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I'm looking into purchasing a SQL Server monitoring system.

It should work with 2005/2008.

We would like to monitor performance, availability, backups, jobs and various database issues (space)

What has worked for you?

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Quest Software has a product called Spotlight.

Red Gate has a product called SQL Response.

I'm currently using both SQL Response and Quest Spotlight to monitor my SQL2000+ databases. They are both good: Spotlight saves playback data which is occasionally useful (don't forget about additional overhead) and their custom SSRS map pack is really good (ex. daily subscription for job failures report). What i like about SQL Response is it's ease of installation and configuration (especially email)... and the GUI feels really intuitive.

I have yet to try out Operations Manager/System Center Operations Manager to monitor my SQL boxes.

  • I used the beta of Response - I'll have to check it out again. It seemed pretty useful, but sure did generate a large amount of reports. – Sam Sep 2 '09 at 22:11
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There are two flavours of monitoring tool for SQL Server. An alerting tool which lets you know when some attention is needed, and a passive monitoring tool that can be used for live diagnostics, trending analysis, historical graphs, etc.

  • Spotlight is best at providing real time diagnostics and reports.
  • MOM/SQL Response is better at alerts - and perhaps even look at hp OpenView. I also use Idera's SQL Compliance Manager for security alerts.

I haven't played with the Idera tool yet.

You could even create your own monitoring with SQL Agent and SQL Mail.

  • Thanks Mark, We've got the home grown SSIS solution I've created, but it only runs a few times a day - looking to avoid sinking a bunch of time into writing and maintining, and most of all doubting my solution. – Sam Sep 14 '09 at 23:34
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I've demoed a few of the Quest products:

http://www.quest.com/sql-server/

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I love Idera's DM product as well: Idera DM. There are a few good reviews on the web as well: Review 1 and Review 2

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