improving reliability.
The bottom line is that SQL Sentry equips users with the valuable health insights you need to quickly pinpoint and resolve SQL performance problems. Rather than playing on the backfoot and wasting time putting out fires, SQL Sentry helps you capably monitor, diagnose, and optimize your entire data estate with cutting-edge tools and actionable, accurate performance metrics that move the needle.
Redgate SQL Monitor
With capabilities that enable you to monitor your SQL Server environment, Redgate SQL Monitor is another solution that is designed to save you money and make your life easier. By capitalizing on Redgate SQL Monitor, you can cut down your daily database and server checks to a matter of minutes.
Like SolarWinds SQL Sentry, Redgate SQL Monitor also allows you to manage your SQL Server estate and efficiently monitor instances. Alerting, customizable dashboards, and advanced performance metrics help you snuff out potential issues before your users notice.
With subscription plans based on server count, you can take advantage of Redgate SQL Monitor capabilities, which include:
- Database performance dashboard
- Pre-defined and customizable alerting
- Overviews of installed patches and versions
- Query performance diagnostic reporting
- Disk usage statistics
- SQL Server licensing
- Data on backups and SQL Agent job status,
As your database estate expands over time, you can add servers in bulk, as needed, or automatically discover them through Redgate’s API.
To get started with Redgate SQL Monitor, you can try it for free here.
Redgate SQL Monitor vs SolarWinds SQL Sentry Selected Features Comparison
Query Performance Optimization
A comparison of SQL Sentry vs. SQL Monitor reveals that both are designed to fix long-standing deadlocks and optimize query performance tuning. But dig a little deeper into the Redgate SQL Monitor vs. SQL Sentry debate, and you’ll notice a difference in problem-solving approaches.
From origination to completion, both Redgate and SQL Sentry compile key details on all running or finished server queries. Redgate analyzes query performance details on delays caused by resource waits, the query plan, as well as T-SQL text. As Redgate SQL Monitor collects more and more data, it can identify trends (with increasing accuracy over time) that can bolster performance levels.
With SolarWinds SQL Sentry, users similarly tap into Top SQL to get to the bottom of the root causes that might be responsible for poorly performing queries. And with seamless, native integration into Plan Explorer, SQL Sentry users can leverage an array of comprehensive query analysis tools with the click of a few buttons.
In SQL Sentry, query plan diagrams, plan recosting stats, deadlock/blocking visualizations, and insightful index utilization reports on high-impact SQL Server queries analysis are presented in an intuitive display to keep you one step ahead of potential database performance problems. Collected query performance metrics are processed for use across the platform and presented for analysis, optimization, and tuning.
Part of the beauty of SQL Sentry stems from its troubleshooting sequencing. SolarWinds SQL query performance analysis and tuning is purposefully designed to unlock performance gains with the greatest degree of efficiency. SolarWinds Top SQL tuning stands out from Redgate SQL Monitor because it quickly isolates the highest-impact queries and tackles the 20% of your bandwidth that uses up the most resources. As soon as the highest impact queries have been properly attended to, Top SQL then automatically identifies the next set of queries that are most resource-intensive and of the highest impact to tune.
SQL Sentry’s historical insights on CPU consumption, query duration, the number of reads and writes performed, and other elements of the execution plan help to free up time and resources. As a result of SolarWinds query sequencing strategy, you and your team can shift your attention to the other 80% of queries.
By taking a unique approach to query performance optimization, SolarWinds SQL Sentry optimizes for efficiency and efficacy in a way that departs from Redgate. Instead of being reactive in response to performance issues, with SQL Sentry, you can proactively troubleshoot the most expensive queries as soon as they arise.
Heterogeneous Database Environment Monitoring
Both SolarWinds SQL Sentry and Redgate SQL Monitor are designed to help you seamlessly track the health of your full environment with confidence.
Within an intuitive interface, the SQL Sentry performance analysis dashboard captures a high-level view of your entire database estate, featuring all components and relevant metrics that pertain to your database’s load, performance, and health. SQL Sentry and Redgate each capture snapshots that can serve as instant overviews of your environment’s health status. From these starting points, you can quickly pinpoint the underlying causes that are responsible for performance issues arising across the Microsoft Data Platform.
Driven by deep, actionable performance insights, Redgate and SolarWinds SQL Sentry deliver rapid root cause analysis across heterogeneous environments. With both solutions, you can monitor virtual machines, on-premises environments, and managed instances within a single dashboard.
With powerful dashboard capabilities, full visibility across your data estate, and key resolution metrics at your fingertips through SQL Monitor or the SQL Sentry portal, you can efficiently examine any size SQL Server installation. For convenience, the SQL Sentry portal helps you effectively monitor the health of your SQL Server environment from the ease of your web browser.
With colored charts and graphs, the SQL Server Activity section of the dashboard presents easy-to-consume insights and performance metrics covering data such as average transactions per second and blocked processes — giving you a clear understanding of what the server instance is doing.
To examine different performance metrics, SQL Sentry offers two dashboard modes: Sample mode and History mode. Sample mode allows you to view activity at any time, while History mode displays how your SQL Server instance and Windows have been performing over any specified length of time.
The History display also allows you to create and manage custom or pre-defined baselines, the latter of which are based on collected historical metrics. Baselines can be mapped out across a myriad of intuitive analysis charts and performance graphs, which are designed to help you proactively stay on top of changes in your monitored environment. Outlining custom baselines in advisory conditions can be a helpful way to compare current metrics to the baseline values you set as they are captured in real-time.
Data summaries for all watched instances within a group or site can be found through the performance analysis overview included within SQL Sentry. Both monitoring solutions support hybrid platforms and operating systems that include:
- SQL Server
- Azure SQL Database
- Amazon RDS SQL Server
In addition to page faults and page file usage, the system memory section of SQL Sentry’s performance analysis dashboard allows you to see how much memory different processes on your server are using at any moment. Monitoring dashboards can be shared through the tool while warning indicators alert you when the advisory conditions you specify are at risk.
Also noteworthy: the software’s database memory tab captures the relationship between server instance use and allocated memory, displaying vital data on plan cache size, buffer cache size, and much more. The disk I/O section highlights the read and write latencies for every physical disk on your server, while the database I/O section contains valuable metrics on the read and write latency of your lazy writes and databases.
Final Word on SQL Sentry vs. Redgate SQL Monitor
In summary, SolarWinds SQL Sentry has won the SQL Servers users’ vote for best SQL Server performance monitoring tool on TrustRadius for the past four years running. It also has the following advantages that help with SQL Server optimization:
- Deadlock visualization & playback
- Query plan visualization
- Index analysis & recommendations
- Performance profiling & playback
- Top SQL filtering, grouping, search
- Event Calendar
- SQL Server Analytics Server support
- Monitoring of SQL Server Analysis Service, and Azure Synapse SQL Pools
The truth is that as far as server and database environment monitoring solutions go, you can’t go wrong with either SolarWinds SQL Sentry or Redgate SQL Monitor. Both are premier options for IT professionals looking to minimize estate downtime, enhance the end-user experience, and drive bottom-line value. With the right data guiding advanced performance analysis, organizations of all shapes and sizes can pinpoint, diagnose, and remedy server problems faster and more precisely.