Following up on Kathy's great post, Announcing Beta for Database Performance Analyzer (DPA), which introduced some features in Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) 9.0.  I am writing today to tell you about some more DPA goodness heading your way.  In this post I will tell you about:

 

Before I get to the new features, I’d like to tell you why I love DPA. I didn’t decide I would become a DBA, go get training and then apply for DBA jobs.  It was quite the other way around.  I was a developer, there were DBA things to do and I won the honors (or lost depending on your perspective).  I still had my development duties so I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to DBA work.  In the early days of my DBA work, I was frequently over my head, combing Google for ways to interpret resource metrics to diagnose problems for development.  This made me what we call an “accidental DBA”.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how you come into it.  And for me, it was blessing b/c I discovered something I loved.  I loved the art of performance analysis so much that I made my own tools for it.  And they were so good that I mocked all of the 3rd party tools as being inferior to mine.  Even if my boss offered me budget to buy the tools I didn’t want them.  Then I discovered DPA at a SQL Saturday and was blown away that it did things the way I did them!  OK, maybe a little better…  As proof of how impressed I was, I applied for a DPA Product Management position… and here I am!  Telling you about it’s cool features.  And Basically put... There's no better way investigate database performance problems unless your users start complaining about buffer cache and queue depths instead of saying, "it's slow!"

 

 

If you are interested in being a part of the Beta program, please click the link below. The only requirement is that you must be an existing DPA/Ignite product owner under active maintenance.

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New Version Support

As you might expect, our new version will advance support for newer versions of database platforms.  DPA 9.0 is being tested on and will support SQL Server 2014, Oracle 12c (single tenant) and DB2 10.5.


SQL Advisor Drop Down

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One of the most popular new features according to a survey of DPA users is the SQL Advisor Drop Down.  DPA 8.3 already has SQL Advisors.  SQL Advisors are our way of offering you expert advice on what you might want to look at to enhance performance.  The way it works, DPA makes choices about what queries to analyze and the Advisors Tab will show you advisors sorted from most recent query to least recent query.  DPA 9.0 still does this, but sometimes you may want to know what DPA has to say about a particular query.  Now you can do this!  There's a drop down menu that lists the queries within the window of time you are analyzing.  When you select one, DPA will do an ad-hoc analysis for you!  This is especially useful for an accidental DBA because if you've got a new query going into production and you haven't the DBA experience to know what to scrutinize about that query, DPA can do it for you!  If you are an experienced DBA, it's a good place to start.  Experienced DBAs might appreciate time savings by deferring first level query analysis to a developer who uses this tool.  So no matter what your level of experience, this is handy!

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Resource Metrics Baselines

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People often ask how much is too high or low for particular resource metrics?  The answer is usually, "it depends."  Sometimes "experts" will give you specific values and when pressed, they admit that they sort of knee jerked an answer so it was far from scientific.  That's why the new Resource Metrics Baseline feature enables you to take the default we chose and allows you to override it.  So you get good rules of thumb out of the box and the ability to customize it for your environment.


Imagine you have a new DBA on call who doesn't know what to expect for a particular environment?  Voila!  Now he can.


 

Manager: "Hey Johnny New Guy, how's the Physical I/O look?" 
Johnny: "Periodically there are bursts significantly over the baseline, but it looks fine."

Manager: "Wow!  That was a quick answer.  This new guy is really working out."

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File & Drive Tabs

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What if you have lots of databases on your server and your I/O problems are less of a problem at the database level, but the aggregate I/O problem at the drive level is an issue?  That's why we've added a drive tab.  You can aggregate all of your file access wait time by the drive to see the busiest drives.   DriveTab.PNG

Of course now that you know which drive is getting hammered, what can you do?  Assuming that some volumes have enough IO while others are hammered, you might want to move some database files, but how can you choose?  Well, we've got a file tab where we show you your I/O wait times by file.  Now you can start shuffling which database files live on which drives based on their I/O load.

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Alert Blackouts

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You know those times you need to suspend alerting for some window of time?  Perhaps because of maintenance, for example.  Maybe it happens every week at that time?  Maybe you aren't part of the team doing the maintenance and you don't want to have to get up to do some manual work around that temporarily suspends the alerting.  Or maybe doing so would conflict with Saturday morning cartoons or Saturday Night Fever...  :-)  We've got ya covered!  We created an Alert Blackout tab under the Alerts screen.  It's a place to define recurring blackout windows.

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Current I/O

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One of the coolest new features in DPA 9.0 is the current tab in the new Storage I/O feature.  This screen provides easily understood indicators of workload & performance.  It will sort the files by the most active files/drives to the least active files/drives.  So if your users are complaining about performance right now and you suspect I/O, this can help you decide if your hunch is spot on or if you can rule it out.CurrentTabUnderStorageIo.PNG

 

If you are interested in being a part of the Beta program, please click the link below. The only requirement is that you must be an existing DPA/Ignite product owner under active maintenance.

DPA9.0Survey.png