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Having problems with SQL Server/Oracle/DB2/Sybase? Check out Confio Ignite

Note: This blog post is from 2008. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
Hey folks, if you're having problems with your CF apps and you determine that (or wonder if) the cause may be due to problems in the database, check out Confio Ignite, a commercial tool that may be well worth the price for you.

Sure, there are many DB monitoring tools out there, but Ignite focuses on tracking, analyzing, reporting, and explaining wait events within the database--and you'd be amazed how often waits caused by your code, that of others, or from other operations in the DB are the explanation for poor performance. It can help target exactly what SQL statement or other operation is a cause of significant waits.

The tool presents the data aggregated over time, so you can view it per hour, day, week, etc. Great for both drilling down to find hot spots, and for viewing how coding/config improvements (resulting from your responding to the analyses) have led to performance improvements over time.

The tool runs with low overhead: it reads data that the DB provides, storing it in a database and providing a web-based interface to view that data. The process to read the data and create the repository (and present the web-based interface) can (and should) be done on a server separate from the server being monitored.

Here's a nice 2-minute demo. There's also a free trial, of course, and it's pretty quick and easy to install and benefit from.

As I noted in the title, it works with SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, or Sybase (sorry, not MySQL. Don't know why). And while it's a commercial product, it's not a ridiculously high price (as for some tools). I just learned of it in the past few weeks, and one customer of mine who tried it has been just thrilled with the results. I hope to write more about it later, but wanted to at least get this info out for folks to consider.

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Sounds like an interesting product, but I really get turned off when there is no pricing information available without contact a sales person.
# Posted By Gus | 12/19/08 9:46 PM
Yep, Gus, I feel the same way, to be honest. It's too bad, but I can't change their practices, and I'll just say again that when my customer got the price quote, I was surprised. It was much less than I had feared, so I'll just suggest that people who might find the tool even potentially useful should give it a try, and then contact them to get pricing info. I really think most would find it useful and valuable.
Charlie, thanks for the information, this does look like a very useful tool particularly for companies that do not have a dedicated DBA. I work fairly closely with two groups of DBA consultants, one here in the USA and one group over in Europe. I took the liberty of asking both what they thought of this tool. Essentially they had the same thoughts, this is information they can get via tracing tools in SQL Server, for instance and the usefulness of the tool is related very much to its cost. Thanks as always for the information.
Mike, could you elaborate on your comment, "this is information they can get via tracing tools in SQL Server, for instance and the usefulness of the tool is related very much to its cost." Not quite sure how to interpret that.

A reader might interpret this to suggest that they don't need the tool because the info can be obtained without it.

Or your last sentence may be saying that, while one could get it, the effort involved both to create a process to gather, download, store, analyze, and then present the info may justify the cost of the tool. That's my take on it.

I'm sure it's a question that's been raised before. In fact, I've just looked briefly (am on vacation) and found at least one blog entry where in the comments someone made a similar assertion, and a Confio rep responded to clarify that it wasn't quite as things seemed to the critic:


If you could get your colleague to elaborate, I'm sure some would be very interested to hear what it is that they could look for themselves. I know many like to just do things themselves, even if a tool could do it for them and save some time (which should equate to money). Then again, a Confio rep might see this and could comment on the assertion. It's easy for folks on the outside of a tool to conclude what they think it does (and what they could do themselves). :-) Sometimes an insider can offer clarification of an aspect we couldn't have anticipated.

I'd also assert that anyone with a sincere interest in the problems it solves and has this concern that they could maybe just do it themselves should give the company a call. I'm sure the Confio people are used to responding to such questions.

Looking forward to any clarification you may be able to offer.
Charlie, this was the response from one of my DBA contacts in France...

"This ignite software is actually "tracing" constantly. In SQL server there is this utility (a trace with sql server profiler) but it does not give such a complete graphical tool. The interesting part of the software is for our business because it helps us, you especially, to set up a detailed reports and find bottlenecks graphically, making it more approachable for managers.

In other words, you can definitely design such a software but if the software is cheap, it is worth looking into it instead of "reinventing the wheel" (that is what we say in France). I have a hard time to find the price though."

So his point was if the price point of the utility was equivalent or less than the cost of creating a similar mechanism in SQL Server itself that is a good thing. Personally, I am always suspicious of any product with no stated price and this is not a direct criticism of Confio but I have a feeling it will put some potential clients off.

I hope this clarifies my points and I shall certainly be bearing this tool in mind as in 2009 a lot of my emphasis will focused on the maim dependency for all ColdFusion applications and the one that causes more application problems than any other dependency, the database.
As an update to this 2008 entry of mine, Confio recently started offering a free edition of their powerful database monitoring. More at http://www.confio.co...
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