MySQL Monitoring Best Practices Make You a Better DBA

Author: Robert Agar

MySQL database administrators have a tough job. They are expected to maintain the availability and performance of the systems for which they are responsible. Success at this task usually means the DBA can continue to toil in relative anonymity. Failure results in lots of phone calls and way too much notoriety with management types in your organization. Most DBAs prefer to avoid being noticed in this fashion.

Keeping a low profile is complicated by the demands of multi-platform support which may include databases that live on-premises as well as in multiple public clouds. Trying to keep things going with in-house tools and native intelligence can quickly become overwhelming. Employing the right techniques makes it easier to stay out of the limelight and keep systems running smoothly.

Keys to Effective Database Administration

There are three main components of viable database administration. You need to:

  • Perform periodic health checks;
  • Maintaining visibility into your databases;
  • Quickly identify and resolve performance issues.

Health checks should be a part of every DBA’s repertoire. They can be conducted in a variety of ways that focus on the specific requirements of the database in question. In the case of mission-critical systems, you may be checking multiple times per hour. Less important systems may demand a daily or even weekly health check schedule.

Some things to look at in the health checks are MySQL internal and statistics related to the host server. Keeping track of the number of connections, failed connection attempts, and queries per second are the logical places to start. Generating reports and charts that can be used for comparative analysis enables DBAs to observe performance changes that accrue over time which may not be evident without historical information.

You also need to consider and monitor the database’s host resources. Problems that affect your database may be caused by overloaded network capacity or other environmental issues not strictly connected to MySQL. Insufficient disk space, memory or CPU capacity can wind up being the cause of problems even when your database is optimized. Investigating system and MySQL logs can identify hardware and software failures that can be addressed to avoid future problems.

Maintaining visibility and being able to quickly find the root cause of performance issues are two aspects of database administration that go hand-in-hand. They both can be accomplished through monitoring the MySQL environment. In the absence of dependable monitoring, you will be hunting in the dark when problems arise. It’s extremely difficult to pin down the cause of sporadic problems without real-time monitoring. The issues may not be evident through the analysis of your health checks and demand a more timely response than possible with the information they provide.

The ability to set alerts to inform you of critical events is of vital importance when performing database administration. Alerts and warnings tailored to the requirements of the system enable you to take proactive measures before issues escalate to the point where they are impacting your users.

The Right Monitoring Tool Can Help

Monitoring can be done with in-house scripts. While this may work well in small, fairly static environments, it will quickly become unwieldy as the number and complexity of an organization’s systems grow. It quickly becomes apparent that the money spent on a good monitoring tool will save money in the long run by reducing the occurrence of outages and streamlining performance.

Finding the right tool to help monitor and manage MySQL and MariaDB databases can be challenging. SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL is a comprehensive monitoring platform that helps DBAs support MySQL instances on-premises and in the cloud. It has many features that directly address the problems faced by MySQL DBAs.

The application displays problem queries and allows you to quickly drill down to locate potential areas of optimization. A customizable dashboard lets your team monitor exactly the metrics that concern them in a visually pleasing manner. It provides an overview of your MySQL environment, displaying items such as the top ten queries running on your servers at this moment. The tool comes with over 600 monitors that address every aspect of your MySQL servers and let you control what and when they are monitored. It’s a lightweight solution that will not put additional stress on your servers, and it can generate performance reports for long-term analysis.

As part of IDERA ’s virtual education series, a video that demonstrates how SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL can help address the issues that lead to inadequate monitoring is available for your viewing pleasure. The tool has recently been renamed from its previous moniker Monyog and is referred to as Monyog in the video. Don’t let this confuse you, as the product is now called SQL Diagnostic Manager for MySQL and it works as described in the video. Check it out to see how this valuable tool can help optimize your MySQL environment. Your DBAs can maintain the low-profile that allows them to perform their best work.

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