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Use Utility Explorer to Manage the SQL Server Utility

Utility Explorer, a component of SQL Server Management Studio, connects to Database Engine instances to provide a tree view of all the objects in the SQL Server Utility. The Utility Explorer content pane provides several ways to view summary and detailed data about the health state of managed instances of SQL Server. Utility Explorer also provides a user interface to view and manage policy definitions. The capabilities of Utility Explorer vary slightly depending on the objects in the SQL Server Utility, but generally include objects, data, and policies managed by the SQL Server Utility. For more information, see SQL Server Utility Features and Tasks.

Before you can use SQL Server Utility, you must create a utility control point. For more information, see SQL Server Utility Features and Tasks or Create a SQL Server Utility Control Point (SQL Server Utility).

You can easily enroll an instance of SQL Server into the SQL Server Utility. In Utility Explorer, right-click the Managed Instances node, and then click Add Managed Instance. Follow the steps of the wizard to complete the operation. For more information, see Enroll an Instance of SQL Server (SQL Server Utility).

To deploy a data-tier application to a managed instance of SQL Server in the SQL Server Utility, click on the Object Explorer tab, expand the Management node, then right-click on Data-tier Applications. From the right-click menu, select Deploy Data-tier Application. For more information, see Deploy a Data-tier Application.

Utility Explorer is not visible in the Management Studio by default. If you cannot see Utility Explorer in the Management Studio user interface, on the View menu, click Utility Explorer. To view the Utility Explorer content pane, on the View menu, click Utility Explorer Content.

The Utility Explorer navigation pane and the Utility Explorer content pane display data, objects, and policies managed by the SQL Server Utility. Use the navigation pane to specify the information to display in the dashboard and view points, then use the content pane and details tabs to access data and policy information for objects managed by the SQL Server Utility.

SQL Server Utility Navigation Pane

The Utility Explorer navigation pane provides a tree view of objects in the SQL Server Utility, grouped by utility control point. To expand folders, click the plus sign (+) or double-click the UCP name in the Utility Explorer navigation pane. Right-click folders or objects to perform common tasks. Nodes in the tree view are as follows:

  • The top node in the tree view is the utility control point (UCP). The node name is constructed as: "Utility_Name" (ComputerName\UCP_instance_name). If you do not have a UCP, you must create one. If you are not connected to a SQL Server Utility, you must connect to one. For more information, see SQL Server Utility Features and Tasks. Click on the UCP name in the tree view to populate the SQL Server Utility Explorer content pane with data in the dashboard view. For more information, see Utility Dashboard (SQL Server Utility).

    Right-click on the UCP node to refresh data in the dashboard.

  • Click on the Deployed Data-tier Applications node in the tree view to access list view data in the SQL Server Utility content pane. The details tabs at the bottom of the content pane provide data for CPU and storage utilization, as well as access to policy definitions and property details for individual data-tier applications in the SQL Server Utility. For more information, see Deployed Data-tier Application Details (SQL Server Utility).

    Right-click on the Deployed Data-tier Applications node in the tree view to access filter settings or refresh data in the list view.

  • Click on the Managed Instances node in the tree view to access list view data in the SQL Server Utility content pane. The details tabs at the bottom of the content pane provide data for CPU and storage volume utilization, as well as access to policy definitions and property details for individual managed instances of in the Utility. For more information, see Managed Instance Details (SQL Server Utility).

    Right-click on the Managed Instances node in the tree view to add managed instances of to the Utility, to access filter settings, or to refresh data in the list view.

  • Click on the Utility Administration node in the tree view to access global policy definitions for all managed instances of and deployed data-tier applications in the Utility, to view UCP administrator information, and to access configuration settings for the Utility management data warehouse. For more information, see Utility Administration (SQL Server Utility). You can also use controls on the Policy tab to change the sensitivity for reporting policy violations. For more information, see Reduce Noise in CPU Utilization Policies (SQL Server Utility).

    Right-click on the Utility Administration node in the tree view to refresh data in the content pane.

SQL Server Utility Dashboard

Selecting the UCP node in the Utility Explorer tree view populates the Utility dashboard in the Utility Explorer content pane. The dashboard provides an at-a-glance summary of status for all managed instances of and data-tier applications in the Utility, and overall storage utilization for objects managed by the Utility. For more information, see Utility Dashboard (SQL Server Utility). To enroll or remove an instance of SQL Server, see Enroll an Instance of SQL Server (SQL Server Utility) or Deploy a Data-tier Application or Remove an Instance of SQL Server from the SQL Server Utility.

Filtering the List of Objects in Utility Explorer Contents

When a node contains a large number of objects, it may be difficult to find the object you are looking for. In such cases, use the filter feature of Utility Explorer to reduce the list to a smaller size. For example, you may want to find a specific instance of or only computers with underutilized file space. Right-click on the folder that you want to filter, click the filter button, then click on Filter Settings to open the Utility Explorer Filter Settings dialog box. You can filter the list by name, computer CPU, instance CPU, file space, volume space, policy override settings, or last reported time. The Operator and Value columns provide additional filtering operators in a drop-down list.

Starting PowerShell

You can start a PowerShell session by right-clicking most folders and objects in the Object Explorer tree and selecting Start Powershell. This starts a Powershell session that has the SQL Server Powershell support enabled, and the path set to the object you right-clicked in Object Explorer. You can then enter Powershell commands in an interactive Powershell environment. For more information, see SQL Server PowerShell.

Powershell does not have F1 help, but it does include a Get-Help cmdlet that provides information about using Powershell. For more information about using Get-Help, see Get Help SQL Server PowerShell.

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