I remember hearing about a Project Houston about a year ago, a cunning plan to allow Microsoft to check the heath of your SQL Server databases and the operating system it sits on. It is now live and it’s called System Center Advisor. It works by using an internet gateway server you setup which in turn gathers information about your SQL Servers and submits this to the System Center Advisor cloud service every day.  The service has all the latest best practice gathered from Microsoft’s premier filed engineers and support teams, and process the supplied telemetry against this database to provide a list of warnings and alerts.

Here you can see what it made of my demo rig, not too healthy!

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and here you can see the details of those alerts..

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System Center Advisor makes use of the System Center Operations Manager agent to gather the data on each server but this service does not replace Operations Manager as it won’t provide real time alerting and only monitors SQL Server, and Windows Server (including the hyper-V and active directory roles). However the service is now live and it’s a free service for those with Software Assurance, and there’s a free 60 trial if you want to take a closer look.

The other reason I thought it was worth mentioning is that shows how what can be achieved by a cloud service with an Azure front end coupled with a SQL Azure database be scaled up as demand takes off and it’s output is available to anyone running a browser that supports Silverlight