Third-Party Tools for SQL Server 2016

By | In Database Administration, SQL Server | November 17th, 2015

When Microsoft SQL Server 2016 is released, there will be many new features, but none will magically address issues associated with the smooth operation of your databases. However, the native tools within SQL Server can be easily augmented with the many different third-party tools now available.

Third-party tools are designed to help database administrators attend to tasks such as system administration, backup, monitoring, regulatory compliance, and reporting. Some of these are designed to provide users with a quick visual representation of what’s happening with their systems.

Third-party monitoring tools are “more flexible than the tools that ship with the product,” according to Basit Farooq, lead database administrator for the United Kingdom’s Medical Protection Society, who relies on products such as Idera SQL Diagnostic Manager for identifying and resolving SQL Server bottlenecks and DbProtect and ApexSQL Audit for security auditing.

Farooq adds:

Third-party monitoring tools can help monitor SQL Server and database performance, resolve potential problems with threshold-based and trend-based alerts, and isolate the root cause of application performance issues.

There are third-party tools for almost any task. Among the many choices for extract, transform, and load tools (“ETL” tools) are products such as Informatica PowerCenter, SAS Enterprise Data Integration Server and Pentaho Data Integration.

Some third-party SQL tools perform extremely narrow niche tasks, such as database source control. Source control is designed to take those changes in a database from the development environment into test, then production. These tools provide audit trails during the process. One such tool is ApexSQL Source Control, which works with SQL Server Management Studio as well as various control systems. The company is working now on an array of changes to its products, all of which are designed to provide SQL Server 2016 support for its database administrator suite of auditing, recovery, and performance monitoring tools.

Database Monitoring Tools Save Time and Money

Database monitoring tools are extremely useful to over-worked SQL administrators. Andrea Letourneaum told Tech Targetshe quit her job as an on-call database administrator after one too many 3 a.m. phone calls. She says the wide availability of SQL Server monitoring tools from vendors including SolarWinds, SQL Sentry and Idera are a boon and make good database administrators even better at their jobs.

Brian Peasland, also writing on Tech Target, says he uses SolarWinds’ database performance analyzer and Oracle’s diagnostics and tuning packs for evaluating problems with SQL statements. He observed:

SolarWinds’ DPA and Oracle’s diagnostics and tuning packs cost money, but I think they are worth the price. If I did not have these SQL performance tools at my disposal, I could have easily spent a week, instead of minutes, on this Oracle SQL performance issue.

Of course, the tool we at Datavail consider most essential is our SQL Server Health Check. This diagnostic tool helps users see what’s happening with their SQL Server environment and provides them with a road map of the work that needs to be performed to improve database performance.

We also have teams of experts able to help with the native tools found in SQL Server, such as those within SQL Server Reporting Services.

We are now hands-on with the trial version of SQL Server 2016 and following the announcements from these and other third-party tool providers. For more information about updating to a newer version of SQL Server, please download our white paper, Upgrading to SQL Server 2012 and Beyond.

Datavail can help your organization make the transition to the newest version of SQL Server. Contact Datavail to discuss a custom solution designed for your enterprise and to learn more about our database services and how our experts can help with your ongoing operations or special projects.

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Eric Russo
Senior Vice President of Database Services
Eric Russo is SVP of Database Services overseeing all of Datavail’s database practices including project and managed services for MS SQL, Oracle, Oracle EBS, MySQL, MongoDB, SharePoint and DB2. He is also the Product Owner for Datavail Delta, a database monitoring tool. He has 21 years’ experience in technology including 16 years in database management. His management success and style has attracted top DBAs from around the world to create one of the most talented and largest SQL Server teams. He has been with Datavail since 2008: previous to that his work experiences include DBA Manager at StrataVia, Senior Web Developer at Manifest Information Systems and SQL Server DBA at Clark County, Nevada.

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