Case Study: SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server

Franciscan Health Services Keep Mission-critical Applications in Top Form


Established in 1968, Franciscan Health is responsible for managing the entire computing infrastructure of the eight hospitals and other healthcare facilities within the St. Francis system. To meet the growing IT needs of hospitals that service thousands of patients a day, Franciscan Health has built an impressive infrastructure using state of the art information technology. Most of the core financial, clinical and management systems are third party applications, and the majority use SQL Server as a backend database. Franciscan Health relies on SQL Diagnostic Manager from IDERA to keep their SQL Server infrastructure healthy and their mission-critical applications performing well.

Tom Sawyer is a Senior DBA at Franciscan. He and his team of four DBAs are faced with the challenge of keeping the key systems, especially SQL Server, healthy for St. Francis. “SQL Server plays a very critical role in our infrastructure, said Tom. It comprises about 75% of our databases and serves as the backend to many of the critical hospital applications we use including our financial, materials management, and medical applications. With these types of applications and information at risk, we have to keep our SQL Server systems running smoothly at all times.”

“We use a wide range of healthcare applications at Franciscan, almost all of which are purchased applications, so we don’t own the code. My team spends a great deal of time working with third party application vendors recommending and implementing improvements to these applications. This is the primary reason that we needed SQL Diagnostic Manager. We were spending so much time doing investigative work, we decided that we needed a product that could monitor SQL Server proactively and help us more quickly find and diagnose problem code. Now we don’t have to go to each box and set up individual SQL Profiler traces and Performance Monitor logs. We just add the server name in SQL Diagnostic Manager and the product does the rest.”

“We recently used SQL Diagnostic Manager to quickly resolve a problem with a glucose monitoring application. End users reported performance problems. I opened SQL Diagnostic Manager and found a stored procedure that had been running for 40 minutes on one occurrence with other occurrences of the same stored procedure running at the same time as this long-running occurrence. That’s when I realized that there was a problem with the application. We contacted the vendor. They discovered that the problem was related to a registry setting for their application, which they were able to change to correct the problem. This is one example of how SQL Diagnostic Manager has helped us to identify issues with vendor written applications.”

“SQL Diagnostic Manager has helped us become proactive rather than reactive in our performance troubleshooting efforts. Before SQL Diagnostic Manager, if we had a problem, we had no way to know concretely what the problem was. We would spend a lot of time setting up manual procedures to track activity for the same time the next day, but more often than not, the same set of conditions would not reoccur. We have wasted a lot of time and effort doing reactive performance investigation. But now, SQL Diagnostic Manager allows us to be proactive. It is always on, always tracking, and it keeps extensive historical performance and diagnostic information, so we are able to determine the source of a performance problem, even if the problem occurred months ago.”

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