Proactive Alerting Prevents Downtime

READER: Bryan Nally
Wheeling, West Virginia
CONTACT: Pearl Knowledge Solutions
917-499-7622 * [email protected]

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"It would be very difficult for me to overstate the benefits of deploying SQLCentric," says Bryan Nally, a SQL Server DBA in Wheeling, West Virginia. "Now that I have been successfully using SQLCentric for several months, I can't image managing multiple SQL Servers effectively without it." The only DBA in a large firm, Nally uses SQLCentric to manage more than 100 databases on more than 25 SQL Servers. Before he began using SQLCentric, Nally was at the mercy of the limited alerting capabilities of SQLMail, which alerted him only after a job had already failed. Nally's environment was also encountering increased downtime because of insufficient disk space and SQL Server Agent problems, but he could find out about such problems only after it was too late to prevent server failures.

To meet his company's need for proactive alerting, Nally turned to Pearl Knowledge Solutions' SQLCentric, a Web-based database monitoring and alerting system. Because you deploy the software on your company's intranet, this zero-impact solution minimally affects SQL Server performance. You can use the intuitive administration module to manage servers, groups, and email operators and configure runtime parameters and disk-alert thresholds. The software integrates with your email system to provide automatic alerts based on the thresholds you set. The solution supports multiple SQL Server instances, is cluster-aware, and will alert you when one SQL Server fails over to another node in a cluster.

Nally is thrilled with the improvement in his monitoring capabilities since deploying SQLCentric. The product lets him set thresholds for alerting on many levels so that he can prevent failures before they happen. "The alerting capabilities are tremendous, far exceeding the limited applications of SQLMail," says Nally. "Within the first month of using SQLCentric, I was able to proactively prevent several very important SQL Server Agent jobs from failing because I was alerted immediately about drive-space issues and non-responsive ping attempts to overseas SQL Servers."

Another serious problem that Nally had faced was that it was difficult for other engineers and Help-desk staff to provide him with meaningful details about a potential SQL Server problem. "SQLCentric gives everyone (including management) the ability to view the health of the servers and drill down into problem areas to provide details that mean something," he says. The solution lets Nally provide management and other interested personnel with a comprehensive view of the status of the firm's SQL Servers without creating special logins or having to teach people to use Enterprise Manager. Now, Help-desk personnel can access the Web console and drill down into the SQL Server, providing Nally with exact details about a problem he needs to troubleshoot. Security is maintained because the Help-desk staff doesn't need special permissions for viewing these metrics.

Nally adds, "It's also worth noting the ease of installation and deployment. I had SQLCentric up and running within one hour of receiving my license. I would recommend this product to anyone using SQL Server as the backbone for an organization's data services. The one-stop-shop for SQL Server information is unmatched by any product I've evaluated, and the responsiveness of support is nearly immediate."

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