Using SQL Monitor at Interactive Intelligence

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1 Using SQL Monitor at Robbie Baxter 93% of Fortune 100 companies use Red Gate's software

2 Using SQL Monitor at Robbie Baxter Database Administrator Summary Business communications software company has used Red Gate s SQL Monitor to track its SQL Servers since Using SQL Monitor has resulted in the following benefits for : The database administrator saves two to six hours of work daily. The IT team is alerted to SQL Server problems before they impact customers. 2

3 The background (Interactive) is a global provider of contact center, unified communications, and business process automation software and services designed to improve the customer experience. Its flagship product is an all-in-one IP communications software suite, which can be deployed on-premises or via the cloud. Robbie Baxter is the database administrator (DBA) responsible for keeping things running at Interactive. He s the sole DBA on the IT systems infrastructure team, the group that manages the internal systems and hardware for Interactive s production environment. Even during the trial, I found out so much Baxter looks after the databases that power Interactive s corporate phone system, enterprise resource planning, spam filters, SharePoint, and support ticketing. Server performance and uptime are among his top priorities. As a DBA, I ve got to make sure that our systems are up, so our clients can get orders, so that they can log in and look at their licenses - that sort of stuff, Baxter explains. When I started here, there was no SQL Server monitoring in place. That seems to be the MO at a lot of companies, so it wasn t surprising, but it meant everything was very reactive. Often, we would hear about issues from end users, and that was the last thing we wanted. A monitoring tool seemed like the most effective solution, and Baxter turned to Red Gate s SQL Monitor. I picked SQL Monitor because Red Gate has a great reputation in the industry. I knew their tools were well written and that I enjoyed using them. I needed to point a tool at my servers and find out a lot of information fast, right from the start, so it helped that the installation was super easy so much easier than some of the competitors. 3

4 Even during the trial, I found out so much information that I d had no idea about before. I liked that I didn t have to put anything on my SQL Servers, either. But to be proactive on a day-to-day basis, I needed to be monitoring a whole bunch of things were backups happening, did we have performance bottlenecks, was our hardware okay? I didn t want to have to stare at something all day that didn t present that information very well, and from an aesthetic and organizational point of view, SQL Monitor really stood out. How SQL Monitor helps Checking job failures used to be a lengthy process for the team at Interactive. With SQL Monitor, no time is wasted looking for the source of problems. We wouldn t know about job failures until somebody said, Hey this data s missing and I don t know where it is. The helpdesk would look into it, but it would take five or six hours to solve. Now, I can either get an alert at night, which I do for all job failures, or look at it in the morning, see exactly what didn t run right, and take care of it before the users have a problem. In fact, the first thing I do in the morning is open up SQL Monitor, look through my alerts from the night before, and fix anything unexpected. At night, I just keep an eye on my , because I know I ll hear about anything big that way. The web-based UI is a huge advantage for Baxter. He can access SQL Monitor outside of the office, using mobile devices, so he s always the first to know about problems and can fix them before things escalate: It makes life so much easier to be able to access SQL Monitor anywhere, on my tablet or phone. I was especially excited when version 3.3 included more detailed alerts. Previously, I d found myself receiving a job failure alert, getting my laptop out, logging into the work VPN, only to find out that the job succeeded on its next run. This could happen several times a night or on the weekend. 4

5 Now, I get detailed information up-front. Sometimes there s enough information to forward the alert to the development team without ever logging into SQL Server. It s a huge time saver and allows me to work more effectively on the go. Seeing what the SQL Monitor team had planned for future releases was a further plus: When I was evaluating SQL Monitor, the big upcoming feature was custom metrics. And custom metrics meant that I wouldn t have to develop anything on the side to do what my monitoring software should be taking care of. For example, I have one particular job that has 30 or 40 steps. There s logic in that job which was set up so that it keeps going, even if something fails. Now, I have a custom metric that queries the job on a regular basis to make sure all the steps completed correctly. If a step fails, I get an alert right away. With SQL Monitor, I always know SQL Monitor s straightforward implementation, accessibility, and flexibility all contribute to helping the team at, but ultimately it comes down to making life a lot easier. SQL Monitor saves me a couple of hours a day, at least. If it s a really bad day, it probably saves me six hours. When a director calls and asks, Why is this slow?, I don t have to track it down from 10 different servers I just go into SQL Monitor. But to me it s really about making my life easier, making my job easier, improving server uptime and all of this is made possible because I can be a lot more proactive. That s a huge gain. Like most IT professionals, I get stressed if there s something going on with the system that I don t know about. With SQL Monitor, I always know. 5

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