Quest Foglight for Databases Valuable Features

John Waclawski
Database Administrator at AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.

One of the features that we find most valuable is the logging that it does, because it's very lightweight logging, and that is something we were looking for. We were looking for a software package that won't impact our servers while it monitors them. We capture the SQL statements that are going through the database, the users that are hitting it, and potentially any issues that might be coming up with those users using a particular line of code. It does capture the code that it's running and we might be able to take that and say, "Okay, this code is not efficient enough." We might need to rewrite it before we can put it back into production.

The real-time activity screens are also helpful. The first thing I look at is the baseline. That is my automatic go-to. If somebody is complaining that a database is running slowly, I'll present them with a screenshot of the chart showing that the database is running what I call "baseline normal," meaning it's within our minimum/maximum range of how the database should be running at that point in time during the day. That way, if there is something that is running slowly, we can eliminate the database as being an issue and perhaps look at the server, network activity, or something outside of the realm of the database as being the issue. One of the other DBAs who uses the software generally looks at the locking and deadlocks and at any code that jumps out at him that might not be running as efficiently as it should.

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Vinothsingh Elumalai
Lead Software Engineer at Lowe's Companies

It's important that Foglight supports different databases, starting with Oracle and including SQL, MySQL, Apache Cassandra, Db2, and MongoDB.

Another good thing about Foglight is that we can visualize all the different types of DB servers that we are monitoring in a single pane of glass. It uses a 360-degree overview of the database, for each of those databases that we are monitoring. That includes what kind of resource utilization is happening and what kind of DB parameters are getting monitored, as well as the different types of DB parameters that are being offered for each database type.

The UI is pretty simple. You don't need to write any custom scripts, the kind that are used in open source tools. You need to ensure that the DB servers that you're going to add have the necessary DB permissions, and the DB users, for the DB server to connect to Foglight. Once you have that, no matter what type of database, it's just a matter of clicking to add a database that you want to monitor. From the UI perspective, Foglight is good. They can improve it a bit here and there, but overall it's an okay UI.

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Anthony Nicoletti
Database Administrator, Information Technology at a healthcare company with 1,001-5,000 employees

We created a dashboard called "Morning Coffee," and when I'm having my coffee in the morning, everything that has happened, good or bad, shows up on that dashboard. That's my favorite, because that's where I make my money. That's where I show my value to the company, because when things start to tilt in the wrong direction, I know it. To me, that's huge. You could talk about the emails that come out that tell you the server is down—any application can do that. But to collectively have information for all 500 instances, at my fingertips, is huge.

That dashboard is custom made. The gentleman I work with, Brant, actually created the dashboard. He has a section for failed jobs. He has a section for failed backups. He has a section for servers down, which hopefully is never populated. Everything you'd want to know about anything that happened while you were sleeping is there, and it's actually there for however long is necessary. It could be 24 hours. It could be two weeks.

Also, it never seems to fail on the alerts. The alerts are solid.

Foglight's Change Tracking capabilities are another huge feature. It is wonderful to be able to do that. People don't realize the amount of information that Foglight gathers from a given server or instance. It gets down to the version of SQL, the disk array, everything that's there. Any change that's made, any upgrade to SQL, shows up on the dashboard almost immediately. You don't know how much time you save just having a tool in your back pocket that does that for you.

The solution also provides real-time activity screens. You can drill down into real-time for

  • CPU
  • memory
  • disk space
  • sessions
  • activity
  • transactions. 

Anything you want to see is there, and there's a drill-down for each server that shows you that information. It's a separate page that comes up, and shows you, like a dashboard does, everything at once. Then you can drill down further into anything there that might show a problem or a problem that is about to happen. That drill-down feature and the ability to see everything that's going on, on the server, is a really nice feature. It's great because you want a screen to show you stuff before the end-user screams, and this feature allows you to know that information. With it, I know when things are going awry before the end-user does, and you can't ask for more out of a tool.

It also enables us to monitor multiple database platforms. We monitor, in-house, something like eight versions of SQL, most of which are on different OSs, different servers, different hardware. We're not doing Oracle yet.

The Performance Investigator feature in this tool is really good. We only use it for production, but it drills down to the narrowest bit. If you were to log in to my system, I could tell you, the next day, when you logged in. If the SA account logged in three months ago, I can tell you that. The SQL PI is really a huge feature in the tool.

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Learn what your peers think about Quest Foglight for Databases. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
509,570 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Manager of Database Services at a energy/utilities company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The main reason why we picked Foglight: We can have a single pane of glass for both SQL and Oracle across our entire environment, which has been very useful to us. The main use cases are for monitoring health of our databases and being able to assist with performance troubleshooting.

Foglight provides real-time activity screens. Typically, we go to the real-time dashboard when we are troubleshooting issues. If there is something going on, then a DBA needs to drill down more and try to pinpoint the activity currently going on that might be causing the issue.

We use the solution to display the most intensive database queries. This ties in with our performance troubleshooting. This is usually one of the first things we go and check if we are troubleshooting performance. So, if an end user calls us complaining that the database is slow, this is typically where we start.

We use Foglight's ability to proactively alert us to long-running queries. For example, something was causing us grief with one of our integration pieces. So, we needed a way to detect long-running queries.

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Kenneth Slate
Sr. Database Administrator at a sports company with 1,001-5,000 employees

The most valuable feature is that it's one pane of glass and enables us to see everything at once.

The other senior DBA spends a good part of his day in it and he's focusing on indexes right now. The PI module allows him to identify which new indexes or modified indexes are going to make the biggest impact.

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Senior Engineer at a financial services firm with 5,001-10,000 employees

We have four flavors of databases and we're able to monitor them all using a single pane. That comes in handy to the DBAs.

Foglight is also able to help the DBAs proactively fix problems before they become an issue. It provides them with real-time activity screens that help in this regard. The DBAs are able to go to these screens and look at what's happening in real time, and that buys them time. It helps them see problems ahead of time and find solutions to them.

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Learn what your peers think about Quest Foglight for Databases. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: May 2021.
509,570 professionals have used our research since 2012.