Performance Advisor : A Quick "Two Thumbs Up"
I have been playing with Performance Advisor, the new companion to the very popular Event Manager software from SQL Sentry. Right off the bat, I can tell you that this tool should have Quest and Idera shaking in their boots, as it is really going to give them a run for their money. While a late comer to this segment of the market, Performance Advisor has definitely been worth the wait.
Rather than a big long bulleted list detailing every last feature, or demonstrating the differences between the products, I would rather highlight the three features that I like best so far, and that are already saving me time.
This tab provides a visual depiction of your disks, the database files on each disk, and read/write activity. It allows you to quickly identify I/O issues as they are happening. Dashed lines will show current activity, and a tooltip over a database file tells you which database it represents, and whether it is data or log. Like the arrows between operators in a graphical execution plan, thicker dashes mean heavier I/O and latency, with the addition of movement and color as visual cues to warn you about bottlenecks.
Top SQL Analysis
Like it sounds, this shows the most resource intensive statements, and you can quickly rank by specific resource type (e.g. CPU, or I/O, or duration). Filtering and sorting are effortless, and all this without having to go and manually run a trace. The best part about this is that I can see individual statements (including actual parameters), or I can "normalize" and aggregate the statements to have placeholders for parameters (like you can do to some extent now, with a lot of manual work, or by using a tool like ClearTrace).
Very rarely do you come across the perfect balance of form and function; but, these folks have done it here, in my eyes. The dashboard has pretty much all of the useful metrics that I would want to see at a glance, and best of all, it is SEXY. You can switch between current metrics, and a different view which shows historical trends. The latter allows you to quickly see peaks and valleys, and determine whether the current scenario for any metric has been normal over the given time range. And their QuickTrace functionality means I will likely never need to run Profiler again.
I encourage you to take a look and, if you like what you see, download the trial!