Aireforge Studio Community Edition

It’s no secret that the SQL Server community is one of the best technical communities going. The amount of free content out there is amazing, from great blogs on almost every feature available, to direct access to experts via #sqlhelp on Twitter, or on the SQL Server Community Slack channel (join here) and the free events like SQLBits and SQLSaturday.

There’s also loads of great free scripts and programs out there like sp_whoisactive, Ola’s maintenance scripts and the awesome dbatools project, and now there’s another free tool to add to your armoury; Aireforge Studio Community Edition.

Free & Unlimited

Our instance comparison tool, Compare, and our multi-server scripting tool, Script, have always been free; but limited to 2 instances of SQL Server. Starting with v.1.1.7, this limit was lifted, so you can now use it against an unlimited number of SQL Server or Azure SQL Database instances. Since then we’ve also added, Estate, our RDP / SSMS manager and Checks, our lightweight health check module; both are also free and unlimited.

Screenshots

Estate

Organise servers into tags, colour code them, change the columns on the overview and even launch Remote Desktop Manager (RDP) and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS). Any changes here will be instantly propagated out to your colleagues, if you’re using a shared profile. This is especially useful for servers with complex names or when ensuring that all members of the team share a single view of the estate, using tags, notes and colours to reinforce the purpose of each server.

Checks

A lightweight health check module that can analyse hundreds of servers in minutes, or seconds if you choose individual checks over the full scan. The default health checks are designed to find the most common and most worrying issues, but it’s also possible to create your own custom health checks.

Compare (inc. CLI)

The original instance comparison tool and obviously the best, starting life as OmniCompare in 2015. Now Aireforge Compare, it’s able to quickly scan and display the differences between hundreds of servers.

Most users will only compare two or three instances, but we wrote this to maintain large replication environments, where every subscriber needs to be perfectly synchronised with each other. Another great use case is synchronising availability groups, especially agent jobs and users.

Compare currently ships with 45 checks, each one customised for specific versions of SQL Server. Like health checks, you can even create your own custom comparisons.

Configuration Snapshots

Snapshots enable you to create a point in time record of the instance, which can then be shared with colleagues or saved for reference purposes. Use cases include: attaching the snapshot to health checks, performance reviews or with each release, creating a record of the state before and after.

Four ways to use instance snapshots

OmniCompareCLI.exe

Yes, it hasn’t been renamed yet but the OmniCompare CLI enables developers to automate the comparison within Aireforge Compare. Add a check for server objects into your deployments scripts or automate a comparison against a snapshot, highlighting any unexpected configuration changes.

Script

The Microsoft Central Management Servers (CMS) and Remote Desktop Manager are great, but they’re lacking functionality and haven’t had much attention in recent years or are no longer maintained. So, given that Aireforge users already have their estates loaded into their profiles (which can be shared), we thought it made sense to build a scripting module into Aireforge Studio too.

Optimize (free trial)

This module isn’t free, so we won’t talk about it for too long, but you get a free 14 day trial of it with Community Edition. Basically, it’s an advanced health check and best practice analyser which not only gives you the scripts to fix your issues, but also points you to some of the great articles that we talked about at the start of the blog. This not only increases your knowledge but helps to make a more informed decision about the changes the application recommends.

Photo by William White on Unsplash

Why database management can make or break your business

Like it or not, all businesses now rely on their data and infrastructure for everything they do. The database is at the heart of any organization, regardless of sector. It contains everything you need to function: customer’s personal details, orders, leads, projects, employee information – the list goes on. So, when there are problems with your databases, it impacts all other aspects of the business. By neglecting database management, your company is taking a serious risk. There’s also a high chance you’re wasting money on infrastructure and jeopardising future growth. Can your business afford to ignore it?

The price you pay for poor database management

Expensive downtime
98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs them over $100,000. For enterprise organizations, this figure increases to $1-5 million per hour! Of course, every business is different, but once you’ve considered the loss of financial transactions, staff productivity, etc. you can see how the figures stack up. On top of that, the cost per hour is increasing, as more of our work relies on interconnected systems.

Loss of reputation
There are only so many times a client will try to make a transaction before giving up and going elsewhere. Repeated outage is not just unprofessional – it can risk you losing customers if it happens often enough.

Fines
SLAs, regulatory breaches, industry fines. Whether you have any explicitly linked to downtime or not, the effect on services can be detrimental enough to trigger a breach.

Loss of productivity
If staff can’t access the information they need to work, there’s not much they can do.

High running costs
How much are you paying for infrastructure you don’t need? If the IT team don’t have the capacity or experience to routinely make improvements to the server estate, then the answer is almost certainly too much.

The benefits of good database management

Leaner, faster working
By speeding up your databases, you’ll help to reduce everything above leaving you with a quick, more effective foundation on which to run your business.

Happy customers, and more of them
Your customers will not only be happier with your faster services, but you’ll have the capacity to complete more sales through your new faster transactions, growing your business significantly.

Saving serious money
By making your existing infrastructure work harder, you’re less likely to need to buy or lease new hardware. Even better, you might be able to cut down what you’re using. One Aireforge customer reduced the servers needed for their work from 64 to 1 by using the application, saving them over $1 million.

Business growth
Imagine all the things your business could achieve with a faster, more efficient database, increasing your sales and more productive teams?

How we help
Our database management tool Aireforge Studio makes improvements to your servers easy. Designed for IT teams, the application analyzes your servers and makes recommendations on how you can improve efficiency, stability and security.

We give you what you need to make the changes, so busy teams can take advantage of the latest industry knowledge without spending hours researching them. All advice is linked to supporting articles making the process transparent, giving you the confidence you need to make changes to your invaluable systems.

Do you want to make drastic improvements to your business through effective database management? Send me an email at gillian@aireforge.com and I’ll be in touch.

Aireforge Studio 1.1.9

A lot of work has gone into this release but many of the changes won’t be immediately obvious as we’ve;

  • Changed and standardized every button.
  • Relaxed the server limits for Pro versions.
  • Improved the handling of licensing issues.

A good example of the changes can been seen in the splash screen. Not huge changes but they’ve been made everywhere. Another example is the comparison configuration screen.

Improvements to Advise

  • Added partial support for column store indexes.
  • Ignore fragmented indexes now based on pages rather than rows. Defaults to Microsoft recommended value of 1,000 pages.

New Checks

  • Database owner does not exist.
  • Auto update statistics is disabled.
  • Data files larger than 10GB with more than 90% free.

Improved Checks

  • Cost threshold for parallelism alerts if set to < 15, but suggests setting it to 30.

New Scripts

  • If page verify is NONE or TORN_PAGE, suggest setting to CHECKSUM.
  • If auto shrink is enabled, suggest setting to disabled.
  • If auto create statistics is disabled, suggest setting to enabled.
  • If auto update statistics is disabled, suggest setting to enabled.
  • If auto close is enabled, suggest setting to disabled.
  • If the compatibility level isn’t the latest, suggest setting to the latest but with a warning.

Improved Scripts

  • The suggested size for new tempdb data files are now set to the total space / existing files * number of suggested files.

New Advise module and Aireforge Studio v1.0.7

What’s new at Aireforge?

We’re pleased to announce that Aireforge Studio is now officially live and supported. Version 1.0.7 ships with hundreds of improvements with a new UI, simpler comparisons with advanced options, 2017 support and our new tuning / best practices module; Advise.
Depending on your version, the application should prompt to update after starting. If not, please download the latest version using the link below.

Introducing Advise

Download images

The new Advise module within Aireforge Studio analyses instances, databases, tables and indexes, before providing recommendations. The growing list of checks vary from best practices and naming convention violations to orphaned users and missing, duplicate or overlapping indexes.

Read more…

Compare v1 & Custom Comparisons

Download images

The Compare module within Aireforge Studio performs a growing list of comparisons, which can be restricted if certain values are known to differ, such as core count or edition (e.g. Enterprise vs Developer).

Common use cases for Aireforge Studio Compare are checking production databases against staging and / or staging against test, auditing the SQL Server estate, sharing configurations with colleagues / support teams.

Read more…