Auditing Query Activity with VividCortex

Posted by Baron Schwartz on Sep 1, 2016 11:14:28 AM

Did you know you can use VividCortex to pull needles out of haystacks with super low effort and overhead? It’s true: next time you’re wondering how to catch that oddball query in action, without enabling a month’s worth of full query logging, VividCortex might have a solution for you.

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We modified our sophisticated sampling algorithm to support some customer-requested edge cases. Based initially on a Heisenbug a customer was experiencing, this feature has been instrumental in solving hard-to-diagnose problems for a number of customers.

The customer in this case initially reported that a table was experiencing modifications that “shouldn’t happen, ever.” The issue was familiar: no one could find the source of the modifications in the sprawling codebase.

When this type of issue had happened in the past, it had proven to be a big ordeal to track down the source. The DBA team had needed to declare maintenance windows and enable full query logging on the database. Because of the performance burden and operational risk of these measures, the database had required constant surveillance while they were happening. And then the logs had to be copied elsewhere and analyzed. The issues could sometimes take days to recur and spot in action. All told, developers had to involve DBA teams and wait weeks for everything to come together.

With VividCortex, the solution was almost unremarkable in comparison. We simply configured pattern-matching to force capturing samples of queries for the table in question, and then we waited until they showed up. The rest was easy: the customer just used the VividCortex UI to search and inspect queries against that table. Once identified, viewing a query execution sample’s full properties (origin host, etc.) led the developer to a quick fix.

The difference between these approaches is like night and day. Importantly, with VividCortex, developers are empowered to solve sticky problems like this themselves, without needing to involve busy DBAs or risk any production impact, and they’re therefore able to ship better code, more quickly and with more confidence. As a result, weeks of work and delay are reduced to instant solutions.

We’ve seen a significant number of users discover problems that had either been invisible or deeply hidden in just a matter of minutes after installing VividCortex. You can see if your business is in a position to find that immediate value for yourself by requesting a free trial today. If your organization has dealt with problematic queries or other buried issues in your systems, VividCortex may have the visibility you need, available easily and with speed.

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