Microsoft SQL Server Tools Guide

Whichever SQL Server hammer or nail you may be looking for, there's a good chance you'll find the tool or utility you need in this guide. Check out some of the best native and third-party tools for Microsoft's database management systems.

Need help with a SQL Server task? Want to make managing SQL Server easier? We've compiled a list of nifty tools – several that are free – that can help with a plethora of DBA tasks – from performance tuning to security to business intelligence.

Keep in mind this guide merely scratches the surface of SQL Server tools, and we'll update it regularly as new tools become available and old tools are improved.

Installation and management tools

  • SQL Server FineBuild (Free) (CodePlex)
    Installs SQL Server -- and best-practice configurations -- with one click. Download SQL Server FineBuild.
  • SQL Job Manager (Free) (Idera)
    Streamlines the process of cross-server SQL Server job management, reducing job failure rates and the amount of time spent on job management activities. Download SQL Job Manager.
  • RazorSQL (Richardson Software)
    SQL query tool, database browser, SQL editor, and database administration tool for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris. Download RazorSQL.
  • SQL Partition Manager (DonWellSoft)
    Ideal for large databases, simplifies partitioned table maintenance by automating management tasks. Download SQL Partition Manager.
  • YourSQLDba (Free) (Société GRICS)
    Script file of T-SQL stored procedures that automate routine database maintenance. Download YourSQLDba.
  • Object Search (Free) (Microsoft)
    Built-in feature in SQL Server Management Studio 2008 that helps find objects in a particular datatbase. More on Object Search.

Monitoring and performance tuning

  • SQL admin toolset (Idera)
    Set of 24 administration tools for monitoring, troubleshooting, administering, and reporting including Password Checker, Job Editor and Patch analyzer. Microsoft MVPs receive a free license. Download SQL admin toolset.
  • myLittleAdmin (myLittleTools)
    Web-based application that administers SQL Server and Desktop Engine databases over the internet. Download myLittleAdmin
  • SQL Permissions (Free) (Idera)
    Moves logins and applies permissions across all databases on the target server or single database. Download SQL Permissions.
  • Event Manager (SQL Sentry)
    A scheduling, alerting and response system for SQL Server jobs and other events that impact performance that allows problems to be solved as they arise. Download Event Manager.
  • Performance Advisor (SQL Sentry)
    An advanced performance dashboard that deliver Windows and SQL Server metrics in a single view along with details regarding heavy SQL blocking, deadlocks and disk bottlenecks. Download Performance Advisor.
  • Performance Studio (Free) (Microsoft)
    Built-in administrative console that helps monitor speed and efficiency of databases, and collects real-time performance data from multiple databases and stores them in a central repository. More on using Performance Studio.
  • Data Collector (Free) (Microsoft)
    Component of SQL Server 2008 that collects data and provides one central point for data collection across database servers and applications. More on Data Collector.
  • Performance Monitor (Teratrax)
    Low-footprint technology that collects performance information, which can bedanalyzed by an easy-to-understand user interface. Free for SQL Server Express Edition. Download Performance Monitor.
  • SQL Check (Free) (Idera)
    Monitors performance and pulls together numerous statistics in a single screen. Functions as a secure screen saver. Download SQL Check.
  • Spotlight on SQL Server Enterprise (Quest Software)
    Detects and diagnoses performance issues across a SQL Server environment and provides an overview of enterprise performance. Download Spotlight.

Backup and recovery tools

  • SQL Backup (Red Gate)
    Creates smaller, safer and faster backups of SQL Server databases. Download SQL Backup.
  • LiteSpeed (Quest Software)
    Backup and recovery software that provides integrated high performance compression technology. Download LiteSpeed.
  • TimeData (DoubleTake Software)
    Continuous data protection software that provides data recovery at any point in time, and allows workflow to resume without having to recover from tape. Download TimeData.
  • SQL safe Backup (Idera)
    Accelerates, compresses and encrypts database backups. Download SQL safe Backup.
  • SQL safe Freeware Edition (Free) (Idera)
    Based on Idera's SQL safe product, includes a high-performance backup and recovery engine, a scriptable interface and can backup and compress any size and any number of databases. Download SQL safe Freeware Edition.
  • SQL virtual database (Idera)
    Allows SQL Server backup files to be attached, queried as real databases and data to be accessed in SQL Server backup files without restoring. Download SQL virtual database.
  • SQL Server Database Copy Tool (Free) (Codeplex)
    Copies a SQL Server database from one instance to another by backing it up, copying the backup file to the destination server and restoring the database. Download SQL Server Database Copy Tool .

Security tools

  • AppDetective (Application Security)
    Network-based, vulnerability assessment tool that locates, examines, reports and helps fix security holes. Download AppDetective.
  • NGSSquirrel (Next Generation Security Software)
    Vulnerability assessment tool available for SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005. Download NGSSquirrel.
  • Metasploit (Metasploit)
    Penetration testing and exploit tool. Download Metasploit.
  • QualysGuard (Qualys)
    Vulnerability assessment tool that combines vulnerability management service with an IT compliance solution. Download QualysGuard.
  • SQL Encryption Assistant (Free) (Devenius)
    Manages encryption keys and certificates inside SQL Server, directly inside SQL Server Management Studio. Download SQL Encryption Assistant.

Development and BI tools

  • SQL Compare (Red Gate)
    Compares and synchronizes database changes quickly and simply. Download SQL Compare.
  • Toad (Quest Software)
    Management and development toolset designed to bridge the gap between SQL Server Management Studio and Visual Server. Download Toad.
  • Performance Advisor for Analysis Services (SQL Sentry)
    Monitors and optimizes SQL Server Analysis Services performance, and provides insight related to memory, storage systems, aggregation usage, queries and processing. Download Performance Advisor for Analysis Services.
  • Tweet-SQL
    Third-party set of CLR assemblies and stored procedures that let you leverage Twitter in your SQL Server 2005 and up databases. More on Tweet-SQL.
  • T-SQL Debugger (Free) (Microsoft)
    Built-in tool that includes all the core debugging features -- the Locals, Watch, QuickWatch and Output windows – in addition to the ability to set breakpoints to stop execution. More on working with T-SQL Debugger.
  • IntelliSense (Free) (Microsoft)
    An auto-completion system supported in SQL Server Management Studio 2008 that provides easy access to language elements as you write your queries. More on IntelliSense.
  • Apex SQL Report (Apex)
    Data driven, web-reporting solution for SQL Server. Download APEX SQL Report.
  • SQL Prompt (Red Gate)
    Add-on application that provides auto-complete functionality while typing for programs used to create SQL statements. Download SQL Prompt.
  • More on SQL Prompt.
  • ApexSQL Code (Free) (Apex)
    Generates code from C# or VB.NET code templates. Free for a limited time. Download ApexSQL Code.
  • ApexSQL Refactor (Free) (Apex) Formats SQL code for improved readability and to conform to team coding standards. Download ApexSQL Refactor.
  • Instant SQL Formatter
    Online tool that cleans-up SQL code, formats SQL into HTML and translates SQL code into other program languages like Java. Use Instant SQL Formatter.
  • SQLinForm (Free)
    Automatic web-based SQL code formatter. Access SQLinForm.
  • SQL Scripter (SQL Scripter)
    Data export and scripting utility for SQL Server. Packages and transports table data. Download SQL Scripter.

Additional resources

  • More SQL Server security tools
    Check out the best places to find security tips and countless security tools.
  • SQL injection tools
    SQL injection is a security exploit in which the attacker adds SQL code to a Web form input box to gain access. These tools automate testing of SQL injection.
  • Top SQL Server products of 2008/2007 | 2006 |2005
This was first published in September 2009

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