SQL CoPilot–A Software Review
As the only DBA in a 24 x7, mission critical shop (I work in a hospital) managing over 60 instances of SQL Server ranging from version 8 to 11; I am ALWAYS on the lookout for Software that will help me manage instances. Heck, who am I kidding. I want a cheap piece of software (since I have NO software budget to speak of) that tells me what I need to know when I need to know it and be able to present it to the “powers that be” so I can argue for more RAM, more CPU cycles and more SAN space. And that is exactly what SQL CoPilot does for me as well as many other things.
SQL CoPilot is not really a “program” in the traditional sense of the word. It does not get installed, it does not run a windows service and it doesn’t require a bunch of resources on target servers. So how does it work? To be perfectly honest, I am not sure. But because it is not compatible with SQL 2000, I can only assume it uses DMV and DMF to determine all the information it needs. Because SQL 2005 and later are designed to return DMV and DMF results quickly, the response time for CoPilot is amazing, even with heavily used machines.
So what can the program do for you? Just read this “About Page” to see what all information is presented to you in a quick and efficient manner. This is a snap shot of the main page. It’s interface is VERY intuitive and simple to understand. All of the “snap shot” squares found in the “Big Picture” are navigable to a page with detailed information.
And the best part? If you just want a snap shot or a quick glance at your instances, then try out the SQL CoPilot Free Edition, but I promise you, after a week of using SQL CoPilot you will want to buy a full license. You will want to see the additional features: like unused indexes, duplicate indexes, index fragmentation and all sort of other “goodies”. I know I did! And for only $120 per licensed USER (that’s right USER, not instance) it is the best bargain out there. Many 3rd party software that provides this type of information charges hundred’s of dollars per instance monitored.
As much as I have praised SQL CoPilot, for me, there are some downsides. It doesn’t work with SQL 2000. But hey, I may be the only schmuck who is still using it in production. I doubt it, but at least I have fewer instances to really dig up the details on because of SQL CoPilot.
SQL CoPilot does not have a method of “capturing” the data it collects for baseline measurements or historical information. This is not a monitoring tool with a historical repository, but it is so close to that it makes me want more. Maybe just a simple button to say, “snap shot it” and it would record all the information for that view in a pre-determined repository database somewhere.
All in all, this product is well worth the $120 purchase price! Give the Free Version a try and I would be willing to bet you a cup of coffee that within a month you will pay for the full version!