sqlSentry Relieves Your SQL Server Job Headaches

Software Spotlight








$995 per SQL Server instance*
$295 per Windows Task Scheduler instance

As a DBA, you probably begin your day by reviewing all the Microsoft SQL Server jobs that ran the night before. This is by no means an easy task. It is even more difficult if you have more than one SQL Server to monitor, which is the norm nowadays.

Jobs help you manage your SQL Servers. Enterprise Manager provides the minimum functions you’ll need to sort things out. If you have more than one SQL Server to monitor, you’ll need to check jobs on each and every server. Many of you are familiar with how frustrating it can be to manage multiple jobs across multiple servers in previous versions of SQL Server. Unfortunately, managing jobs with SQL Server 2005 didn’t get any easier.

The real issue begins, however, when you want to do job load balancing. For example, what if your backup device is being used by several jobs of the same time duration? Well, because SQL Server does not provide a way for you to measure the duration of all the jobs across all servers, load balancing is extremely hard to work out.

Fortunately, sqlSentry is a tool that can help alleviate you of the headache associated with managing multiple SQL Server jobs on multiple SQL Servers. It also works just as well with Windows Task Scheduler.

Product Overview

Before I begin, I want to point out that there are several important configuration options available during installation of sqlSentry. The first one is when you select the server where the product will store its data. For optimal performance sqlSentry stores data in its own database. The second one has to do with e-mail. Go ahead and configure the e-mail settings so you can receive notifications. As you’ll see, alerts are an extremely valuable feature of this product. Both of these settings can be set later, but why wait? This version of sqlSentry has a new Quick Start Wizard to help get you quickly through the deployment process.

The main window consists of three sections: the Navigator pane, the Display area, and the General Actions pane. Just about everything you’ll need to manage your jobs is available here.

The Navigator

From the Navigator pane, you can add SQL Servers and Task Schedulers that you are going to monitor. It provides a standard SQL Server registration dialog. You can register SQL Server versions 7, 2000, and 2005. The ability to register SQL Server 2005 is a major recent enhancement.

All the jobs, maintenance plans, DTS, alerts, Reporting Services reports, Task Scheduler tasks, and SQL Server Agent logs are displayed under the named nodes. Whenever a failed event occurs, the related node turns red, which helps you identify the failed instance.

Whenever you click a node, relevant jobs are displayed in a user-friendly screen that lets you visually see the color-coded job schedule and individual job status. For each selected node, a new tab will open giving you the option of viewing multiple nodes at one time.

sqlSentry provides extensive support for SQL Server jobs. Simply put, you do not have to open Enterprise Manager to make modifications to jobs. This is very valuable as you can manage and monitor all the jobs from one place.

From the Navigator you can jump to the next instance, the last instance, and the last failure location. This is another handy option as these are the most common instances that DBAs look for.

Another handy option is the ability to add notes to jobs. Because sqlSentry supports multiple users, you can add a note for — and read the notes from — other users. When another user logs in he or she can quickly identify all the jobs that have notes by an additional glyph on the calendar instance.

For a great way to share info between users, enable the Send Email for the Notes Changed condition, which will send the contents of a note to all team members whenever one is added or changed. For a quick review of all notes currently in the system, view the Notes Log.


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