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Idera SQL Elements Review: A SQL Server Inventory Management Solution


Jan 27 2014

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Introduction

One of the challenges faced while working as a Database Administrator is the management of the SQL Server environment effectively. The SQL Server Environment in my recent workplace was quite unknown because of no DBAs being employed earlier. There was no clarity on the number of servers that were very busy, which ones were backed, current configuration settings used by each instance, status of database maintenance, the ones that are down or slow to respond etc. Attempts were made at developing scripts to determine the usage of servers in the environment but it was proving to be a tedious task. In this process, the issues were being addressed with delay and a lot of confusion had crept into the environment. There was a need for a quick and a comprehensive SQL Server Inventory Management solution to help understand the environment and to get a broad view of all the SQL Servers. While searching for a commercial and broad solution for this issue, Idera SQL Elements turned out to be a viable solution.

Why to Use Idera SQL Elements

SQL elements helps in the efficient discovery and exploration of one’s SQL Server Environment. The difficulty that an Administrator or an IT Team might face while tracking the large number of servers in an organization gets simplified. For instance, one could be working on a large environment and would need some help on classification of instances. SQL Elements is a perfect answer for this. Secondly, SQL Elements must be used because it helps an administrator to know the basics and hence it is an excellent tool for someone new to the environment. Thirdly, there are built-in default options to manage the servers and this can prevent the hassle of developing scripts as mentioned in the problem above. Fourthly, this tool does the health check and provides recommendations. Some of the recommendations are Volumes which are at the risk of filling up, TempDB configuration issues, Databases which are not backed up, Databases have not been checked for DBCC CHECKDB in the recent times, optimization for ad-hoc workloads etc.

Furthermore, SQL Elements must be used because it provides alerts about the various issues to the DBA and helps in fast identification and resolution of the issues. Finally, SQL Elements can help improve the efficiency and productivity of the administrator as well as the overall environment. This is precisely why the product deserves a review.

"This article has a total of 3 pages including this page. Click the links below to open all 3 pages in seperate windows to learn more about Idera SQL Elements. Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3"

Installation

Installing Idera SQL Elements is very easy. The installation wizard is self explanatory and the installation completes in less than 10 minutes.

Product Information

Idera SQL Elements: http://www.idera.com/productssolutions/sqlserver/sql-elements/productdetails/
Download Free Trial: http://www.idera.com/productssolutions/sqlserver/sql-elements/

Prerequisites & System Requirements for Installing Idera SQL Elements

  • Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 SP1+, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2+, Windows XP SP2+
  • Microsoft .Net 4.0+ and MDAC 2.8

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Monitored SQL Server Versions by Idera SQL Elements

  • SQL Server 2005 SP1+, SQL Server 2008 SP1, SQL Server 2008 R2, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014 CTP2
  • *This tool can monitor all editions of SQL Server including SQL Server Express Edition.

My Environment

Idera SQL Element was installed on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP2 (64-bit) running on Windows Server 2008 R2 SP2.

Installing Idera SQL Elements

Installing Idera SQL Elements is straight forward; all you would need would be SQL Server which will store two of the tool specific databases, Domain Service Account with System Administrator Privileges.

Once you have completed the successfully installation of Idera SQL Elements the Setup Wizard will open up the Idera SQL Elements. Once this opens up it will display a Configuration Wizard which will help you Discover and Add Instance automatically. Using this wizard you can Configure Email Alerts, Discover SQL Servers and Add Instance which you would like to build an inventory across your organizations.

How to configure Email Alerts in Idera SQL Elements

In Alert Emails wizard screen one can configure email (SMTP) settings to get alerts once this tool performs health checks on your environment. Once the health checks are performed this tool will provide recommendations and send email alerts for critical issue such as SQL Server Instance Slow to respond, Databases at the risk of becoming full, Drives at the risk of becoming full, Database is not accessible, SQL Server Instance Down, SQL Server Services Down etc.

Configure Idera SQL Elements to Send Emails

In Alert Emails wizard screen click Configure email (SMTP) settings to add Email Settings such as Email Information and Outgoing Mail Server Information and click OK to save the setting. Moreover, you can easily test the email settings by entering the recipient of test email within this screen.

Email Configuration Settings in Idera SQL Elements

Discovery and Auto-Registration is an excellent feature of Idera SQL Elements. This feature of the product scans your environment to discover SQL Server Instances (including Express Editions if there are any) to help keep you informed of newly installed instances across the environment. If you enable the auto-registration option then SQL Elements will automatically register new instances as it finds them. However, the product also offers a choice to the database administrator to manually enter the instance to manage with SQL Elements. Once you have made the choice click Next to continue with the configuration.

Discovery and Auto-Registration feature of Idera SQL Elements

In Add SQL Server Instances wizard screen you will be given multiple choices. First choice is to use the Add instance wizard to specify the instance which you want to monitor. Second choice will be to select the instances you want to monitor from the list of discovered instances. And the final choice is to monitor the entire discovered instance. Once you have made an appropriate choice click next to continue with the configuration.

Add SQL Server Instances in Idera SQL Elements Manually or monitor from the list of discovered instances

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