Go beyond basic up/down monitoring

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1 Go beyond basic up/down monitoring Extending the value of SCOM with Foglight for SQL Server Introduction Microsoft Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM) allows IT professionals to manage and monitor Windows and Linux systems within an Active Directory farm. SCOM is more a platform than a domain-specific product; its core functionality is to provide overall health alerting of Windows servers and Windows services running on a given server. This allows IT professionals to build and use SCOM for managing the specific topologies within an organization. SCOM is great at telling you whether your server is healthy or not. SCOM does come with a significant number of management packs, but they are intended as templates to be modified to meet your organization s specific needs. Customizing SCOM for a specific domain, such as SQL Server, requires the DBA to invest significant time, and provides only basic health monitoring of SQL Server. In the end, when there is trouble with a database, the DBA needs tools other than SCOM alone to effectively troubleshoot and diagnose performance issues. This paper explores SQL Server monitoring available in SCOM as well as some of its limitations when it comes to really understanding and managing database performance. We show how to go beyond simple up/down monitoring using our performance monitoring solutions, Foglight for SQL Server and Foglight Performance Analysis for SQL Server. With their predictive performance diagnostics, you can more easily monitor and troubleshoot your SQL Server environment to help you maximize your investment in SCOM. This paper offers simple methodologies and tips to: Quickly address database issues and proactively manage SQL Server performance Troubleshoot SQL Server performance issues in real time and historically Drill into database health to quickly find the root cause of an issue and make corrections

2 How SCOM and Foglight view SQL Server SCOM s View of SQL Server SCOM provides cross-server health monitoring, offering a high-level view of performance for all services and applications running on a Windows Server. SCOM treats SQL Server as just another Windows Service to monitor. The following screenshot illustrates the level of data available from SCOM for any given Windows Server running SQL Server: Use Foglight for SQL Server to extend the value of SCOM by going beyond simple up/ down monitoring and effectively manage database performance. Figure 1. SCOM provides basic data about SQL Server Foglight s view of SQL Server Foglight for SQL Server complements SCOM by delivering the level of detail DBAs need to really understand and resolve performance issues. Overall SQL Server Topology View At a high level, Foglight provides a detailed view of the entire server topology: Figure 2. Foglight shows a comprehensive view of the entire server topology 2

3 SQL Server Instance View And Foglight s instance view provides real-time monitoring: databases are critical to most business applications. Foglight provides the essential tools DBAs need to manage Figure 3. Take advantage of real-time monitoring with Foglight Foglight for SQL Server: The Value-add You may be thinking, if Foglight can monitor operating systems and databases, why do I need SCOM? SCOM and Foglight are different but complementary tools. A complete Foglight implementation provides overall monitoring across multiple technologies (for example, Java,.NET, virtual or physical servers, databases, networks) and captures the experience of users interacting with those applications. SCOM, on the other hand, has unique functionality around management of configuration and general servicing of hardware and software found on Windows servers and clients. Because SCOM is deployed as an Active Directory domain controller, SCOM has operational capabilities beyond an application performance management (APM) tool. However, because SCOM is primarily focused on the day-to-day management of Windows Servers, it provides only a simplified view of SQL Server health even though SQL Server SQL database performance and drill down into problems in real time. For example, if there is a deadlock event, SCOM will simply tell you when and where it happened. Foglight Performance Analysis will tell you why and what caused the issue in the database. While SCOM can give the IT operations specialist an overall view of server health, it doesn t provide functionality for real-time drilling into problems. SCOM does not show detailed information about database domain issues in an at-a-glance view. Foglight provides deep SQL Server collections that allow for easy troubleshooting of database specific problems. System Center users can deploy management packs for Microsoft SQL Server, which provides a mechanism for basic health monitoring of SQL Server Services. SCOM does not provide query-level information about SQL Server events. When an issue impacts application performance and a DBA lacks an SCOM provides cross-server health monitoring, offering a high-level view of performance for all services and applications running on a Windows Server. 3

4 Foglight provides the essential tools DBAs need to manage SQL database performance and drill down into problems in real time. advanced workload analysis tool like Foglight, he has to use scripts to manually find troubled SQL queries, which is cumbersome and time-consuming. Extending the value of SCOM with Foglight for SQL Server Let s look at some specific ways in which Foglight for SQL Server augments the value of SCOM. Day-to-day monitoring With SCOM: You get only a heads-up message: Healthy/Critical/Warning. With Foglight Performance Analysis: You get real-time information about performance against baselines, current trends, current top resource utilization, and workload, which enables deep workload analysis. Database health root-cause analysis Deadlocks With SCOM: You get an alert with information about the event, and then you have to turn to custom code or another tool to troubleshoot the problem. Even with custom code, it will be hard to understand all the issues affecting the database before and after the deadlock event. Figure 4. A SCOM alert provides only basic information about a deadlock event With Foglight Performance Analysis for SQL Server: You can review the deadlock event and compare the performance of the server for symptoms of an issue before the event. This provides key information for correct diagnosis and repair. Figure 5. Foglight enables you to easily drill into the details about a deadlock event 4

5 SCOM does not provide query-level information about SQL Server events. Figure 6. Foglight makes it easy to analyze query performance Query Performance With SCOM: SCOM provides no visibility at all into query performance. With Foglight Performance Analysis: Foglight gives you an industry-leading tool for multi-dimensional analysis of performance at the query level. Troubleshooting issues real-time and historic Having a handle on database performance is one of the most important aspects of a DBA s job. Having a better understanding of the environment enables the DBA to find and fix performance issues faster and proactively plan for and address potential issues. DBAs need to know the answers to questions like these: What is the day-to-day utilization of the servers? Which applications use the most disk space? Which applications use the most memory? With SCOM: With SCOM alone monitoring the environment, those questions are going to remain unanswered. Some of the implications of not having a full clear picture of your monitored environment are: Reacting to problems only after they happen Not having the data to do root-cause analysis Not understanding a workload s impact on the topology Not being able to stay on top of pending administration tasks With Foglight Performance Analysis: With Foglight, the DBA can spend less time and effort reacting to problems and more time proactively managing workloads, which results in greater efficiencies and better utilization of server resources. Change tracking Many times, the development team writes and deploys code with only basic unit and integration testing; no work is done to check the performance of the new code or to optimize it, and very little effort is made to track the operational impact of the code s deployment. With Foglight Performance Analysis, each change whether it be a schema change or a stored procedure change is captured and tracked. With this data in hand, a DBA can see the impact of system changes on performance. 5

6 Foglight for SQL Server provides realtime information about performance against baselines, current trends, current top resource utilization and workload. Figure 7. Foglight tracks changes so you can spot issues quickly With SCOM: There is no change tracking in SCOM. With Foglight Performance Analysis: A user can identify changes to server or database configuration and to SQL plans and database objects, and align them with performance. Comparison of performance Why should we care about performance comparisons? Comparing application performance over time or against performance measures sometimes uncovers hidden performance demons. With SCOM: SCOM has no capability for performance comparisons. With Foglight Performance Analysis: You can select two periods of time and multiple dimensions to understand how the performance for a given workload has changed over time. Figure 8. Foglight s performance comparisons help you identify performance issues 6

7 Conclusion With SCOM alone, the average DBA would need to write complex scripts to create a picture of server issues or they can use Foglight for SQL Server. For most DBAs, knowing what the issue is and how to solve it is very challenging, but with Foglight, it s easy. Foglight provides unrivaled monitoring and performance tools that go far beyond what SCOM can do. You could use SCOM to monitor the server infrastructure while using Foglight to do troubleshooting and diagnosis for databases. Key takeaways: SCOM is a great way to get high-level performance information about your SQL Server environment; however, by design, SCOM does not have in-depth, domain-specific features. Foglight can help. With its non-stop data collection and instant metric-sensitive alerts, Foglight for SQL Server ensures optimal database performance. Builtin expert guidance, intuitive interfaces, and easy-to-follow workflows help you speed through your work. Plus, you get automated performance analysis and an enterprise-level view of database health. 7

8 2012 Dell, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This document contains proprietary information protected by copyright. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording for any purpose without the written permission of Dell, Inc. ( Dell ). Dell, Dell Software, the Dell Software logo and products as identified in this document are registered trademarks of Dell, Inc. in the U.S.A. and/or other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. The information in this document is provided in connection with Dell products. No license, express or implied, by estoppel or otherwise, to any intellectual property right is granted by this document or in connection with the sale of Dell products. EXCEPT AS SET FORTH IN DELL S TERMS AND CONDITIONS AS SPECIFIED IN THE LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR THIS PRODUCT, DELL ASSUMES NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER AND DISCLAIMS ANY EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY WARRANTY RELATING TO ITS PRODUCTS INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL DELL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION OR LOSS OF INFORMATION) ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR INABILITY TO USE THIS DOCUMENT, EVEN IF DELL HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. Dell makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this document and reserves the right to make changes to specifications and product descriptions at any time without notice. Dell does not make any commitment to update the information contained in this document. About Dell Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers worldwide innovative technology, business solutions and services they trust and value. For more information, visit If you have any questions regarding your potential use of this material, contact: Dell Software 5 Polaris Way Aliso Viejo, CA Refer to our Web site for regional and international office information. Whitepaper-SCOM-Foglight-SQLServ-US-TT

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