So you’re lazy and you’re company’s broke – what to do? Here’s my favorite free downloads to help manage SQL Server:
Understand execution plans with SQL Sentry Plan Explorer – I dunno about you, but viewing execution plans in SQL Server Management Studio is a pain in my rear. The scrolling sucks, the cost numbers are painful to read, and I can’t quickly get to the root of the problem. SQL Sentry Plan Explorer opens execution plans and gives you much better visibility into the real problem. You do have to save the execution plan in SSMS to an XML file, then open it with Plan Explorer, but that’s the only awkward part of the process. Once the bad plan is open in Plan Explorer, just right-click on it and the fun starts. When I’m tuning a server with slow IO, I can show the costs by IO only, not CPU – a big timesaver for me.
Slice and dice trace files with ClearTrace – ClearTrace is my go-to tool every single time I run a trace. It’s easy to use and helps me get to the bottom of performance problems fast. ClearTrace is a labor of love from Bill Graziano, the Executive Vice President of the Professional Association for SQL Server. Bill’s a consultant who gives away software to the community and gives his time, too. What a guy!
Get deeper insights into trace files with the Qure Workload Analyzer – If any free product ever needed a better web page, it’s this one. When the Ami Levin of DBSophic showed me this tool at SQLbits, I nearly fell out of my chair. It does a great job of comparing trace files to show whether your performance has gotten better or worse.
Analyze traces with Quest’s ProjectLucy.com – This one isn’t a download – it’s an upload. Register for a free account, and you can upload your trace files to Project Lucy for analysis. It’s very much a version 1.0 product, and it doesn’t provide a lot of in-depth analysis yet, but it’s quick and easy. To get the best results, you’ll need to use their trace file template to capture specific events.
Improve SSMS with the SSMS Tools Pack – It’s got tons of features, but this one alone should sell you: it tracks all of the queries you run, and you can search through all of your past queries quickly and easily. You’re not bothering to save all those queries you write, and you should, but you won’t – so grab this free tool instead. Stay lazy, my friends!
More Free Tools for Slow SQL Servers
sp_Blitz®: Free SQL Server Health Check – Our app1 that gives you a SQL Server health check in a matter of seconds. It gives you a prioritized list of health and performance issues, plus gives you URLs for more details about each issue. Also available as a stored procedure too.
The Best Free SQL Server Downloads List – You’re trying to manage SQL Server databases, and every time you Google for something, you get overwhelmed with all kinds of free tools, white papers, blogs, and newsletters. There’s so many that suck, and you’re tired of wasting time on bad ones. Get our favorite list of the best free tools.
Great pots and nice collection of the free SQL tools!
I’m going to take a look more info about Project Lucy…
Bids Helper (http://bidshelper.codeplex.com/) is great for us BI guys.
SQLJobVis is nice free tool which allows you to visualize SQL Server job schedules and quickly see overlapping schedules:
Thanks Brent for sharing the link of free SQL tools.
I think ReadTrace (part of RML utilites, download from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b60cdfa3-732e-4347-9c06-2d1f1f84c342) is better than ClearTrace. With a little extra work, you can have very interesting reports
Brent, thanks for the mention! Glad you like the tool. It looks like trace file analysis is a popular niche. I guess I’d expect that from a performance tuning guy 🙂
I think ClearTrace is the most underrated query tuning tool here. After dm_exec_query_stats it’s the fastest way to tie performance to lines of code.
Whether I deserved it or not, this tool helped me boost my reputation at work. Thanks Bill.
As the author of ClearTrace I’m a little biased 🙂 ReadTrace is certainly different. MS has better technology to parse SQL statements than I do. However I think I do certain things better like highlighting server-side cursors. I also allow you to store up a history of traces and slice and dice the results in more ways. I’m just glad you gave ClearTrace a try.
Thanks for the Project Lucy mention Brent. We’re pretty excited about the future of that project as it relates to the community.
@Bill, don’t misunderstand me. I think that ClearTrace could be useful for some scenarios, but in general, ReadTrace seems (at least for me) more complete and, as you said, more reliable with the parse of the statements.
Anyway, your tool is very helpful, and I really appreciate the efforts to build it and really thank you for share it with the community
I’d like to toss a shout out to the freeware version of TOAD out there? (http://www.toadworld.com/Freeware/tabid/680/Default.aspx) I’ve been a TOAD junkie for a long time now when I used it with Oracle. I was quite surprised when they had a free SQL Server version, and a lot of its features are better than SSMS. I’ll admit I’m a developer here, so my priorities are most likely skewed from the typical DBA role.
I am a director of Product Management at Quest Software. I’d like to get you a copy of our highest commercial edition of Toad for SQL Server (Toad Xpert) in exchange for a little testimonial about it. Sound good? I’ll connect you with the Product Manager and he’ll take it from there.
Please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve got to point out the great tools from Matt Whitfield’s company Atlantis Interactive. He recently decided to make them all free of charge and is looking at open sourcing them soom too.
Matt did a great job on the tools and it is both a shame that he didn’t make a commercial success of the tools, but a great win for the SQL community.
Very Simple, useful – Redgate ‘Sql Search’
What about SQL Cop? I find this tool invaluable. http://sqlcop.lessthandot.com/
SQL Cop looks to be a handy tool at least for checking on best practices (I just started using it myself). I like that for each item listed, there’s a link to their site where they explain why ______ is bad and what can be done to fix it. I don’t know how many tools I’ve installed and quickly removed because the error “description” is as descriptive as the 8 digit error code that accompanies it.
SQL Cop looks to be a handy tool at least for checking on best practices (I just started using it myself). I like that for most of the items listed, there’s a link to their site where they explain why ______ is bad and what can be done to fix it. I don’t know how many tools I’ve installed and quickly removed because the error “description” is as descriptive as the 8 digit error code that accompanies it.
Check out SQL Hunting Dog. Free tool for quick search and smooth navigation inside SQL Server Management Stuidio.
hi. how about supratimas.com? i use it almost daily to find issues in my queries
Interesting, I’ve never seen that before! Thanks for the tip.