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SQLFacts

Sometimes all you want to do is visualize the data. By combining SquaredUp’s powerful visualizations with SQLFacts’ powerful suite of free tools, you get one uber-powerful too!

Shawn Williams, SquaredUp

Challenge

The ugly truth when working with SQL Server is that there usually isn’t much money left over for monitoring once you pay for the license.  Most DBAs accept this reality by implementing a custom data collection.  But what happens when all you want is to visualize that data quickly? 

Solution

Since I’m not a SQL Server DBA, I need some help determining what data elements were essential enough to start collecting into some custom tables.  And that’s when I found SQLFacts. 

SQLFacts is a comprehensive suite of 32 tools that includes queries for database development, administration, and performance tuning.  After spending a few minutes getting up to speed with the tool, I ran the appropriate T-SQL, created my target tables, scheduled the agent task.  About 10 minutes after that, I was able to start making some dashboards! 

Dashboard walk-through

In about an hour, I was able to install SQLFacts and create four dashboards:

The SQLFacts Master dashboard

This dashboard details how to get started using SQLFacts.  It also includes an example Scalar tile that will change state based on a clever T-SQL statement with SQLFacts.  I also added the Page Life Expectancy (of questionable value these days), but neat to see.  And several server metrics that SQLFacts collects.

Wait Status

The Wait Status dashboard includes a lovely table of Observed Wait Summaries and two graphs of Wait History (in percentage and seconds).

File History

File History is a graph heavy dashboard that shows all of the databases in your SQL Server Instance.  Data from this dashboard is so important, you could is on a NOC or mission control dashboard easily.

Backups

SQL Server keeps track of its backup status, but even the most diligent Admins don’t check it daily.  This dashboard brings the backup data goodness to one place to share with the world.  Share this with your App Admins, and they will be glad to check this every day for you!

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