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  SQL Server Tips by Burleson

Build versus Buy

When it comes to cursory, analytic, and 24 x 7 monitoring many SQL Server performance analysts become confused over whether to buy a third party monitoring package or build a system from scratch. There are positives and negatives to each approach.

Buying a third party solution can work out well as long as the system’s specific requirements are met. Cursory monitoring is usually supported quite well by any of the major database tools vendors, but it is also taken care of in Microsoft’s own Enterprise Manager/Management Studio. Analytic monitoring is not accomplished very well with Microsoft’s own tools, even in SQL Server 2005. There are, however, a number of good third party analytic monitors on the market that do support SQL Server quite well. Pulling the “buy” trigger on a 24 x 7 monitoring solution is the point when things can get confusing.

Some SQL Server professionals have succeeded at building a robust around-the-clock monitoring system from scratch, but they have done so at a cost of many man-hours. Such a system usually involves the configuration of a number of stored procedures that are launched via a scheduling tool, normally the SQL Agent. These procedures are tied to a number of alerts that can call more customized scripts that perform predefined corrective actions. And that’s just for one server! The addition of other SQL Servers to the equation and things can get messy fast.

This is not to say that building an in-house enterprise monitoring system cannot be done, for there are plenty of installations that have them. The cost of building and maintaining such a system needs to be weighed. While it will not impact users financially from a line-item budget standpoint, they might spend more than first thought in other ways, such as man-hours for development and maintenance, when everything is said and done.

The above book excerpt is from:

High-Performance SQL Server DBA
Tuning & Optimization Secrets

ISBN: 0-9761573-6-5
Robin Schumacher  

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