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Beta News : Adding a Databases tab to Orion!

Level 12

For about a year now, The Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) team has been planning how we'll integrate DPA into the Orion suite.  One of the first questions was, “where will DPA content be presented in Orion?”  And we felt that since Server Application Monitor (SAM) provides the Applications tab, DPA should add a Databases tab.  But since SAM also monitors databases, we decided the Databases tab should be a home for all things database whether they come from SAM or DPA.  In this post I’ll show you the Databases Summary view.  I hope you like what you see and invite you to consider joining The Beta which is open to customers with both DPA and Orion products, like SAM, in active maintenance. 

To try it out, please fill out this short survey.


In this 3 part series, I'm going to tell you about :

NOTICE : This is BETA, so there is no promise that what you see here will be delivered as is.


DATABASES TAB IN ORION!  Based on conversations I've had with Solarwinds customers showing interest in DPA, those 4 words may be all they wanted to hear. Integrating DPA with Orion will add a "Databases" tab.  And it's not just for DPA!  We're making this a home for all of your database monitoring.  So if you also use SAM to monitor some databases, clicking the Databases tab will take you to the Databases Summary View which provides a dashboard style glance at database performance across your organization.  And if you also use AppInsight for SQL to monitor your databases, you can get to it from here too!


Database Instances : This is one of the most prominent resources on the Databases Summary screen.  The red and yellow boxes summarize the number of critical issues and warnings detected.  They are also buttons that allow you to filter your list of database instances to reveal the instances with critical and/or warning status in either SAM or DPA.  DPA reveals KPIs on the right which indicate potential problems i.e. wait time, query advice, cpu, memory, disk and sessions.  SAM reveals it's status on the icon at the left of each row, and of course you get to see the node status like you are accustomed to in Orion.  So if you monitor a database instance with SAM and DPA, you get a health perspective and a performance perspective.  Clicking on one of the instances takes you to the Database Instance View.  We'll cover that view in my next postClicking on the KPIs from DPA on the right takes you to DPA's Database Instance View, which will be a sub-view if you are also monitoring with AppInsight for SQL.


Advisors : One of the most popular features for people that are new to DPA are the Advisors. Every instance monitored by DPA receives hourly analysis that provides information about queries that DPA thinks you should look at.  So this is a place you can find ideas for improving performance that you might not have noticed.  Advisors are either critical, warning or informational. When you click on an advisor message, it will open a detailed analysis in a new window.

They will tell you things like:

  • The most significant wait type.
  • Performance throughout the day.
  • When a query used a significant share of CPU or memory resources.
  • When a query has accounted for greater execution time in one hour vs another.
  • When an index may help.
  • When a query is being serviced by multiple execution plans. 
    This can cause significant performance issues as seen in the 2nd and 3rd image of this set.
SummaryAdvisors.JPGAdvisor.png AdvisorMultiplePlans.png

Instances With Highest Wait Time : Something that may be new you, is the concept of database wait time analysis AKA response time analysis.  Expert DBAs have used this technique for over a decade to accurately identify why queries are slow and what can be done about it. This isn't a dissertation on wait time so I've provided links to more detail below.  For now, let's just say you can ask a database instance why queries are slow, and it will tell you! DPA continuously polls database instances, recording all of those answers so it can produce this histogram that tells you which of your database instances are causing the most end user wait time over the past 2 weeks.

Information about "Response Time Analysis" AKA "Wait Time Analysis"


In my next post, I'll show you some cool ways you can identify performance bottlenecks at the instance level.  And keeping with tradition, I'm saving the best for the last post!  Stay tuned.


About the Author
I'm an IT nomad whose accumulated a well rounded collection of skills. I've functioned as technical contributor and as a manager. I'm creative and like to innovate. Web Designer turned Developer turned DBA, turned System Engineer, turned Manager. I enjoy new challenges. I'm interested in the burgeoning fields of Big Data and Cloud Technology. I possess a boundless desire to learn then teach. I'm passionate about complex problem solving, enjoy forensic investigation & presenting discoveries. I've got experience analyzing distributed systems to identify performance bottlenecks and optimization opportunities.