Sites have existed as part of the SQL Sentry architecture for several versions, but with the major redesign efforts and additional features made available in SQL Sentry version 7, Sites are now easier than ever to configure and use. This KB includes a brief explanation of what defines a Site, explains some of their benefits, and then walks you through configuring a Site within your SQL Sentry environment.
What are Sites?
Sites are a logical grouping of Targets, Instances, and Monitoring Services within your SQL Sentry environment. Each SQL Sentry environment has at least one Site configured by default; you can see it represented within the Navigator pane, as the Default Site. Computers and Connections you add to your environment to monitor automatically become part of this Default Site.
Should I configure multiple Sites within my environment?
While not every SQL Sentry environment will have a need for multiple Sites, they offer a number of advantages when your organization manages geographically sparse assets, or assets which exist in multiple domains. Sites allow you to monitor these assets, even in situations where no trust exists between domains.
Site level Monitoring Services
The SQL Sentry Monitoring Service is a Windows Service, which is responsible for collecting event history, event status, and performance related information about your servers, and storing that information in the SQL Sentry Database.
SQL Sentry Monitoring Services can be assigned to specific Sites within your environment. Once you place a Monitoring Service within a Site, it becomes exclusively responsible for gathering information about those watched Computers and Connections contained within that same Site.
As you can imagine, having a Monitoring Service within the same LAN as those servers it is monitoring significantly reduces WAN traffic, as the Monitoring Service is able to consume data locally and write back to the SQL Sentry Database as needed.
Creating Your Site
There are a couple of different ways to create a new Site. SQL Sentry v7 added the ability to create and manage Sites through the Navigator pane, and for this example we will create a new Site this way. As an alternative, you could always use the Site Configuration node found in the Monitoring Service group of the Navigator pane.
1. Right-click on the Shared Groups node in the Navigator pane and use the Add Site command. The new Site will be created beneath the Default Site within the Navigator Pane; give the Site a name.
2. Install the new SQL Sentry Monitoring Service on a non-production server in the remote Site, following the guidelines below.
Important: In this step, when installing the Monitoring Service in your remote Site, be sure that the installation package build number is identical to the version of your existing installation. Your SQL Sentry version can be viewed in the Help → About menu of the SQL Sentry Client.
a. When prompted for the SQL Sentry Database information, specify your existing SQL Sentry Database and choose your desired Authentication Mode. If there is no trust between the domains, you will need to use either SQL Server authentication or pass-through authentication to write back to the SQL Sentry Database.
b. When prompted for the Service Account Information, be sure to use an account with the required permissions for your remote Site, namely SysAdmin for each monitored SQL Server, and Windows Administrator privileges for any servers you plan to watch with Performance Advisor.
3. Wait just a brief amount of time for the Monitoring Service to completely initialize. The Monitoring Service will initially be displayed in the Monitoring Service Group of the Default Site. It will be identified with the name of the Computer it was installed on.
4. From the Navigator pane select the newly installed Monitoring Service and drag it to the Monitoring Service folder of the Remote Site.
5. Add any Connections and Computers that you wish to monitor through the right-click context menu of your newly created Site.
More information about the topics discussed in this post can be found in the online user guide, including information about the Alerting and Response System and Site Configuration. As always, if you have any problems getting things set up don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional assistance.