Whether on-premises or on the cloud, databases are an integral part of your business’s IT infrastructure. At some point, you and your team will need to use database monitoring software to obtain much-needed insight into the availability, security, and other database performance metrics. With these insights, you’ll be able to better tune and manage your databases and ensure business applications and websites remain functional.
While cloud databases have become popular, on-premises databases are the more traditional setup. Many organizations may have legacy setups with this configuration, and it would be a hassle to change. On-premises databases are also critical for businesses subject to strict industry regulations or corporate policies or have low latency requirements.
To monitor these environments, database administrators (DBAs) might use either on-premises monitoring tools or cloud-hosted, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) database tools, depending on their needs. SaaS database tools tend to be more flexible and require less back-end management. Either can be used for monitoring your on-premises instances, but with SaaS, there’s no need for additional on-premises data storage for monitoring purposes.
In this article, I’ll discuss how to monitor your on-premises databases and what a tool for on-premises database monitoring can help you accomplish. During my research, I found few good software that could be helpful for organizations using on-premises database environments. One of them I would like personally recommend is to test SolarWinds® Database Performance Analyzer (DPA), a software that allows for cloud, local (on-premises), or hybrid monitoring, to ensure you have the visibility you need. DPA is designed to pinpoint issues using historical and real-time data and display the information on a dynamic interface with highly customizable and shareable dashboards. There’s a 14-day free trial of DPA available for download.
What Does an On-Premises Database Monitoring Tool Do?
The core responsibility of a database monitoring tool is to collect, display, and alert on database metrics to pinpoint DB performance problems, so DBAs can more quickly take action on troubleshooting and have more information on which steps to take first. An on-premises database monitoring tool offers DBAs a way to implement this process for any on-premises database environment, which might include servers or virtual machines.
An on-premises database monitoring tool will gather information that could help you identify warning signs of emerging issues, thereby preventing major problems from developing and spreading throughout your database. The platform’s dashboard might automatically display and track system errors, user queries, and data transmissions, so you have instant visibility and can spend your time troubleshooting rather than digging through data. Quickly addressing database concerns can save you money, resources, and time.
Performance tuning has the same mission whether for on-premises or cloud databases, but you may need to measure different components. For instance, you might need to factor in physical infrastructure for on-premises databases. You might also want to focus on metrics related to scalability in case you need additional hardware.
How to Use an On-Premises Database Monitoring Platform
Database administrators need to monitor five main elements of their on-premises databases: infrastructure, availability, throughput, performance, and security. A database monitoring platform can ensure critical metrics and logs are all in one place.
Observing IT infrastructure is an important part of any database monitoring system. This information reveals how your network is performing and spots problems or out-of-balance metrics. These metrics could include disk and memory space, queue wait times, bandwidth traffic patterns, percent CPU time utilized by database processes, and more. A great database monitoring tool will show you these statistics at-a-glance, so you can view infrastructure metrics quickly before diving into detail.
Having an available and accessible database is crucial to preventing shutouts at inopportune moments. Keeping tabs on your availability will help you discover outages before customers do, so you can solve them before they impact functionality for end users. Monitoring tools collect accessibility metrics of endpoints, ports, and devices using common protocols like ping. Some on-premises tools also enable failover or upgrade events for crucial moments.
Throughput is a rate of processing speed and essentially represents how fast data travels within your database. On-premises database monitoring software will collect metrics related to throughput such as connection wait time, average time to complete commands, number of active and completed transactions, and percent growth of transaction log size. Your platform should collect metrics for throughput multiple times to create a baseline—baselines can be used to create thresholds, so you can eventually program alarms when thresholds are exceeded.
Like throughput, performance metrics vary greatly depending on your database type and needs. Key metrics could include potential bottlenecks, application traces, number or waiting or blocked queries, skewed data descriptions, and out-of-date statistics. The best on-premises monitoring tools will allow you to deeply examine these details. I recommend also using performance metrics to create baselines for thresholds.
Security metrics include number of failed login attempts, database configuration change events, and new user accounts plus password changes. These metrics operate network-wide, so you don’t necessarily have to constantly check on these metrics. However, drastic and rapid changes in security metrics usually indicate an attack or another issue, so it’s important to monitor them.
If you’re interested in more details, please view the video below:
Final Thoughts on On-Premises Database Monitoring
Using an on-premises database monitoring tool is essential to ensuring your database is running at optimal performance, so you can achieve your business goals. On-premises database monitoring tools offer more stability and consistency than cloud-hosted ones and can easily integrate with other platforms you already use to monitor your network. On-premises database monitoring platforms also have no SPOFs or vendor lock-ins, allowing for increased data security and protection.
For an easy-to-install yet powerful on-premises database monitor, turn to SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA). I’ve found DPA can display vital statistics in real-time or throughout history on customizable, understandable dashboards. DPA can also enable you to dive into details of your database, helping you fully understand its requirements, weaknesses, and opportunities. I highly recommend to try this tool in organizations that use their own SQL database infrastructure—you can download a 14-day free trial of DPA today to see how on-premises database monitoring can allow your databases to thrive.