High performance, low budget: Our favourite database performance monitoring toolkit

At Monin, our mission revolves around resolving a pervasive issue that plagues many companies – the enigmatic slowdown of their databases. Countless businesses find themselves grappling with database performance, often without a clear understanding of the underlying causes. These issues can manifest as a myriad of challenges, from tardy query responses to unforeseen server outages, all of which can severely impact a company’s operations.

To help our customers achieve optimal database performance, Monin deploys a range of performance monitoring solutions. One of the most popular tools is DBmarlin, a comprehensive performance monitoring solution that is gaining popularity among our customers. DBmarlin is a cost-effective alternative to other monitoring options and is designed to help businesses of all sizes monitor their database performance in real-time. In this blog, we will explore the features and benefits of DBmarlin and why it is becoming our go-to solution for customers looking to optimize their database performance.

Single Pane of Glass

One of the first standout features of DBmarlin is its ability to support a wide range of database technologies, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle (including standard edition), Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, CockroachDB, and MariaDB. This versatility makes it an ideal solution for businesses that use multiple databases and want to monitor them all in one place.


DBmarlin’s overview window, providing a single view of all your database instances.

DBmarlin is especially interesting for those using Oracle (both Standard & Enterprise Edition), as it provides performance monitoring options which were normally only possible when owning Diagnostic Pack licenses.

DBmarlin’s also offers a host view allowing you to monitor the performance of the entire database host machine, not just individual database instances. This feature provides a comprehensive view of the host machine’s resource utilization, including CPU, memory, and disk usage (find the separate host metrics by clicking “Hosts” in the menu or by clicking “Host Metrics” in your database activity page). By monitoring the host machine, businesses can identify any performance issues that may be caused by factors outside of the database instance itself, such as competing applications or network traffic.

DBmarlin also supports cloud databases, including Microsoft Azure SQL and Amazon RDS. This feature is particularly useful for businesses that have migrated their databases to the cloud, as it allows them to monitor their cloud databases alongside their on-premises databases in a single pane of glass. 

Finally, one additional benefit of DBmarlin is that it does not require any agent to be installed on the database server, which simplifies the installation and setup process. The platform operates by collecting performance metrics using standard SQL queries and system views. This approach also ensures that DBmarlin has minimal impact on the performance of the database server, making it ideal for production environments where downtime and interruptions need to be minimized. Next up, we’ll have a look at some of the advanced analytics features that DBmarlin has to offer.

In-depth Analytics 

DBmarlin’s analytics features are a crucial tool for anybody looking to drill down into their database performance. Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting features.

DBMarlin in-depth analysis

First off, DBmarlin’s ability to visualize top waits via the Database Activity page allows businesses to quickly identify the most significant contributors to their database’s overall wait time. This feature helps DBA’s to focus on the most pressing performance issues and address them proactively.

DBMarlin_SQL Statistics page

Supplemented by the SQL Statistics page, providing statistics at statement level such as CPU time, Physical Reads, Logical Reads and Logical Writes.

DBMarlin’s query execution visualization. Also notice the link to the knowledge base bottom right.

Next, DBmarlin’s query execution analysis capabilities enable Monin’s customers to identify and analyze slow queries, detect bottlenecks, and visualize execution plans to optimize query performance. This last one is very powerful, as for some database technologies it can be an intensive task to get the execution plan used for that specific statement at that specific time

Another indispensable tool in DBmarlin’s belt is the Blocking sessions interface, allowing for quick debugging and resolution of blocking issues. The interface provides an intuitive view of the current blocking sessions, including the session ID, status, wait event, and the SQL statement that caused the blocking.

Finally, DBmarlin’s knowledge base is an essential resource for those who want to dive deeper into their database’s performance metrics. The knowledge base includes detailed documentation and best practices, which can help database administrators to quickly understand the root cause of performance issues. For instance, DBmarlin documented the most common database wait events, just clicking the “Read More” button next to the wait event of a statement which will bring you to the right page.

Tracking Changes

DBmarlin provides Monin’s customers with several essential features to monitor and optimize their database systems’ performance over time. One of these features is the ability to automatically detect and track common database events that can have an impact on performance, like table schema changes, index creation or deletion, and query plan changes. (see this documentation page for more info)

DBmarlin’s timeline view can also be augmented with custom events thanks to its API integration capabilities. This allows you to integrate other tools, like Instana or Jenkins, to add additional information on the timeline. By integrating DBmarlin with other tools, businesses can leverage additional data sources to gain a more complete view of their database systems’ performance.

DBMarlin's stats comparison view

DBmarlin’s stats comparison view, comparing query duration between snapshots.

By default, all history is stored for 31 days (more info on retention here). However, users can also save named snapshots, allowing them to easily compare performance metrics from different points in time and gain deeper insight into the factors impacting their database performance. 

Highlight from DBMarlin's time comparison view
Highlight from DBmarlin’s time comparison view, showing an overview of the differences between two snapshots



In this article, we’ve highlighted some of DBmarlin’s key features, but the real value of this powerful database performance monitoring tool lies in how seamlessly it all ties together. With DBmarlin, DBA’s and non-DBA’s alike can easily click through certain elements to dive deeper and use intuitive filters to isolate performance issues. Users can also easily see how database metrics change over time using the timeline view and save named snapshots to go back in time and compare performance.

It’s really something you need to see in action, so why not check out our video to see our very own ‘DBA in charge’ Dries Moelans walk through DBmarlin’s many interesting features? Or better yet, get in touch with us at Monin, and we’d be happy to show you how our experts can use DBmarlin to get the most out of your database environment!

VIDEO: DBmarlin useful features according to Monin