Quest is very excited to announce the General Availability of Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise  v13.3.

Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise v13.3 is focused on a major aspect of SQL Server tuning - analyzing execution plans.

Background

An execution plan contain the steps needed to retrieve the data. It acts like a “GPS” which provides the instructions on how to efficiently get from point a to point b.

When queries are submitted to SQL Server using the SQL language (or T-SQL, the Microsoft SQL Server extension to SQL), the SQL Server query optimizer chooses the most optimal way to run the query, based on many factors..

Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise Execution Plan Analysis

In version 12.3 (which was GA’d on August 6, 2018), we introduced a major performance diagnostics improvement feature called “Plan Analysis,” which enables the user to easily understand even the most complex execution plans via a graphical representation that highlights bottlenecks, as follows:

 Plan analysis feature for understanding complex execution plans

In addition, this feature provides recommendations and findings to make tuning simpler than ever before:

 Plan analysis provides recommendations and findings to make tuning simpler

What's new in v13.3?

In v13.3, we have introduced two major improvements:

  1. New plan analysis rules – originally, we had only 2 plan analysis rules: “missing indexes” and “columns with no statistic.” With v13.3, we introduced the following new plan analysis rules:
    1. Inefficient Table Scan/Inefficient Clustered Index Scan
    2. Inefficient Index Scan Rule
    3. Inefficient RID/Key Lookup

 Example of our new “Inefficient Table Scan/Inefficient Clustered Index Scan” rule

The following is an example of our new “Inefficient Table Scan/Inefficient Clustered Index Scan” rule:

  1. Historical analysis - prior to v13.3, execution plans were retrieved directly from the monitored instance. This introduced a challenge to our users, as in some cases the plan was purged out of the memory, so users were unable to analyze historical plans.

Now with v13.3, we are storing plans in our own playback repository which will allow customers to analyze plans historically. This could be particularly useful when using the “playback mode” in Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise which enables users to view events and data collected in the past in various dashboards, as follows:

 “Playback mode” in Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise which enables users to view events and data collected in the past

Other Notable Product Improvements

Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) is a computer security standard used to approve cryptographic modules.

We are happy to announce that with v13.3, Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise is a fully FIPS-compliant product, as requested by some of our customers.

Summary

Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise v13.3 delivers deeper diagnostics for execution plans, which is key for many database professionals who struggle to understand and tune complex queries in SQL Server.

The product is known for its simplicity, and we are excited that with this new release, we deliver additional improvements that make complex database tuning tasks simpler and more intuitive than ever before.

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