Update from the development shop.....

Pearl Knowledge Solutions, Inc. has some news to share on the soon to be released SQLCentric v.2.0:

We wanted to let you know what you can expect from our next version.  Fasten your seatbelts, because SQLCentric is about to get even better!

In addition, tell us what you think about our new SQLCentric v.2.0 Package and Marketing Design.  Contact us at salessupport@pearlknows.com or techsupport@pearlknows.com  to offer your opinion or inquire about anything SQLCentric.

As we get closer to our final release date, we are excited about the breadth of new features and functionality that we have added that will make SQLCentric your tool of choice for monitoring and alert notification of your entire SQL Server Infrastructure!

We have listened to our customer feedback, and we are confident that this next release will reflect the wishes of our expanding clientele.  SQLCentric will continue to focus on its core functionality for the MS SQL Server platform, and continue to be customer driven.

The following is an overview of the main features and enhancements planned for our next release.  Since the final cut has not been released to manufacturing (RTM), this list may not be final, and additional features and enhancements may be added.  (Also, for full details on other changes, enhancements, and fixes, see the new documentation and ReadMe file.)

The best thing of all about these new features, are that they will be part of SQLCentric's core module at no extra cost - FREE!   All users will be eligible for free upgrade.  So, keep watch for our announcement as we approach our release date, and be sure to take advantage of our extended 15% discount promotion on ALL SQLCentric license kits.  It can save you a lot of $$$ on the cost of monitoring your sql servers.

SQLCentric will add new optional status counters that will monitor the performance and logged events of your SQL Servers.  This means the user has the ability to turn them on and off as desired.

The SQLCentric historical reporting and quick reports module, will give the user in-depth reporting capability on the state of their SQL Server infrastructure.  The user will also have the option to turn this feature on or off.  We will designate the Reports Module as Beta 1.0, but will be fully functional in SQLCentric v.2.0.


SQL Server Authentication (Mixed)

This is BIG!  With the ability to authenticate monitored servers via SQL Authentication, Windows, or Mixed, users will be able to monitor SQL Servers in Non-Trusted Domains, DMZ/firewalls, and literally SQL Servers all around the world!  Many users have asked about this possibility, and now it will be reality in v.2.0.  For example, users who have their data centers hosted, or managed by IP, will now be able to monitor their servers - internal or external to one's network. 

The SQLCentric administration module will allow the user to set a SQLCentric login and encrypted password for monitoring purposes.


BCH (Buffer Cache Hit Ratio) Monitor

As you know one of the most important things that SQL Server uses, is memory.  Because reading from the cache is less expensive than reading from disk, you want this percentage to be high.  So, we have added the BCH (Buffer Cache Hit Ratio) Monitor!  Here, the user can set the sampling interval as well as the alert threshold.  For example, if the BCH is consistently below 90% for 5 consecutive samples, you may need to add more memory.

Drill down on the MCache page, and see exactly how much memory is being used by SQL Server, and statistical details on your Buffer and Procedure Cache.

CPU Monitor

Measuring the CPU activity of your SQL Server is a key way to identify potential CPU bottlenecks. If you have more than a single CPU, or if you have a single hyperthreading CPU, then watching the value for specific CPUs is not of much value. Instead, SQLCentric will monitor the _Total instance, which provides you with the total overall CPU utilization for your server, which is a good overall indicator of how busy your server is.

Represent as a a load percentage, the average of all the CPUs in your server will be measured and reported on.

Drill-down on the CPUStat page, and the values for each CPU (instance) in your server will be available, where you can measure the utilization of each individual CPU.

Generally speaking, if the total CPU utilization of your server exceeds 80% for continuous periods (over 10 minutes or so), then you may have a CPU bottleneck. Therefore, the user can set this threshold, as well as the sampling interval.

Monitor blocked processes

Another vital status to know is what exactly is going on internal to the SQL Servers' system processes.  One of the reasons for poor performance is blocked processes.  A blocked process is a process that requests a lock, but waits for a competing lock to be released by another process. A high number of blocked processes can cause poor performance due to transaction delays. 

SQLCentric now has the ability to monitor blocked processes, and alert the user to which spid is being blocked and by which spid.  Drill-down to the SysProc page, and you will see all the blocked processes and the TSQL of the lead blocker causing the contention, at the time it was detected.

In addition, you will see the real-time processes of all your SQL Servers. The fantastic new process_monitor will identify the troublemakers causing poor performance, and allow the user to set the wait-time threshold - the maximum amount of time a process should wait, until an alert is generated.


Monitor SQL Server Logs

So, what's really going on with your SQL Server?  One of the most common troubleshooting techniques in a DBA's arsenal is to search the SQL Log for errors, warnings, login failures and all sorts of information.  Now, have SQLCentric do it for you, by monitoring the SQL Log on all your servers for any logged event or custom error. 

The SQLCentric Error Log Monitoring Module will allow the user to turn it on/off, set the maximum number of times to be alerted to a particular error, and use the Error Message Console to select multiple error conditions to monitor.  You can add any custom error message or search condition to monitor as well.  Some of the most common things one can monitor and be alerted for are: 1105 Could not allocate space; 9002 The log file for database 'X'  is full. Back up the transaction log for the database to free up some log space.; Backup failed; Login failed for user 'X', etc. 

Max Job Intel-Alerts

One of the things we struggled with is to somehow limit the number of job alerts generated, without degrading the integrity of the monitoring system. If a failure is detected an alert will be sent. Now, we have decided to introduce some intelligence into the job alert system:

Max Job Alerts will not only allow the user to set the number of times to be alerted for a particular failed job; it will then reset the alert for the following run time of the job.  On the main status and group page views, a yellow warning light will appear for a job that has met the max job alert threshold, but is still detected as a failure.  

SQLCentric Scheduler

To make the scheduling option more readily available to the user, the SQLCentric admin module interface will manage the implementation of the schedule.  Here you will be able to set the desired runtime schedule, manually run SQLCentric, and view the current status of the runtime executables.

Graphical Status Displays

To give the user a graphical representation of some of the drill-down statuses, we have added graphs to some of the page views. These include the Disk Status, Buffer Cache/Memory Status, CPU Status, and Net Database File Growth in the DB Properties Page, where you can track overall database growth based on backup history.

Historical Run-Time Reporting and trend analysis

For historical reporting, the user will be able to select their servers, statistical measures, and date parameters, to generate trend analysis output based on the run-time of the SQLCentric monitoring system - with limited graphing capability.

Quick Reports

Quick reports will let the users generate a real-time snapshot of active monitored servers, for such things as server uptime, sql uptime, sql jobs, etc.