I was asked a few months ago to allow some advertising on my blog. I hadn’t given the idea a whole lot of thought but was reminded again today about the request. For now, I think I will just give the requester a mention and add the tool he wants advertised to the growing list of tools that I have been compiling.
The tool looks like it has some merit and seems like it would be worth the trial. The tool is called DBDefence. You can find more about it here. The purpose of this tool is to help encrypt your databases – outside of the databases and prevent people from prying too far into what they shouldn’t. I haven’t yet tested the tool – but it seems quite interesting.
And since I have a captive audience already, I will add one more tool to the mix. Like DBDefence, this other tool is security focused. In SQL Server there is a bug that allows the savvy to view the unencrypted password of the SQL accounts that have logged in since last service start. One of the passwords that falls into this category is that of the sa account. Sentrigo has a tool that will clear that password from memory so it can no longer be viewed in clear text. The name of the tool is Passwordizer. You can check it out from here.
After posting a database tools list yesterday, I found that there were things that I had forgotten and a couple of things that i hadn’t even considered. In thinking about this, I found myself trying to find a script that I knew I had seen and that I wanted to put on the list.
Trying to find the script got me a bit out of sorts. I knew I could probably find it on my share at work with my scripts (which reminds me that I really need to get a dropbox or put them all on a thumbdrive to keep with me). But, I wasn’t at work and wanted to locate this cool script that I knew was recommended by another prominent person (more about that later). So I pulled out my googlefu.
I tried searching the web for this blog that had the script and tried several combinations of the key words I knew would help me find it. In doing this search, I came across a few blogs that had created a list of tools that database professionals should check out. Here is a short list of the blogs I found.
All of these lists are great compilations. I also found one more list, but found that it was just a copy of Aaron’s list. This was extremely disappointing. Just reference the list or come up with a list of your own. A SQL Server MVP should never have to copy content from another MVP. It’s not even that the list is the same – it was a copy of the entire post by Aaron. I personally hold MVPs to a higher standard and find it disappointing and aggravating when one is copying content and is esteemed as a person who has contributed much to the community.
None of these lists had what I the item for which I was looking. The item that I wanted was a script that Brent Ozar (blog) had given high compliments to a few months back. It was a script that, he said “a script that’s like my Blitz server takeover script, but even more advanced. Love it!” Too bad I couldn’t remember the person, script or wording he used when I was trying to find the script. Better yet, the page with the reference popped up several times in my searches. Well, needless to say, I pinged the community and Brent on twitter and Brent came through. Here are a few more items to add to the list of tools you should have or try.
- 60 Minute Blitz Script (Brent Ozar) – check it out. It will be worth your time. If you looked at the other lists you will also see that this script is there and highly recommended.
- Diagnostic Information Queries (Glenn Berry) – this was the script I was trying to find. This is the script that Brent has given high praise – give it a look.
- sp_whoisactive (Adam Mechanic) – Newest version as of this post is 10.76 and is listed as a beta version.
- SSMS ToolsPack (Mladen Prajdic)
So there you have it. Between my two lists and these other great lists – you should have a great toolbox.
Recently I have posted a couple of articles about various database or SQL tools either for maintenance or for benchmarking. Those posts work well in conjunction with a post several months back that you can read here. These posts made me think a bit harder about the tools that I use to do the job.
In thinking about those tools, I realized that I did not have a list of what I have used or do currently use. Thus, I went through an exercise compiling my list of tools. Some of these tools are currently in use, some are items that I have used in the past and was impressed by the tool. And someday in the future I will finish compiling the list of all of the tools that I have encountered over the past year or two that I have intended to test.
Without further adieu:
- SSMS Addins – This is available on codeplex. One of the features that intrigues me is the ability to script out the data from the table.
- OpenDBDiff - This one seems to have promise. Similar in function to Visual Studio 2010 or RedGate SQL compare tools, this one is free and compares the schema and objects. If you are on a tight budget and need to be able to compare two databases, this just might be the tool to try.
- SQL Monitor – A tool to monitor various things in SQL Server like jobs and executing queries. Kind of low-level, but I figured I would test this app out and see if it had some merit.
- SQL nexus – This is a tool to help evaluate performance issues with SQL Server. You can evaluate wait stats along with PSSDiag files.
- SQL Powershell Extensions – I recently learned of this tool on Codeplex. This is a high priority item for me to download and test. This tool helps to create “intuitive functions around the SMO objects.”
- PowerShellPack - Download from Microsoft to enhance the powershell experience.
- Data Dictionary – This software is on my list to evaluate. It is mostly out of curiosity because I have something in place to create data dictionaries already. This tool allows you to update the extended properties from a GUI.
- US Census Data – I think this one is intriguing as a sample data set.
- SQL Schema Source Control – This is an SVN plugin
- ScriptDB4SVn - Another SVN Plugin to get your database projects into source control.
- SQL Source Control (RedGate) – Do you detect a theme going on now? This is a commercial product to integrate into SVN or TFS. It integrates into SSMS and has received many great reviews. I have seen it in use and it is a good product.
- SQL Diagnostic Manager (Idera) – I used this tool a lot a few years back. The tool has gotten better since. I need to get another license for it and try it again.
- Confio Ignite – I was a part of a focus group testing this tool. I was highly impressed by the tool. Ignite allows you to gather waitstats and other diagnostic information to monitor the health of the server. I would highly recommend this tool.
- TOAD (Quest Software) – I used this tool a few years ago and liked it. This tool is useful for determining quickly the alternatives to writing your query in a few different ways and to view the performance impact of those changes.
- DBA Bundle and Developer Bundle (RedGate) – Alternatively, you could look for the Toolbelt by RedGate. The Bundles are chock full of high value great tools to do the job.
- SQL Scripts Manager – This is a collection of Scripts from various contributors that has been made available for free by our friends at RedGate.
- Dr. DMV – Glenn Alan Berry has some awesome scripts for use on your 2005 and 2008 servers. These scripts utilize greatly the DMVs in SQL Server.
- DBA Dashboard – This is a set of reports put together to help you identify resource usage and the source of that resource consumption.
- SQLPing3 – Security type tool to help you discover SQL Servers on the network.
- Discovery Wizard for SQL Server (Quest Software) – A tool to help discover SQL Instances on the network.
- SQLCentric - By Robert Pearl, this tool is a web based monitoring and alerting tool for your SQL Servers.
- Power Architect – I used this tool largely for helping to document some data models. This is a reasonably priced tool and it works quite well.
- SQLIO - This one is from our friends at Microsoft and I think the name explains it.
- SQLIOSim - Another tool from Microsoft that I think the name explains it.
- IOMeter – Another IO tool
- GeekBench - This tool will quickly measure processor and memory and provide some benchmarks.
- Plan Explorer (SQLSentry) – I find this tool extremely useful. The execution plans are much easier to read in this tool than in SSMS. I use both to compare and contrast and am able to more quickly ascertain the pain points of a query. The readability of Plan Explorer is great and the additional features really help augment your abilities to query tune based on Execution Plans.
There you have it! That is quite the list. I don’t have all of these installed but would recommend trying some of the items out and getting them in your toolbox. A good recommendation would be to install them into a virtual machine while you are testing the software. One of my goals for the year is to actually get all of my preferred tools installed into a VM that I can port with me. By doing so, then I would have them readily available with little to no downtime while trying to install them.
If you have any tools that you think are great and should be in the DB Professional toolbox, please leave a comment or drop me a note.
As database professionals, we have a need to benchmark performance of the database, processes, and essentially overall performance. When benchmarking, it is preferable to get a baseline and then run the same benchmark tests on a periodic basis and compare those results to the baseline.
Recently I was reminded of a couple of tools that should be in every DB Professionals vocabulary and tool set. Each one is used for a different purpose. Those tools are:
CPU-Z is a freeware app that helps you gather information about motherboard, CPU, and memory. It helps you to determine processor usage and if you are running your hardware at an optimal level.
TPC-E simulates the OLTP workload. It is designed to be representative of OLTP systems and is scalable.
Both of these tools can be of great use to the database professional. Check them out and see what you can learn by using them.