Editors’ Choice for Innovation

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Database Performance Analyzer 10 aims to reduce wait times

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer tracks and analyzes wait time in database server processes in an effort to find the cause of performance problems. Version 10 adds MySQL compatibility.

Each quarter, the editors at SearchOracle and SearchSQLServer recognize a product for innovation and market impact. The product selected this quarter is SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer 10.0, from SolarWinds Worldwide LLC.

PRODUCT NAME: SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer 10

RELEASE DATE: Sept. 8, 2015

What it does

SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) is a tool designed to help users to identify and resolve performance problems in database management systems. It's best-known for a wait-time analysis capability designed to pinpoint processes in a database server that are creating slowdowns and bottlenecks and then send reports about them to database administrators (DBAs). The software already could be used to monitor Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server, both on-premises and in the Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds; it also previously supported IBM's DB2 database and SAP's Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) platform. Version 10 adds support for MySQL, the popular open source database now owned by Oracle.

Why it matters

Many DBAs are working progressively longer hours, often losing nights and weekends to their jobs. Database performance management tools such as Database Performance Analyzer are designed to help combat that problem. By tracking and analyzing "wait time" in applications and presenting data about slow-running processes in graphs, DPA enables DBAs to see at-a-glance which SQL statements are causing the biggest performance problems. That can streamline efforts to troubleshoot and resolve database issues, freeing up DBAs to move on to other work -- or to go home.

What users say

BI Worldwide is a Minneapolis-based company that helps large corporate clients improve the effectiveness of their sales and marketing activities. It also designs customized employee incentive programs, a part of the business that is run on a combination of Oracle Database and MySQL servers. Brian Jewell, BI Worldwide's director of systems and databases, uses Database Performance Analyzer to monitor those databases, as well as SQL Server instances supporting other business applications. Jewell said his favorite thing about DPA is that it serves as a "common interface across everything" in the organization.

Furthermore, despite being a multinational company, BI Worldwide runs the standard edition of Oracle Database 11g and 12c, not the enterprise edition, which includes Oracle's package of diagnostics and tuning tools. Since DPA offers some of the same components that the Oracle package does, it helps BI Worldwide stick with the much less expensive standard edition software, according to Jewell.

Brian Peasland is lead DBA at NAU Country Insurance Co. in Ramsey, Minn., and an expert contributor to SearchOracle. His company purchased the DPA software before he started working there. Normally, he said, he doesn't use third-party products, but he makes an exception for DPA, using it alongside the Oracle diagnostics and tuning package. In an article published on SearchOracle last May, Peasland said he has set up DPA to monitor his Oracle production databases and send him a report of the top 15 SQL statements of the past week, based on the amount of time they take to run. This lets him see which SQL statements are taking the longest time to complete and identify ones that have become problems.

Peasland also uses the SolarWinds software to look at where problematic statements are hanging up so he can find the source of the slowdown -- wait time at the CPU, for example. In particular, Peasland likes DPA's use of data visualization to make performance issues easy to see in a report.

"My favorite SQL tools are those that provide me with a visual representation that lets me get to the root cause of a performance problem quickly," he wrote.

Drilldown       

  • Wait-time analysis capabilities can enable users of the SolarWinds tool to pinpoint database performance problems with just a few mouse clicks, the vendor said.
  • Monitors performance across all types of database deployments: on-premises, in the cloud and on VMware virtual servers.
  • Analytics drilldown feature lets users go all the way down to the level of seconds in tracking performance issues.
  • Helps Oracle DBAs optimize performance across Oracle Database and MySQL database via a shared toolset.

Pricing

Pricing for SolarWinds Database Performance Analyzer 10 starts at $1,995 for Oracle Database Standard Edition, MySQL and SQL Server, and $3,495 for Oracle Database Enterprise Edition, DB2 and SAP ASE.

Next Steps

The newest release of MySQL is intended for a deeper integration with Oracle

The SolarWinds Log and Event Manager collects and analyzes data to find threats

Consultant Rick Sherman offers some tips on boosting the performance of relational databases

This was last published in December 2015

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