Recently, I presented our Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise solution to someone who expressed concerns about being notified of problems in the monitored environment. In this person's scenario, he mentioned that their organization did not have a Help Desk or Operations group. Essentially, he couldn't rely on a team of people to be watching the Spotlight console and waiting for the alarm conditions to occur. As you might suspect, he couldn't do this either. In essence, the issue boils down to being proactive versus reactive. In my mind, a good monitoring solution shouldn't require you to sit around, stare at a screen, and wait for issues to occur. A good monitoring solution should help you become more proactive and provide very rich information to further diagnose the issues brought to your attention.
I've spoken previously about adding automation in Spotlight using a feature called Alarm Actions. Alarm Actions allow such activities as sending email notifications when issues occur. This effectively eliminates the need to stare at the Spotlight console all day. In my opinion, using Alarm Actions is the best way to become more proactive when using Spotlight. However, as I've said before, you know what they say about opinions.
Enter Spotlight Developer
Many people working with SQL Server use Microsoft's SQL Server Management Studio. In many cases, they spend every day working with this solution. Fortunately, we provide a plug-in, called Spotlight Developer, that allows you to connect to your existing Spotlight on SQL Server Diagnostic Server. By doing so, you'll be able to quickly see a synopsis of the alarms generated:
Access the Heat Map:
View Alarm Details:
And Diagnose the issues:
Without leaving Management Studio!
We also provide a means to analyze the query plans of the SQL you're building. If you enable the option to include the actual execution plan, during query execution (CTRL+M in Management Studio), we'll analyze your plan and provide suggestions:
Clicking "View Analysis" provides more information:
Plus a simply way to view and understand the execution plan:
In my opinion (there I go again), the Spotlight console provides the best interface for digesting the data that Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise is collecting. We're building offerings to provide more flexible workflows and to integrate with solutions that are already a part of your tool-kit. Spotlight Developer and Alarm Actions can help you move from a reactive state to a more proactive one.
I do want to add that Spotlight Developer does not have to be used with an existing Diagnostic Server. It can be configured to use its own Diagnostic Server to provide you with a light-weight version of the Enterprise solution. If deployed in this manner, it will be lacking several features that are provided in the Enterprise solution. Read more about Spotlight Developer vs Enterprise features.