New Relic Provides Special Insight into SQL Azure Databases & SQL Servers

Need better insights into your Microsoft SQL Servers and Azure SQL Databases? We’ve got you covered! As part of last week’s New Relic Platform launch, we released two plugins that will help you get the metrics you’re looking for. In addition to the application level insights and deep dives into SQL queries you get with New Relic Pro APM, you’ll get a global view into all your servers and databases — whether you run them yourself or in the cloud with Microsoft Azure.

We know you have much better things to do than wade through hundreds of metrics and squiggly line charts to find something that needs your attention. So just like we did with app monitoring, we distilled the confounding plethora of SQL Server metrics into what you need to know, and show them to you when you need to see them.

Special Azure SQL Database Support
We paid special attention to Azure SQL Databases. These databases have special events that tell you what’s going on with your Azure infrastructure. And you should know about them when they occur.

For example, Azure SQL Databases may be shared instances that can be replicated, scaled and provisioned dynamically. As such, they can be throttled or become momentarily unavailable. We’ll tell you if any such event occurs or if your usage comes close to consuming more than its allotted share of resources. This gives you time to take proactive action and assure a terrific experience for your users.

More specifically, the Azure SQL Database plugin tells you about:

* Idle connection timeouts
* Failed logins due to too many connections
* Excessive use of memory
* Excessive lock usage
* Excessive log space used
* Excessive tempdb usage
* Excessive long running transactions
* Deadlocks
* Connections blocked by the Azure firewall
* Database size
* Number of sessions and current requests

Both the Azure SQL Database and SQL Server plugins show metrics that tell you about:

* Memory pressure from actions like tempdb usage or intensive long running transactions
* Disk IO from queries doing full table scans
* Query plan cache misses from un-parameterized queries or memory pressure

And when you’re running a standalone SQL Server in an Azure VM or on your own hardware, the plugin gives you many server-level insights so you can see the performance of your server when serving multiple databases. These include:

* CPU usage
* Number of connections by database
* Page life expectancy
* Reads and writes
* Network IO
* Buffer Cache miss ratio
* Various wait states where threads are waiting for resources

Our plugin infrastructure goes beyond simply collecting new metrics in the New Relic UI. You can monitor data in the context of a selected time slice to easily correlate your observations and draw conclusions from the emergent behavior of your entire system. With this new capability, New Relic now shows your system in multiple correlated dimensions to provide even more insight.

Get Started Today
To give the Azure SQL Database and SQL Server plugins a try:

1. Login to your Windows Azure Portal. (If you don’t have one yet, sign up here.)

2. Go to the Add-ons section of the Windows Azure Portal.

Choose Add-on

3. Select the New Relic Add-on and add it to your portal. (You get New Relic Standard free of charge as part of our partnership.)

 Choose New Relic Add-on

4. After you add the New Relic Add-on to your account, select it in the portal and then select Manage.

Manage Add-on

5. Your New Relic dashboard opens. Choose the Plugins tab on the left hand side.

Choose Plugins from your New Relic Dashboard

6. Search for the Microsoft plugin(s) you want and click Get Started.

Get Started with your New Relic Plugin

7. Download the plugin(s). When prompted, enter the connection string for your database and your license key.

8. You’re up and running! Check the ‘readme’ file if you have any difficulty.

There’s So Much More to See
After you’re done, take a peek around Plugin Central. You’ll see a lot of other plugins for monitoring other databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and more. There’s also support for other components such as caching, big table storage (like MongoDB and CouchDB), load balancers, queueing, and so on.

Best of all, it’s very easy to create your own plugin! Keep it for yourself or share it with the community. To get started, click the green box in the upper-right corner of Plugin Central. Use one of our SDKs or start with the source code from one of the other plugins on GitHub.

Plugin Central

A New Dimension
With the New Relic Platform, we’ve added a whole new dimension to our APM service. And we know it will help you get even more insight into your website and web applications. With a ‘single pane of glass’, New Relic extends to the performance of all your database servers and their associated databases within the context of the performance of your application as a whole.

We hope you like it. Let us know what you think in the comments below.'

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