SQL Server Performance Monitoring Tools

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Being able to identify SQL Server performance issues at the drop of a hat is easier said than done.  Without a means to collect and analyze the performance data it is difficult at best to understand and correct the items in a timely manner. SQL Server ships with a handful of tools to include Profiler, Sysmon\Perfmon and the Database Engine Tuning Advisor\Index Tuning Wizard.  Much of the time these tools meet the needs for manual collection and analysis, but what if you need to go beyond the tools that are available and to resolve a performance issue quickly?


A handful of vendors have built SQL Server performance products that can be quickly deployed to collect performance metrics to focus resources on the most resource intensive portions of SQL Server.  These products include:

ID Product Monitoring Tuning SQL Server Windows Network Reporting Alerting Advice
1 ApexSQL Monitor *   * * *   *  
2 Confio Ignite * * * * * * * *
3 Embarcadero DB Performance Center XE *   *     *   *
4 Heroix Longitude *   * * * * *  
5 Idera's SQL diagnostic manager * * * *   * * *
6 Lepide SQL Storage Manager * * *     * * *
7 ManageEngine SQLDBManager Plus * * *     * * *
8 Microsoft's System Monitor *   * * *   *  
9 Microsoft's SQL Server Profiler *   *          
10 Microsoft's SQL Server Database Engine Tuning Advisor   * *     *   *
11 Pearl Knowledge Solution's SQL Centric *   * * * * *  
12 Precise i3 for SQL Server * * * * * * * *
13 Quest Products for SQL Server * * *     * * *
14 Red-Gate SQL Monitor * * *     * * *
15 SQL Power Tools *  * *  *  * *  * *
16 SQLRanger *   *          
17 SQL Sentry Performance Advisor * * * * * * *
18 SQLTreeo *   *     * * *
19  TNT Software's ELM Performance Manager *   * *   *    

Check out the complete listing of SQL Server tools.

Next Steps
  • If you do not have performance problems you are in the minority.  When they occur from adding more users or applications to your SQL Server, turn to these products as a means to improve the overall ROI on your platform.
  • Most of these products have a trial version for 15 to 30 days.  Check out the trial versions to see if they will meet your needs so you can focus on building and supporting your business applications.
  • These products are built by organization's who solely focus on performance issues.  As such, these products can save you a great deal of time as opposed to building an internal solution and not being confident of the results.
  • If you use another tool or work for a company that builds a performance monitoring or tuning tool for SQL Server please send an email to [email protected] so we can add it to the list.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Jeremy Kadlec Jeremy Kadlec is a Co-Founder, Editor and Author at MSSQLTips.com with more than 300 contributions. He is also the CTO @ Edgewood Solutions and a six-time SQL Server MVP. Jeremy brings 20+ years of SQL Server DBA and Developer experience to the community after earning a bachelor's degree from SSU and master's from UMBC.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Monday, May 25, 2015 - 3:15:43 AM - sam Back To Top (37271)

Recommend a database performance diagnostic tool to be used and briefly describe the features and functions the database performance diagnostic tool for SQL 2014

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - 12:49:14 PM - George Zhou Back To Top (36580)

Very nice article, thank you Jeremy, we have 200+ SQL instances, we are planning to purchase SQL server monitor tools for half of them, considering the price and tool quality, I tested 3 tools so far, Spotlight, SQLDM, SQL sentry, I like the SQLDM interface, easy to find many useful info, however, seems like it has more watcher overhead, Spotlight covers SSAS but has some issues with reuse the log of the playback database, just started to try SQL sentry, seems hard to find info, not licenses are seperate on many parts regarding SQL monitoring, I would appreciate any one sharing from end user's experience.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 - 11:30:42 AM - UnoT Back To Top (35842)

An excellent free tool is SQL Performance Monitor.  It has a great UI and give a very wide spectrum of information.

This definitely competes with functionality with even the paid apps.

You can get it here:




Monday, October 27, 2014 - 9:04:27 AM - marykaichini Back To Top (35077)

I think I can add one more product where SQL monitoring is one part of the whole monitoring options - Anturis, a cloud-based all in one monitoring with various alerts and troubleshooting.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 7:52:48 AM - Colin Allen Back To Top (35034)

MDW does a good job, PAL deserves a mention, Activity Monitor seems seldom used, Brent Ozars Blitz scripts & askbrent, performance dashboard, Adams SP_WhoIsActive, plus several SQL Monitoring tools on codeplex including SQL Live Monitor which I quite like.

You will have noticed all of the above are free, I like a lot of the paid for tools but as a contractor free is normally the only option.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 9:22:18 AM - Francis Back To Top (34261)

You missed a free app: "SQLRanger". It can be found at www.sqlranger.com. It doesn't have all of the functionality of the paid apps, but it does everything I need for free. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 1:10:07 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (34098)


Congrats on your product and thank you for the post.

Let me get this tip updated with many of the new products.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
Community Co-Leader

Monday, August 11, 2014 - 9:57:58 PM - al Back To Top (34088)


My company wrote a tool that is entirely SQL Server focussed as opposed to enterprise monitoring that happens to include sql server. It is also at a price point I think a lot of people will be interested in - please add it to your list if you think it is relevant.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 2:47:45 AM - Joe Shestak Back To Top (30541)

Very nice comparision of SQL monitoring tools,

I want to add one more SQL monitoring tools in thi list. I want to suggest you "MindArray IPM". MindArray IPM is a unified, easy-to-use, all-in-one performance management software that provides detailed SQL server database health and helps in troubleshooting slow queries by drilling down to SQL level performance details.

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 4:14:04 AM - IvoYordanov Back To Top (30515)


I've been using pandora to monitor my sql server instance and it may come in handy to you guys. I'm a starter on pandora but it seems very useful you can find more information on it in the following webpage: http://pandorafms.com/Producto/what-is-pandorafms/en



Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 4:44:35 AM - Sql DBA Back To Top (27307)

This is a very useful  information.

can you get the cost comparison between these tools.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 10:21:49 AM - Praveen Back To Top (26937)

Hi Jeremy,

A very useful comparison sheet.

Also, FYI

SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor (SAM) now delivers comprehensive SQL database server monitoring in a simple, intuitive, easy to use manner that would aid anyone, from novice systems administrators to veteran DBAs alike, identify both common and complex SQL issues in their environment. 

Also, you can visit the link given below to see the features available in AppInsight:





Friday, June 7, 2013 - 6:34:49 AM - William Back To Top (25332)

Hi jereny 

Thanks for your reply and Adding the Lepide SQL Storage Manager  in your splendid comparision of SQL server Monioring tool 

Your Comparision definitely helping in different community and resolving the doubts of many DBAs 

I have personally refering your article in some places 



Monday, June 3, 2013 - 6:27:19 PM - Nicole Garris Back To Top (25266)

Did you consider Microsoft's Management Data Warehouse? Seems to me that it is a partial solution in that it collects performance information to a database, and also includes reports. I'm thinking of using it (once I can get it working!) and would really like your opinion on it.

Monday, June 3, 2013 - 4:17:45 AM - Philipp Back To Top (25250)

Hi Jeremy,

Very interesting posting indeed. FYI Found recently that in addition to i3 Precise released a new tool called SQLYzer which is very easy to install and provide nice monitoring/tuning feature. I liked the trial version and I'm currently trying to persuad my boss to buy licenses.



Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 2:52:46 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (21162)


Thank you for the post.  I have updated the tip to include Lepide's tool.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
Community Co-Leader

Monday, December 24, 2012 - 5:49:10 AM - William Back To Top (21113)

Very nice comparision of SQL monitoring tools ...really appreciable

I think some important tools are miising in the comaprision listingas mentioned jason

Lepide SQL Storage Manager is one of them which is the most cost effective solution is this category






Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 1:13:35 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (21062)


I posted a few quick updates to this tip today.  I plan on additional updates in the future.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec
Community Co-Leader

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 - 5:54:37 PM - Jeremy Kadlec Back To Top (19473)


Agreed.  I need to update this tip with all of the product changes from the last few years.

Thank you,
Jeremy Kadlec

Monday, September 10, 2012 - 7:08:30 PM - Jason Back To Top (19458)

You're missing an important player: Confio's Ignite.  I've been really impressed with the full featured trial version so far:



Friday, July 24, 2009 - 5:16:03 AM - Dr DBA Back To Top (3774)

Nice list of vendors. SQL server monitoring tools have come a long way over the years and I believe every shop should have some. I would like to point out the there is an error on your matrix. The Quest SQL server (Spotlight is it's name) does monitor/alert/advice on  Windows OS and networking. I have been using this product for 10 years now and have also evaluated most of the other products. It seems that time and time again it works the best and no I do not work and/or get kick backs from Quest. Every DBA / Developer I have shown this product to purchase it. It just works that well. 

There is a enterprise version that will colllect information/stats from all your SQL servers (including Windows and network stats) and stores them into a centralized database. From that you can use and/or create customized reports it get everything you ever wanted to know. We have used this product to help determine which SQL servers would best operate in a consolidated server, meaning a server with several instances of SQL server installed.

 To all the readers, take my advice and get some tools. It really make life a lot easier.




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