Day in and day out, Foglight just makes our job so easy. It’s a great tool. I wouldn’t be a DBA without it.
Paradigm is a software solutions company that has revolutionized new home construction and renovation by automating and streamlining the building process. From creating interactive 3D renderings to selecting materials and configuring elements for the home, Paradigm’s innovative technology platform has transformed the way residential construction is done. But as their company grew, so did their complex database environment.
Paradigm uses several database technologies, including cloud-based SQL Server and PostgreSQL. And while expanding their cloud-based products helped drive business growth, it also created new challenges.
With a cloud offering that caters to many customers, Paradigm’s cloud database administration team faced the challenge of monitoring and maintaining optimal performance across multiple database platforms. Without comprehensive monitoring capabilities, including rich historical data, ensuring the smooth operation of their B2B applications became increasingly difficult.
“Because our product is software that we build, we have to understand how it’s performing,” said Joe Iskra, Paradigm's cloud database administration manager. But the monitoring product Paradigm had didn’t archive metric data for more than a couple months. It also didn't have any way to deep dive into performance issues. So, when Joe was asked what he’d like to change, he was quick to respond. “I said, ‘I want to change the database monitoring tool.’”
Joe justified his request by stressing the importance of adaptive baselining and metric history. Having successfully used Quest® Foglight® for Databases and its SQL Performance Investigator at past companies, Joe explained how that monitoring solution helps quickly diagnose and resolve emerging issues to prevent business interruption. “That's all they needed to hear,” Joe said.
With Foglight for Databases in place, Joe and his team gained the ability to proactively ensure the health and performance of all their diverse database platforms through a single, intuitive UI. “We have many dozens of SQL instances and environments for different clients. So, it's important to look at all of them and know what's going on in each one. We can do that very easily from the Foglight dashboard,” Joe said.
And while Foglight provides that invaluable at-a-glance understanding of performance, it also goes deeper, offering analytics that dramatically speed issue resolution. “One of the greatest things I’ve always loved about Foglight, and I’ve used it for 10 to 15 years, is the analytical side of it,” Joe said. “Yes, you can look at all these pretty screens and see the metrics, but it’s also storing years of analytical data. If I have a query that misbehaved, not only do I have a baseline, I can look at the performance of that query, but I can go back two years and look at it. That tells me a lot.”
That real-time and historical data empowers Paradigm’s DBAs to solve problems in fewer than five minutes. “The time to resolution with Foglight is amazing,” Joe said. “I have junior DBAs going in there and immediately seeing what the problem is. They're not having to go do all this extra data gathering and extrapolation and troubleshooting. Literally, they're coming back and solving performance problems in minutes. Our time to resolution has gone down drastically with Foglight.”
And it’s not just Joe and his team who are impressed with the metric history Foglight database monitoring provides, but the developers and executives at Paradigm as well. “This was fun,” Joe said, recounting a recent issue Foglight resolved. “We had a simple code change that caused it to run outside of its baseline. I took a graph out of Foglight and provided that to the developers and executives. I showed them where that little piece of code now ran and how it took it outside of the baseline and they were blown away. Their jaws dropped, that I could see that granular event with a code change. Functionality like that when you're developing software is just invaluable.”
Joe’s entire team shares his sentiment. “My junior DBAs are also just blown away by Foglight. They’ve used other tools and they've run queries to get the wait stats when there's a problem to try to figure out what's going on. I put them in Foglight and they can't say enough about it. They love it. My senior DBA absolutely loves it, too.” While there’s a lot to love about Foglight, its SQL Performance Investigator (SQL PI) tops their list.
“SQL PI is one of the leading reasons why I stick with Foglight,” Joe said. “It makes me a better DBA and it's made people I've watched over the last 10 years better DBAs.” That’s because SQL PI further simplifies database monitoring. It automatically identifies candidate queries for analysis and optimization, eliminating tedious and often stressful manual work.
“I've been in places where they're using other things and you just don't get that granular level of detail. And the DBA mindset is we have to take this to the nth degree until we have a clear understanding of what just happened, whether it's a performance problem or an availability problem or some other systemic problem.”
With SQL PI, DBAs can quickly uncover the root cause of an issue, which empowers them to resolve emerging problems proactively. This significantly improves database performance and reduces operational costs, all while saving DBAs time.
“When you have software that has to perform, performance investigation is always big. We do a lot of tuning based on what we find in Foglight. We use it for performance tuning for the reputation and quality of the application, and we also use it in problem states.” Knowing that he can rely on Foglight to find and alert the team to any problems gives Joe peace of mind.
“Foglight gives me assurance,” Joe explained. “I go to bed every night, and my VPs, with the assurance that if there's a problem, whoever's on can pop up in Foglight and see what's going on quickly. We have a track record of very quick time to resolution on anything in the database tier that's monitored by Foglight. So, it provides assurance for me.”
Foglight also instils confidence in the DBAs. “They're very confident in the tool,” Joe said. “They know they don't need to call me to look at something. My L1 will go straight into Foglight and she will find things and understand what's going on. And in the support world, anytime you can resolve that on L1, that's the goal. Pick it up, triage it, work it. If L1 can fix it, that’s a bonus.”
The simplicity and power of the Foglight database monitoring solution have made Paradigm’s cloud database team more effective. “I know what level of DBA I am with it. And I also have seen what level of DBA I am without it. I am much more successful with Foglight,” Joe said, adding that he and his team can’t imagine having to work without it at this point.
With SQL PI, adaptive baselining and metric history, they continue to deliver high levels of service to their growing company. And because Foglight can monitor nearly any database platform, Paradigm can continue to use this solution to improve the performance of the databases they run now – as well as the technologies they’ll adopt in the future. Which is great news for a team that truly appreciates this database monitoring solution.
“I'm not exaggerating when I say my experience with Foglight has been beyond positive. Day in and day out, Foglight just makes our job so easy. It’s a great tool. I wouldn’t be a DBA without it.”