Chat GPT says SSMS is the best SQL Server monitoring tool-- and it's right

May 3, 2023

One thing I enjoy about AI chatbots is that they can help me recognize when I’ve missed something obvious.

I prompted ChatGPT (free version) with: “What are the top 10 products to monitor sql server databases? List the top three features and drawbacks of each, give detailed contrasts/comparisons of the top 3 by popularity.”

It responded with a list, and the top winner of this popularity contest was: SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS).

My first thought was, “that’s not a monitoring tool!”

But I was thinking about SSMS and my question incorrectly. ChatGPT pointed out that SSMS' top features are that it’s free, included with SQL Server, has an extensive toolset, and is easy to use. The drawbacks are that it has limited automation, lacks real-time monitoring, can be slow on large databases. At the end of the list of tools, ChatGPT suggested that, “the best SQL server monitoring tool for your organization will depend on the size and complexity of your databases, your budget, and your custom monitoring requirements.” And that’s absolutely true.

This uncovered an assumption I hadn’t realized that I hold: when I use the term “monitoring,” I assume that monitoring is automated. This is only a subset of monitoring, however. In many environments, it may be acceptable for monitoring to be manual, depending on the factors listed above. And when there’s no budget and very limited monitoring requirements, SSMS is a fine choice!

As we enter the world of the Rising Chatbots, I use these tools more and more. I don’t trust that the tools output accurate information, but rather that they might lead me in the direction of useful information or output, as long as I put in the due diligence needed to use it wisely.