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Product Manager
Product Manager

Release Candidate #3 of SolarWinds® DPA 2020.4 is Now Available!

We’re pleased to announce that the Third Release Candidate of SolarWinds® DPA 2020.4 is now available.

You can find the available release candidates for DPA in the SolarWinds® Customer Portal.

DPA 2020.4 RC3 resolves a problem experienced by a few customers where the DPA Server periodically crashes after a few days.

[Upgrade Now]

In this release, you’ll find the following enhancements:

  • Find SQL – New SQL Diagnostics Workflow – Find SQL, a powerful new DPA feature, allows you to search for and diagnose problems involving specific queries. Typically, DPA displays the top “N” slowest queries. Now you can search for and analyze any query using whatever contextual information you know about the problem. 
    • Even if you have no idea of the query statement itself, you can search for queries:
      • Executed by particular database user(s)
      • Originated from specific hosts(s)
      • Ran as part of a specific application(s)
      • Queried specific database(s)
      • Combine any or all of the filters above
    •  If you know anything about the content of a query statement, you can enhance the search for queries matching the whole or a portion of a SQL statement, such as just finding queries referencing specific tables or column names.

Example Find SQL Query 02.png

  • Microsoft SQL Server TempDB Analysis - SQL Server leverages the TempDB database to store temporary, active transaction data it can’t maintain in memory. The health and resources of the TempDB are critical for query execution and performance. DPA now tracks resources and alerts on SQL Server TempDB and TempDB Log File health.
  • Microsoft SQL Server Backup Analysis – The success and frequency of backing up SQL Server Databases and Transaction Logs are important to the recoverability of those databases. DPA now tracks backup storage assets and activity (or the lack of it). In addition to alerting on backup policy or backup storage violations, DPA allows you to identify whether concurrent backup jobs are impacting query performance.
  • Enhanced Charts for Resource Metrics – Charts for all resource metrics are getting an upgrade with improved presentation and capabilities.

New Nova Resource Graphs screen capture.png

  • New Security Role for User Management – A new “User Manager” role has been created, which has the ability to administrate DPA users without any access to data DPA collects from monitored database instances or the analysis of this data. Companies can leverage this role to provide separation of duties between DPA user management and DPA administration.
  • DPA Repository Support for MySQL 8 – Use of MySQL 8 for DPA Repositories is now supported.
  • Reduced Privilege Registration of Databases – DPA Administrators can now register Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and SAP ASE (Sybase) DB instances for analysis with reduced privilege credentials (i.e., not requiring DB System Administrator username/password).
  • Support analysis of IBM Db2 11.5 Databases 

View the release notes on support.solarwinds.com to learn more about the release. Release candidates are fully supported in production environments.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on this release candidate as you begin to use these new features in your day-to-day workflow.

9 Replies

Installed DPA 2020.4 this morning, no issues with installing (brand new server). After a few hours of data gathering I could not wait anymore so I had to try it out.

Find SQL: Very nice feature! Simple/advanced mode: feel it’s not that intuitively how to alter that.

New graphs in resources, I like! TempDB usage is very nice. The backup graphs, not sure how to use many of them.

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Product Manager
Product Manager

Hi @Seashore,

Thanks for the feedback! 

On your comment of the simple/advanced mode not being intuitive: Is it the toggling between simple/advanced that isn't intuitive or how to use simple vs. advanced mode syntax and options?

By the way, did you follow the links to the FindSQL documentation, and was the content there helpful? Anything missing or confusing?  

On the backup graphs, were there any particular graphs you would like to see better descriptions of?

Here's some more information for 3 of these:

  • Active Backup Jobs - See if spikes (e.g., For a short period of time have 5 backups happening) correspond to increases in query I/O wait times.
  • Size of Transaction Logs Not Yet Archived - Identify what periods of time the transaction activity spikes, so that you can increase the frequency of backups in those intervals to avoid running out of space for the transaction logs. Since the size of transaction logs typically corresponds to transaction change activity, this can also be used to track that as well.
  • Sum of All Backup Assets Required for Recovery of All DBs - If a restore/recovery of an instance were required to the same or an alternate host, this tracks how much space would have to be available to restore the most recent full backup, most recent subsequent differential, and all transaction logs after the last backup. Not having enough space to restore all these assets could lead to more complicated recovery scenarios. 

 

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Thanks for the info!

Simple/advanced: I would think of the popup in FindSQL as a help-text/tips-text. I would not expect to have a switch there. The link that alters between simple and advanced could easily be mistaken for a link to additional help or so. For filters there is a distinct button, but for simple/advanced its a link in a popup. Easy when you know about it but could be clearer. 

FindSQL documentation. Just briefed over. Think the tool is simple to use without help, except for above 🙂
Fund though that on https://www.solarwinds.com/documentation/dpa/flare/20204/content/dpa-manage-sql-statements.htm there is text missing.

Backups, the lab server that I monitored was not that representative and I was a bit to eager to test. Understand all the graphs meaning, maybe not always the practical usage. I use SAM as well for many of these things. Two thoughts, on several graphs it would be nice to see the data per database. What database is missing backups? What database is filling it's log. And also, it would be nice to be able to exclude some database from this report as the might be databases that don't need backup - thus clouding the graphs. 

Feel free to ask more! We have been a solarwinds partner for over 15 years and also have a team of SQL DBA's among one MCM, MS Certified Master. 

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Product Manager
Product Manager

Hi @Seashore 

FYI:  DPA 2020.4 RC2 is now out. 

Regarding the simple/advanced switch for FindSQL being inside an information box, I totally agree that is unexpected. We're going to adjust that to a different mechanism. Hopefully, we can fit that into the final release candidate. 

On your other comment about the resource graphs, those graphs are currently limited to metrics at the DB instance level. However, for the backup related alerts, we've made those output the list of databases not meeting the thresholds.

There are several metrics, that we'd like the ability to provide not only finer granularity at the db level but in some cases at the table level. What would you think about something like upon clicking the server/instance level graph causing a details table to display showing rows for individual databases or tables depending on the metric? 

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Hi @cpriddy 

Thanks for the info, will try to install RC2 today.

About drilling down to see a table with the detailed info, sound good. Or just hoover above the graph to get a popup with the info.

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FYI: Also, @cpriddy I put in a case to support today about a potential bug in DPA. Error upon changing to winter time. #00642332 

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Product Manager
Product Manager

Thanks @Seashore 

Have you had a chance to download the second release candidate DPA 2020.4 RC2 to see if the problem is now fixed? 

By the way, any other feedback on the new resource metrics graphs and the new FindSQL SQL filter and text search capability? I'm hungry for any additional feedback on those features. 

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Hi @cpriddy 

Installed RC2 today, fresh install. Everything seem to be working. Has tested several things. Created new resources and found graphs for them as well.

It looks so much better now than before 🙂

One feature I used a lot with old graphs was seeing graphs for 6 months/1 year. To fast and easy see long term trends.As I did a fresh install I didn't have that much data to test that but hope it will work fast an nice now also.

Showed the new look and features to my DBA colleges and they liked it as well. Good work!

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@cpriddy wrote:

 

DPA 2020.4 RC2 adds support for analyzing IBM Db2 11.5 databases


@cpriddy   I'm assuming this just means it has been tested and nothing broke?

Yet, I see DPA is still using the db2jcc-3.64.114.jar file - that is a  Db2 9.7 Fixpack 8 JDBC Type 3 driver.

https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSEPGG_11.5.0/com.ibm.db2.luw.apdv.java.doc/src/tpc/imjc...
"The IBM Data Server Driver for JDBC and SQLJ is upward compatible with the next version of a DB2 database if the applications under which the driver runs use no new features"

So - only 9.7 FP8 features can be used by DPA. No 10.1, 10.5, 11.1 or 11.5 features. And technically, not upwardly compatible with V11.x of Db2.

Also JDBC 3 drivers are no longer supported or provided in Db2 11.5 - only JDBC 4 drivers:

https://www.ibm.com/support/knowledgecenter/SSEPGG_11.5.0/com.ibm.db2.luw.apdv.java.doc/src/tpc/imjc...
Important: db2jcc.jar and sqlj.zip are no longer supported. Starting with the version of the IBM Data Server Driver for JDBC and SQLJ that is delivered with Db2 Version 11.5, db2jcc.jar and sqlj.zip are not included.

It doesn't seem that there has actually been much effort made as far as looking at new features in Db2 11.5 or actually enhancing monitoring. 

Are there any plans to genuinely enhance DPA Db2 monitoring?

 

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