TimeLine

TimeLine

Overview

ProActive DBA TimeLine provides comprehensive, continuous monitoring of your database server’s performance and availability.

Major benefits include:

  • Monitor all critical aspects of database performance such as CPU usage, blocking, disk I/O, cache utilization, wait events, table scans, etc.
  • Ensure server availability by monitoring uptime, database and file space, configurable resource usage vs. limits, etc.
  • Identify root causes of performance problems with TimeLine’s DVR-like recording and playback of database activity and performance data with millisecond precision
  • Identify top performance hogs based on consumption of CPU, disk and network I/O, blocking, table scans and wait events
  • Customizable alerting and exception-based event management

TimeLine is available for SAP Sybase ASE, SAP Sybase IQ, SAP Sybase Replication Server and Microsoft SQL Server.

Features

TimeLine shows your server’s performance in a graphical user interface that is unlike any other monitor you’ve ever seen. The TimeLine product line provides historical and real-time monitoring, event-based alerting, trending reports and much more.

Start with an overview of your enterprise from the TimeLine Dashboard. With single-click, “dive” into an overview of any server experiencing a performance problem. If further investigation is required, “deep dive” into the server where you see details about every aspect of the server’s performance, including the SQL being executed and what’s causing them to run slow.

In a single interface, TimeLine displays information about your server at multiple levels, including the operating system, database server engine, user processes, running SQL statements and alert events.

TimeLine ties all of this information together with a set of controls similar to a remote control for a DVR, that lets you navigate by time in various ways to locate events of interest.

For example, you can examine a busy time of day on your server, or you can locate and select a spike in CPU activity or disk I/O that you notice in a performance graph, or (when used together with SQL Capture) you can select a long-running SQL execution that was flagged based on criteria that you defined.

When you move to an event or time period of interest, TimeLine instantly and automatically reconstructs and shows the complete state of your server at that point in time, and you can step forward and backward through events as they occurred around that time.

This revolutionary technology makes it easy to visualize what is going on in your server and to identify the causes and effects of a performance problem as it developed.

Performance Monitoring

TimeLine provides a wealth of performance data about your server, including database CPU utilization, wait events, disk and network I/O, cache utilization, space usage and availability, and much more.

User Process Activity

TimeLine gathers details on each user process or thread in the database, along with performance metrics for each process such as physical and logical I/Os, cache miss %, wait event metrics, transaction statistics and temporary database usage.

Along with these performance metrics, TimeLine also shows the current running SQL for each process, graphical query plan information, details about stored procedures executed, and much more.

When used with the TimeLine Blocked Process Monitoring Option, our unique Blocking Tree shows blocking activity hierarchically, so you can easily identify blocking causes and victims.

Used together with the TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option, it also gives you a listing of recent long-running table scan activity for each selected process.

Alerting and Rule-Based Event Management

When used with the TimeLine Alerting Option, it offers a wide variety of customizable alert event types that monitor conditions in your server and send notifications and take actions when they occur.

Here are some of the alertable events TimeLine can generate:

  • Server and database up/down status
  • Database space availability
  • Server error log messages
  • Performance metrics (CPU, I/O, cache rate, etc.)

Each event is recorded along with the details of the condition that triggered it. And, you can configure each event to perform actions such as sending an e-mail notification, taking a snapshot of database activity, running a SQL or O/S script, etc.

Top-N Reporting

When used with the TimeLine Reporting Option, you can generate reports that show you the top N applications, users and database client hosts using the database server, ranked by selectable criteria such as CPU usage, logical or physical I/O, blocking and more.

There are also reports listing the top N SQL statement types and stored procedures, the top wait events incurred by database processes and the top tables which were table-scanned by database client connections.

Technology

TimeLine uses a variety of techniques to gather detailed information about your database server’s performance, while minimizing the impact to the server itself.

TimeLine gives you a choice of which of these methods to use for obtaining performance metrics, based on your organization’s requirements. For example, on SAP Sybase ASE, TimeLine gives you the choice to use the MDA monitoring tables if you want to. Other database monitors rely solely on the SAP Sybase MDA tables and thus require you to use them, but we believe you should have the choice whether to use the MDA tables or not.

TimeLine also performs native monitoring of the operating system, using the proprietary interfaces provided by each O/S. This provides the best accuracy and lowest overhead on each operating system type.

TimeLine monitors database server error logs at the operating system level, without running any queries against the database server, so virtually no overhead is incurred in monitoring the log files.

Agent-Based vs. Agentless Architecture

Some other database monitors only offer an “agent-less” architecture and tout it as an effective means for monitoring database server performance. TimeLine doesn’t lock you into a one-size-fits-all solution.

TimeLine offers both agent-based and agentless solutions. And, by offering the option to use an agent, TimeLine lets you get the most complete and correct performance information about the operating system and the processes that are running within it. Agentless monitors usually offer limited or no operating system monitoring at all, so they can’t tell when outside processes are affecting the database server.

Next, certain aspects of database server monitoring can be done better and more efficiently by a local agent, rather than by querying the database server–for example, monitoring the error log files, monitoring filesystem space usage for database file expansion, or monitoring query plans on some database server types. Agentless monitors are forced to query the database server for this information, or in some cases simply can’t get these types of information.

Another weakness with agentless-only monitors is that if the network has an outage, you won’t be able to monitor the server at all. TimeLine lets you use an agent to avoid this point of failure and ensure continuous coverage when monitoring your servers.

ProActive DBA’s ultra-lightweight agent runs on the busiest servers at many of the largest enterprises in the world, and is able to non-intrusively capture all aspects of the database server’s availability and performance. Our monitoring is fault-tolerant and can continue monitoring through a network outage or even a reboot of the database server itself! Our customers often describe it as the “last man standing”.

So it’s no wonder that so many organizations all over the world trust TimeLine for round-the-clock monitoring of their servers.

Database Support

TimeLine supports the database types and versions listed below.

SAP Sybase ASE

TimeLine supports SAP Sybase ASE versions 11.0 through 16.0. It offers a wide variety of performance monitoring information, including the following:

  • Database server engine / thread activity levels
  • Operating system activity and process list
  • Cache utilization and performance metrics
  • Disk I/O levels and metrics such as wait time and APF (async prefetch) percentage
  • Database and segment space usage
  • Transaction log segment hold information
  • Configurable resource usage (user connections, locks, open objects, etc.)
  • Spinlock contention (for object / index hash tables, data caches, etc.)
  • User and system process activity with performance details (logical/physical I/Os, CPU usage, tempdb usage, ULC performance, query plans, etc.)
  • Blocked process monitoring — shows blockers and victims in an easy-to-understand tree view and reports on top-N blocked SQL, stored procedures and tables
  • Locking details
  • Wait event statistics per process and server-wide (when using the TimeLine Wait Event Monitoring Option)
  • Table scan monitoring per process (when using the TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option)

SAP Sybase IQ

TimeLine supports SAP Sybase IQ server versions 12.6 through 16.0, and offers the following types of performance data for these servers:

  • Database engine threads used / available
  • Operating system activity and process list
  • IQ Main and IQ Temp store usage
  • Main and Temp cache hits / misses, buffer usage, busy waits, etc.
  • Active and other version counts and sizes
  • DBSpace usage for Main and Temp store
  • ASA engine disk/network activity
  • Connection activity with performance metrics including logical / physical I/Os, version sizes, log writes, etc.
  • Captures and displays graphical HTML-format query plans per process (if enabled in the IQ server)
  • Locking / blocking details

SAP Sybase Replication Server

TimeLine supports SAP Sybase Replication Server versions 12.6 through 15.7.1. It offers the following performance monitoring modes and features:

  • Replication Server threads, up / down states and thread status
  • Operating system activity and process list
  • Replication queue contents and summary reports
  • Replication disk partition size, status, usage information by partition and by queue
  • Status listings and performance / activity graphs for DIST threads, DSI threads, SQM threads and SQT threads
  • Breakdown of replication latency per primary / replicate pair, showing per-thread and end-to-end latency measurements

Microsoft SQL Server

TimeLine supports Microsoft SQL Server versions 6.5 through 2014. TimeLine for SQL Server includes the following performance monitoring features:

  • Database server engine utilization
  • Operating system activity and process list
  • Cache performance, cache memory usage, page life expectancy, etc.
  • Database filegroup and per-file space usage, I/O rates, I/O latency
  • Wait event statistics (when using the TimeLine Wait Event Monitoring Option)
  • Snapshot version statistics
  • Captures XML-format query plans, and displays them graphically in SQL Server Management Studio
  • Blocked process monitoring — shows blockers and victims in an easy-to-understand tree view and reports on top-n blocked SQL, stored procedures and tables
  • Locking details
  • Table scan monitoring per process (when using the TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option)

Integration

TimeLine integrates with other ProActive DBA products and options to give you the most complete picture of your database server’s activity and performance levels. The section below describe the benefits you get when you use TimeLine in conjunction with other ProActive DBA products.

SQL Capture

Using TimeLine together with SQL Capture lets you view detailed information on the SQL statements that were running on your server at any selected point in time.

You can step forward or backward in time through SQL executions, to see how a performance problem developed and examine it in different dimensions.

And, you can define alerts that trigger based on SQL criteria such as execution time, error codes, rows returned and more. Alerts can gather snapshots of process and locking/blocking activity, and can trigger notifications or other custom events you define.

TimeLine Alerting Option

The TimeLine Alerting Option lets you define alerts that trigger based on a wide array of performance criteria and exception conditions, including:

  • Database server performance metrics (cache hits/misses, blocking/deadlocking, transaction activity, etc.)
  • Space used or available in database segments / filegroups / dbspaces
  • Operating system performance (CPU usage, RAM/VM usage, paging/swapping, filesystem space usage and more)
  • Database server error log events

Triggered alerts are saved and displayed in the TimeLine interface along with database performance metrics, process state, locking/blocking details and (when used together with SQL Capture) captured SQL statement details, so you get a complete view of database activity at the time the event occurred.

TimeLine Dashboard Option

The TimeLine Dashboard Option gives you a high-level view of your enterprise’s server activity, and you can view a summary of a selected server with just a click of the mouse.

TimeLine Wait Event Monitoring Option

The TimeLine Wait Event Monitoring Option (available for SAP Sybase ASE and Microsoft SQL Server) extends TimeLine to include various types of wait event data.

This option enables gathering and display of wait event information per process (displayed together with other process state information as you navigate by time in the TimeLine interface). It also displays overall database server wait event statistics, displayed as a pie chart with historical graphs.

TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option

The TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option provides real-time monitoring and alerting of long-running table scans that occur in the SQL executed by database client applications.

This option extends TimeLine by reporting table scan occurrences that are detected.

It also lets you report on the applications, users, SQL statements, database tables and other categories that incurred the most long-running table scans.

TimeLine Blocked Process Monitoring Option

The TimeLine Blocked Process Monitoring Option gives you summary and detailed information about blocked processes.

This option includes the Blocking Tree, which graphically displays the blocked and blocking process hierarchy.

It also includes Top-N reports that show you the biggest blocking causes and victims by SQL statement, stored procedure, application, database client hostname and more.

And, when used in conjunction with the TimeLine Alerting Option, it lets you alert on blocking conditions that meet criteria you select, and can send notifications and take configurable actions based on those conditions.

TimeLine Reporting Option

The TimeLine Reporting Option adds a variety of reporting capabilities to TimeLine, based on data gathered by timed snapshots and alerts you have defined.

The Reporting Option lets you define reports such as Top-N Applications by CPU Usage, Top-N SQL Texts by Logical Reads and Top-N Stored Procedures by SQL Execution Count.

TimeLine Warehouse Option

The TimeLine Warehouse Option enables long-term storage and reporting of performance metrics gathered by TimeLine on your monitored servers.

You can graph database engine activity, cache performance, space usage and more over a time period you select. Summarize performance by hour of day, day of week, etc. Baseline reports compare one time period with another so you can measure performance levels for trending and capacity planning.

Product Editions

TimeLine – this edition includes the base product.

TimeLine Plus – this product includes the base product plus all TimeLine options except the TimeLine Warehouse Option.

Option TimeLine TimeLine Plus Sybase ASE Sybase IQ Sybase Rep Server MSSQL Oracle
TimeLine (base product) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Dashboard Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Alerting Option Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Blocked Process Monitoring Option Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Table Scan Monitoring Option Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Wait Event Monitoring Option Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Reporting Option Yes Yes Yes
TimeLine Warehouse Option Yes Yes Yes Yes

Product Edition Comparison

TimeLine is offered in two feature editions: TimeLine and TimeLine Plus. The table below lists the features included in each product:

Feature TimeLine TimeLine Plus
Integrated view of SQL, performance metrics and other server activity at any selected point in time Yes Yes
Powerful GUI lets you navigate through events in various ways to locate and analyze performance problems Yes Yes
Database, O/S performance monitoring Yes Yes
Customizable alerting and event management Yes
Top-N Reports by User, Application, etc. Yes
Global and process-level wait event monitoring Yes
Blocking Tree and blocked/blocking process reports Yes
Table scan monitoring and reporting Yes