Since SolarWinds acquisition of Confio back in October 2013, customers have asked about the differences between Server & Application Monitor AppInsight for SQL and Database Performance Analyzer (formerly Confio Ignite).  Although both products monitor SQL Servers, their purposes are unique and different, two sides of the same coin.

Many of you are already enjoying AppInsight for SQL in SAM 6.0 with its awesome systems-focused views into SQL Server, you're finding out whose connected and how long, being notified before your database runs out of space, digging into to the error logs, and seeing a plethora of performance statistics.  AppInsight for SQL surpasses pure systems monitoring by answering the next question - what queries are slow.  But what if you need a deeper dive into to your queries to answer the next set of questions - is this query behaving abnormally?  Why is it running slow?  Is the user, application or client experiencing poor performance elsewhere?.. or causing it!?  You need Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) for this!


DPA pinpoints the most significant database performance issues by using response time analysis - analyzing the time applications, and ultimately end-users, wait for data from the database.  DPA decomposes responses time into distinct wait types and allows you to identify the exact cause of the slowness - down to a specific query from a specific source for a specific slice of time (down to the second if you want it). This provides you actionable insight into why your queries are slow and how to best resolve the them.

Thinking in network terms, it's similar to the difference between network performance monitoring (like NPM) and flow analysis (like NTA) - NPM tells you which ports/interfaces are slow, NTA tells you who and why.  Without NTA, you're left either guessing or pulling up desktop tools to diagnose the packets manually.  Without DPA, you are lacking the same visibility into your queries - so break out a cup of coffee for a late night of one-off query analysis.

So you may be asking yourself, which side of the coin do I need?    Databases are the backbone of modern applications and slow performance affects your business and costs you money.  In a converging infrastructure, slowness can come in many forms:  under-allocated resources, misconfiguration, resource contention, poorly constructed queries, untested code, to name a few.  Without visibility to both sides, you won't have the complete analysis of the problems you are working every day:


ProblemAppInsight for SQLDatabase Performance Analyzer
Urgent: The application is slow right nowUse performance thresholds and baselines to identify the current problem and isolate it to an infrastructure, application or database issue.  Leverage real time capabilities (process, events) for further diagnosis.Follow the histograms analysis (aka "the big bars") and quickly find the offending query, dissect it with response time analysis to discover why it is slow.
Planning: Growth of data and transaction loadReview performance and capacity trends of applications and databases on current resources and extrapolate if the they can handle the expected increase in load.Identify queries consuming the most time and explore possible solutions including query optimization, configuration tweaks and scaling hardware.
Development: Building, Testing and Releasing During development, monitor for changes in resource consumption and query times, drill down to real time information (processes, events) to investigate.Developers can analyze changes through the development life-cycle and use the same tool as the DBA to make sure that changes don't have hidden consequences in Production.
Herding Cats: Intermittent slow downsReview history of hosts, servers, applications and database and isolate the time frame and source of the problem.Quickly identify and drill down to the time of the problem by following the histogram analysis, dissect offending queries to find its source and why the query is slow.

AppInsight for SQL and DPA compliment each other by providing two views of the the database - one for System Administrators and one for DBA's and Developers. 


AppInsight for SQL

  • SQL Server infrastructure monitoring
  • Quickly visualize database status, capacity, logs and job status
  • Monitor the entire application stack  from virtualization to storage
  • Correlate between virtualization (VMware and HyperV) and server resource provisioning
  • Identify top slow SQL queries

AppInsight for SQL Video


Database Performance Analyzer

  • Database response time analysis for SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 & Sybase
  • Identifies top issues causing slow response times in just 4 clicks
  • Detailed wait type analysis of SQL queries
  • Correlates physical and VMware resources with database response time
  • Analyze performance from the perspective of programs, sessions, databases,...
Database Performance Analyzer for SQL Server Video

Putting AppInsight for SQL and Database Performance Analyzer together, you'll see both sides of the SQL Server coin... and this will only get better as DPA moves forward.