The task of reviewing, filtering, and organizing SQL Server error logs can be a very time consuming one for a DBA.  More importantly, business requirements might necessitate this scrutiny to be done very frequently on each working server in order to monitor, facilitate troubleshooting, and identify any potential problems. 

Not to worry, Spotlight 12.2 is here to help! 

Spotlight 12.2 includes an enhanced version of the SQL Server Error Log Reader.  This version provides users not only the ability to mine for errors but also the capability to assign severity levels to the designated events ahead of time to be used when Spotlight is scanning and logging errors.  Spotlight can scan error logs for configured strings in error messages and raise alerts through the use of alarms and emails.  Additionally, the logging mechanism also takes into account the configured severity threshold level values.

The multi-tiered customization capability in this version of Spotlight allows users to not only categorize error events from Fatal to Low severity but also the ability to customize the alarm severity based on the frequency of each error.   By default, Spotlight designates errors with severity levels greater than 16 a high severity level.  Similarly, Spotlight has a list of common error designations such as ‘Error’, ‘Failed’, and ‘Hung’ that are considered to be in the medium severity category.  

Error log entries are fully customizable from deletion of the existing default keywords, addition of new keywords, or the modification of their associated severity level.  The keywords Disable or Enable options allow Spotlight users to temporarily exclude or include keywords to address any short term system or business needs.

Even more exciting is that fact that, once the match list is configured for one server one can save the customized configuration into a template and apply that template to other servers; thus eliminating the need to re-enter the required configuration again for each connection.

So let’s explore these features in Spotlight.

The Default Entry Match list is customizable to user needs:


Use the Add option to create new rules for the match list and assign appropriate severity level:

Use the template option to migrate the customized match list to other connections.

Once completed, open refer to the Alarms configuration screen from the Configure ribbon bar, after choosing the connection name scroll down to the 11 newly added SQL Server alarms. These are alarms categorized for the following: severity level higher than 22, one alarm each for high, medium, low and information and finally an alarm for severity levels lower than 20.


With each alarm having customizable settings on threshold levels/values, acknowledgement flag and alarm description: SQL Server instance raised the following fatal message: {{ErrorLogAlarm.Line}}. The error message was raised by : {{ErrorLogAlarm.ProcessInfo}} at: {{todate(ErrorLogAlarm.LogDate)}}.

A raised Error Log alarm:


Download a free trial edition of Spotlight from here.

Related Content