September Free Community Tools Awareness Month

I’m writing this post to join in with September Free Community Tools Awareness Month. There are many awesome free community tools. I’ve chosen to blog about 3 of them that I think are interesting any maybe less well known in the database community. I’m also taking the opportunity to shamelessly plug my own tool, DBA Dash.

DBA Dash

DBA Dash is a monitoring tool for SQL Server. It’s something I use every day and it provides value in several different ways. It supports everything from SQL 2005 to SQL 2022 and Azure DB.

🏎️If you have a performance issue, DBA Dash can help you get to the root cause. You can troubleshoot an issue that is occurring right now or do a postmortem for an issue that occurred weeks ago.

🏥It’s also a tool for health checks. Do you have missing backups, agent job failures, or corruption? Is log shipping, availability groups, or mirroring broken? Are your servers running out of disk space? DBA Dash checks all of these and more. Recently added is a check for identity columns running out of values.

⚙️DBA Dash captures configuration data for your whole SQL Server estate (config settings, trace flags, tempdb). Use the configuration data to check for configuration settings that are different between your SQL instances – great for validating the config of new SQL instances. Check the patch level of your SQL instances. Keep track of when updates were installed and configuration changes made.

l created this tool and I’m also it’s #1 user. The tool is totally free without restrictions or limitations – even better it’s open source. Get it on GitHub.

This video will give you a quick overview of the tool.

Note: This video was created in January when the tool first launched. Many new features and enhancements have been made since the video was created.


AutomatedLab enables you to quickly set up lab environments on Hyper-V and Azure. I use this to create lab environments for DBA Dash on Hyper-V.

The lab environments enable me to test DBA Dash with SQL versions from 2005 to 2022 as well as availability groups, and different configurations. I also use the lab environment as a general playground for learning and experimentation – something useful to have for any DBA.

The power of AutomatedLab is that I can re-create my lab by running a PowerShell script and I can tear it down just as easily. Infrastructure as code!

dbatools is also a key component to setting up my lab environment and it’s one of my favourite community tools. Use this for automating anything relating to SQL Server.


This is a monitoring tool for SQL Server, but unlike DBA Dash it’s not a tool for 24/7 monitoring. I don’t use this tool very often but it can be useful if you are dealing with a particularly tricky SQL issue.

I’ve been a DBA for 17 years and I’ve had a small number of edge case issues that required a phone call to Microsoft product support. During these engagements I’ve been asked to run a pssdiag session and upload it for their offline analysis. You can create your own pssdiag session with SqlDiag Manager and analyse it with SqlNexus.

I would run this tool for short periods of time while you are experiencing particularly tricky issues and use other tools like DBA Dash for your regular monitoring.

This is a Microsoft tool, but like the other tools on the list it’s also open source!

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