SQL server monitoring and performance tools can drastically improve user experience and application functionality for enterprise workloads.
To store, track, and share massive amounts of data across a global network, reliable database storage is a necessity for SMBs up to large organizations. But just as important is finding the correct SQL server tools to track and optimize database performance.
These tools are now critical to the DevOps pipeline, and some make up the growing market devoted to application performance management (APM). Still essential are the monitoring and performance tools dedicated to the underlying databases.
Below are the best SQL server monitoring and performance tools of 2022. Following the top picks, readers can find what these server tools entail and considerations before choosing a solution.
Tables of Contents
- What Are the Features of an SQL Server Monitoring Tool?
- Best SQL Server Monitoring & Performance Solutions
- What Is an SQL Server Monitoring Tool?
- Evaluating SQL Server Monitoring & Performance Tools
- How Do you Monitor SQL Server Performance?
- Application Performance Monitoring vs SQL Server Monitoring
What Are the Features of an SQL Server Monitoring Tool?
- Discovery capabilities for scanning and identifying SQL server instances
- Diagnosing the root causes of bottlenecks and remediating performance lags
- Metrics tracking CPU, RAM, disk usage, network usage, and responsiveness
- Query builder for organizations and structuring compute-intensive queries
- Deadlock process identification, remediation, and provisioning to mitigate future risk
- Index management to resolve alterations that cause database fragmentation and bugs
- Monitoring capabilities across hybrid infrastructure systems (physical, virtual, cloud)
- Ability to monitor Windows, Azure, AWS, Linux, VMware devices, and more
|Vendor||Resource Monitoring||Index Defragmentation||Custom Alerting||Wait Statistics||Query Optimizer||Free Trial|
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Best SQL Server Monitoring & Performance Solutions
AppDynamics is an APM market leader with the resources and tools to serve enterprise developers. With AppDynamics for Databases, organizations can monitor an array of database and application metrics, isolate slow queries, and diagnose performance bottlenecks for faster remediation. Cisco acquired the business observability platform vendor for $3.7 billion in 2017, only a decade after its launch.
AppDynamics offers a plethora of integrations with database-oriented plugins, including over a dozen each for Java, .NET, PHP, and NodeJS. Supported database platforms include IBM DB2, MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and Sybase ASE. The vendor’s monitoring solutions offer real-time visibility into performance, memory, resources, trends, and a central view of SQL server objects.
Interested customers can try a free 15-day trial to one of AppDynamics three solutions. All three come with infrastructure monitoring, and Premium adds APM and database monitoring. Enterprise distinguishes itself with business performance monitoring, while users can also add Real User Monitoring at a rate of $.06 per month per 1,000 tokens.
|Infrastructure Monitoring||Premium Edition||Enterprise Edition|
|$6 / mo / CPU core||$60 / mo / CPU core||$90 / mo / CPU core|
- Hybrid infrastructure monitoring provides visibility across the IT environment
- Automated risk prevention actions to maintain functionality and operations
- Cloud migration assistance to plan and address technical and performance issues
- Measure health across microservices and containers through transaction activity
- ITOps and InfraOps for added context, mitigating silos, and resource allocation
Datadog was founded in 2010 to provide monitoring, alerts, and performance metrics for the modern IT environments. With veteran DevOps and SaaS industry leaders at the helm, its solutions offer monitoring for hybrid cloud infrastructure, digital experience, IoT devices, and on-premises systems.
As optimizing the service-oriented architecture remains a priority, Datadog allows organizations to monitor user journeys and explore service relationships. Administrators can filter and analyze requests, logs, and metrics to continually improve performance across organization networks.
Datadog’s interactive platform allows users to slice data by host, device, or tag, compute rates and averages, and group traffic by office, team, or container.
Prospective clients can try Datadog free for 14 days before selecting its Pro or Enterprise plans. All plans, including the free version, come with a dashboard, events metrics, over 450 integrations, host and container maps, security, and unlimited user accounts.
Pro steps it up with unlimited alerts, container monitoring, SSO with SAML, and outlier detection. Enterprise adds features like anomaly detection, correlations, live processes, and forecast monitoring. For more, clients can add AWS Fargate for $1 per task or IoT device monitoring for $5 per device.
|$0||$15 / mo / host||$23 / mo / host|
- Condition-based alerting logic and option to mute alerts during scheduled downtime
- Access to a Restful HTTP API for full data access and JSON-formatted dashboards
- Capture instance data with context for alerting and collaborating with stakeholders
- Identify and provision inefficient query patterns interfering with performance
- Metrics and visualizations for user session errors, troubleshooting, and load times
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Devart has one of the more substantial stacks for database management, offering tools for SQL servers, MySQL, Oracle, and PostgreSQL through its industry-known dbForge solution.
Devart’s SQL Tools is a software development pack designed to improve productivity and automate database management through 15 SSMS tools. These tools include an Index Manager, Query Builder, SQL Decryptor, and DevOps Automation.
Devart’s all-in-one SQL server tool, dbForge Studio, develops and manages SQL databases, analyzes data, and connects DevOps teams. SQL Complete offers autocompletion, code reformatting, and refactoring, while Source Control tracks and deploys changes.
Additional tools like Documenter convert database documents to HTML and PDF, and the Compare Bundle allows operators to visualize database changes before making them.
Interested customers can try Devart risk-free for 30 days before picking a Standard or Professional plan for one of its dbForge solutions. The table below reflects the annual subscription prices for dbForge SQL Tools, and both additional licenses and longer commitments (see multi-year licenses) can reduce the unit price for licenses.
- Records of CPU and memory utilization, and latencies for read, write, and IO
- Refactor code to boost performance with IntelliSense-style SQL code scripting
- Version control options with database scripting functionality
- Collect, analyze, and trace instance data in a visual event profiler
- History of database changes and administrators taking action for investigations
Beyond just infrastructure monitoring, Dynatrace is a force within the full-stack application performance monitoring and digital experience space. A part of longtime DevOps vendor Compuware since 2011, Dynatrace was acquired for $256 million and just last year BMC Software acquired Compuware for $2 billion. Suffice to say, ITSM market leader BMC has a strong presence in the monitoring and performance tools space today.
Dynatrace offers the metrics, logs, entity relationships, behavior, and vulnerability profiles for infrastructure and database server monitoring to inform administrator strategy. The vendor’s solution comes with out-of-box features designed to automate processes, bring DevSecOps teams together, and optimize user experiences and KPIs.
With a baseline of application and service performance, Dynatrace can illuminate response times, error rates, and behavior for database activity.
Prospective customers can try Dynatrace with a 15-day free trial and choose from the below plans with corresponding starting annual subscription costs. For cloud orchestration, Dynatrace offers an add-on starting at $0.10 per Cloud Automation Units. Sold in packages of 100k CAUs, the yearly price tag comes to $10,000 for cloud-native DevOps functionality.
|Digital Experience Monitoring||$11||$132|
- Monitoring capabilities across hybrid IT infrastructure (cloud, on-prem, VMs, containers)
- Built-in configuration policies reducing manual implementation effort
- Compatibility with complex virtualized and cloud network infrastructures
- Process-specific network metrics providing enhanced observability
- AI-based discovery for identifying instances, dependencies, and more
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With IT professionals and developers in mind, IDERA offers solutions to help organizations optimize database lifecycle management. The vendor’s MONITOR Database Performance solutions include its prized SQL Diagnostic Manager, DB Optimizer, and management tools for SQL inventory, defragmentation, and enterprise jobs.
IDERA’s SQL Diagnostic Manager offers continuous monitoring into SQL server instances’ availability, health, and performance while tracking specific metrics, including CPU, memory usage, job activity, SQL queries, and counters.
For database tuning, the company’s SQL Doctor provides recommendations and scripting options. This tool uses health checkups, categorized findings, and analysis history to inform the diagnosis of the issue and root cause. By investigating problematic queries, operators can evaluate query plans, analyze custom queries, hold indexes accountable, and record wait and delay metrics trends.
Prospective customers can try Idera’s solutions with a 14-day free trial before selecting one of its commercial tools. Initial pricing and discounts are available for nearly every product offering, but larger organizations with specific needs can also request custom pricing.
|SQL DM Standard||Annual||$1,247|
|SQL DM Standard||Perpetual||$2,495|
|SQL DM Pro||Perpetual||$2,695|
- 100 predefined alert settings with configurable policies to meet client needs
- Agentless analysis of data patterns and extraction of instances without installation
- Real-time and historical trends on activity and issues like deadlocks and bottlenecks
- Customizable dashboard with controls for permissions, devices, reports, and deployment
- Access to 45 predefined columns for searching and 147 PowerShell scripts for more
ManageEngine goes beyond database monitoring and performance tools with a robust security solution offering IT management for MSPs, totaling over 110 products and tools. The vendor’s IT operations management solutions cover traditional network and server monitoring, application performance monitoring, and IT incident management.
For network and server performance monitoring, ManageEngine offers a handful of tools that make up its OpManager Plus solution when bundled. These tools include network performance monitoring (OpManager), bandwidth and traffic analysis (NetFlow Analyzer), and management tools for configuration policies, firewalls, and IP addresses, and switch ports.
ManageEngine offers its Applications Manager for APM functionality, which includes performance monitoring for applications, databases, servers, end-user experience, transactions, and virtual or cloud infrastructure. Site24x7 has APM and zeroes on web applications monitoring and website performance for real users and includes remote monitoring and management (RMM) for CSPs and MSPs.
Interested customers can try ManageEngine with a free 30-day trial. ManageEngine solutions are available on a subscription basis, perpetual license, or a custom quote with plenty of options to review. OpManager, for instance, offers a Standard Edition and Professional Edition for plans of 10 to 1,000 devices. For the OpManager Professional plan, a 1,000 device pack for two users comes to $6,000 for an annual subscription and just under $18,000 for a perpetual license.
- Real-time network monitoring for physical, virtual, and cloud server infrastructure
- Additional monitoring for wireless LAN controller, storage, WAN, VoIP, and bandwidth
- Automated and manual configuration backups with RBAC permissions
- Firewall policy, configuration, log, and traffic analysis and management
- Management tools for IP addresses, switch ports, SNMP, Cisco, and diagnostics
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Bringing Dev and Ops teams together since 2008, New Relic is a longtime APM vendor with an impressive solution stack geared towards strengthening observability. Priding itself as a Telemetry Data Platform, New Relic has hundreds of agents and integrations to ingest, store, and use data in one place.
The vendor’s solutions include monitoring application performance, Pixie (Kubernetes), logs, errors, infrastructure, network, browsers, mobile devices, and synthetics.
To help operators start quickly, New Relic comes with out-of-box instrumentation, alerts, and data management tools. Administrators can monitor applications, databases, distributed services, virtual infrastructure, and serverless functions in an increasingly complex IT environment.
All of this combines to outline the digital customer experience for continuous improvement of services. New Relic’s solutions undoubtedly help consolidate data and tools for infrastructure management and facilitate DevOps collaboration.
New Relic Pricing
Prospective customers can try New Relic with its free plan, including 100GB of ingest per month, week-plus retention, 100 synthetic checks, and unlimited querying, alerts, and incident intelligence events for one full user. New Relic offers three business plans for larger teams and enterprise organizations: Standard, Pro, and Enterprise. For $99 per month per full user, Standard bumps synthetic checks to 10,000 and offers capacity beyond 100GB for $0.25 per extra GB.
Starting at Pro, plan price tags require talking with New Relic sales. Pro has advanced administrative capabilities, extended retention, 1 million synthetic checks, and far more support with 24×7 chat and email support and a 2-hour critical response SLA. Enterprise adds advanced security and compliance, 10 million synthetic checks, and a 1-hour critical response SLA.
|Free||$99 / mo||Quote||Quote|
New Relic Features
- Real-time alerts shared with pertinent stakeholders via common communication apps
- Capture host health and performance metrics and connections to services or containers
- Anomaly detection and analysis, diagnosis, and remediation steps for incident response
- Develop custom applications with quality APIs, components, and built-in hosting
- Hundreds of integrations with top business applications including AWS, Azure, and GCP
Paessler specializes in network monitoring software with its flagship solution, the PRTG Network Monitor, aimed at helping SMB organizations monitor infrastructure. The PRTG tracks all applications, devices, traffic, and systems for the hybrid IT environment while providing insights into performance, availability, system health, and specific network segments. Auto-discovery immediately enhances administrator visibility into network components and data dependencies.
PRTG Enterprise Monitor offers even more capabilities to manage thousands of devices across multiple global locations for large enterprise organizations. Features like the ITOps Board provide service-based SLA monitoring and data collection for audits can save time and resources.
Paessler’s other two products are PRTG Hosted Monitor for a cloud-serviced infrastructure monitoring solution and PRTG Building Monitor for developing the next generation of smart, digitally-enabled buildings.
Prospective clients can try PRTG Network Monitor with a 30-day free trial before selecting one of its perpetual licenses. Starting with its smallest plan, organizations can monitor up to 500 device aspects (coming out to approximately 50 devices). For large organizations looking to monitor over 1,000 machines and in need of scale, PRTG Enterprise Monitor offers an annual subscription license starting at $16,600 for unlimited sensors and server installations.
|Plan||Approximate Devices Covered||Per Server License|
- Browser, desktop app (Windows, macOS, Linux), or mobile app (iOS, Android) options
- Raw, historical monitoring data stored in initial intervals for future reference
- Reporting engine for delivering reports in HTML, PDF, or CSV and sharing integrations
- Internal ticketing system for configuring and optimizing alerts to preserve reliability
- Out-o-box support for top IT vendors like Cisco, VMware, AWS, Microsoft, and Oracle
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From across the pond, Redgate Software provides DevOps solutions and SQL server tools for today’s database challenges. Redgate’s SQL Monitor is a widely popular solution providing comprehensive visibility into instances, availability groups, clusters, and VMs on a web-based GUI for organizations relying on an SQL server ecosystem.
With built-in alerts and baselines, administrators have real-time visibility into problems to identify and resolve root causes of performance issues. SQL Change Automation and SQL Compare are Redgate’s deployment tools that give organizations immediate insight into how changes affect performance before and after alterations.
To optimize query management, Redgate SQL Monitor assigns metadata like delays, T-SQL test, query plans, and performance details to every query making deadlock and bottleneck fixes seamless.
Interested customers can try Redgate with a 14-day free trial. Plans start at $975 per server per year with options to monitor a single server (multiple SQL server instances), cloud instance, cluster node, virtual machine, or five Azure SQL databases for the SQL Monitor.
Perpetual licenses are also available for a quoted price upon request, and customers do get discounts for bulk license orders.
|Server Quantity||Annual License Price|
- Customized reports with performance metrics including uptime, alerts, and disk capacity
- Comprehensive view of all database server instances and database-specific metrics
- 65 configurable alerts for the most pertinent performance operational issues
- Use PowerShell or Redgate’s API to integrate third-party deployment tools
- Access to 22 integrations like AWS RDS, Azure SQL, PagerDuty, and Slack
SolarWinds has long been the irrefutable leader in SQL monitoring and performance tools and offers a handful of database tools. The two most known and used tools are the Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) for analyzing and optimizing database performance, and SQL Sentry that provides DevOps observability for Microsoft database environments.
DPA offers in-depth metrics for network, disk, memory, CPU, and database-specific metrics, performance tuning, and index recommendations. SQL Sentry helps administrators monitor all databases, diagnose performance problems, conduct root cause analysis, and automate incident response.
Other SolarWinds tools include its Database Mapper for documenting metadata across multiple sources, tracking changes in documentation, and visualizing data dependencies. Task Factory offers data warehousing ELT/ETL task management that speeds the movement of data and productivity for teams.
Prospective customers can try SolarWinds solutions with a free 14-day trial, after which the top two solutions come at the below starting prices per subscription. Integration opportunities with SolarWinds’ comprehensive IT stack make existing customers’ choice for performance and monitoring tools an easy one. Still, new customers can also score discounted plans with a custom quote and more extensive arrangements.
|Database Performance Analyzer||SQL Sentry|
- Monitor performance data in a user-friendly web interface and dashboard
- Customizable data inputs and query samples, analytics, and profiling
- In-flight and at-rest encryption, role-based access controls, and SSO
- Historical and trend analysis and data retention windows
What Is an SQL Server Monitoring Tool?
SQL server monitoring tools are software programs designed to track database performance and processes. With visibility into the health of specific databases and application traffic flows, administrators and developers can promptly investigate and remediate outstanding issues to optimize data dependencies and services.
Evaluating SQL Server Monitoring & Performance Tools
Questions to consider when looking for SQL server monitoring and performance tools include:
- Is the solution compatible across database environments like SQL, Azure, AWS, IBM, and more?
- How does the tool address common challenges and optimize SQL performance?
- Does the solution include a customizable dashboard, alerting, and policy management?
- What visual or graphical analysis tools enhance operator visibility?
- Does the solution offer monitoring across physical, virtual, and cloud instances?
How Do You Monitor SQL Server Performance?
SQL server monitoring tools look at SQL server objects, performance counters, and the behavior of other objects (such as processors, memory, cache, threats, and processes). Adjacent information for each of these objects includes measuring device usage, queue lengths, delays, and congestion indicators.
All of the top SQL server performance monitoring tools offer real-time and historical insight into the above through agent or agentless solutions. Sensors, software, and embedded appliances can directly communicate performance metrics to administrators to inform decision-making.
Application Performance Monitoring vs SQL Server Monitoring
The newer field of application performance monitoring (APM) is the newest technology to emerge from traditional SQL server monitoring tools. In the case of APM, these tools specifically address the increasingly complex application ecosystem and how users interact with various applications.
Though similar, SQL server monitoring focuses on the traditional processes and controls of database management. Though this line continues to blur, both sets of tools are complementary and vital for enterprise developers.