Thinking back, I remembered that he was always into developing these types of tools, and that he always had a touch for GUI (being a DBA that is not a given :-( ), so I jumped right in and downloaded the tool from his website http://www.sqlstripes.com (fully functional version).
I have quite a few SQL Server databases that I need to manage/monitor on a regular basis, some are production some are dev/qa and all need to be monitored (especially the Dev ones) to see problems as they occur, usually I would connect via Remote Desktop and look at the activity monitor... In the past and also currently I have been reviewing monitoring tools by red gate and others, but they all work on an event concept (i.e. when a configured situation happens we will send you a notification) - and that always seemed not enough (although powerful and helpful).
This tool is something else, yes it can send alerts (and apparently even speak them out, though I suspect this feature isn't much used, although in a NOC scenario it has a potential). Here everything is graphical, green and red lights, numbers, pie charts and more - you can actually see the state of the server or database, all in one screen (for as many servers/databases as you'd like). The information displayed is the stuff you need... Not only that, but to collect this data by yourself you'd need to go through multiple scripts and remember tons of commands - and then parse out the useful data - this tool does this for you, and nicely.
|A sample screen shot|
Per server: status (green/red) of Ping, Agent,Jobs,Service,Locks, Memory, diskspace, cpu, OS, SQL Server version...
Per Database: Sizes, quick log trunacate, object counts
Quick view of job list, failed jobs
So, I just downloaded and started playing with it today, I haven't checked for "bad things" such as faulty data or unwanted load on the servers (in short how good this really is). Just to clarify, this review wasn't invited, just a spur of the moment - since I saw it and decided to give it a go.
The price is not cheap, but when I consider medium/large organizations or even small if you have more than 5 servers to manage, this tools can save a lot of man hours wasted on connecting/disconnecting to servers all day to check what's going on - gives you a live monitor of the system (like a pulse monitor)
Adi, if you read this - good job!