Question: What is SQL Sentry Plan Explorer software?
Answer: Plan Explorer has become the most used query plan tuning tool in the world, and we have heard from countless SQL Server users that the ability of Plan Explorer to easily visualize and manage query plans makes them more productive and improves the quality of their work.
Question: Why did SQL Sentry decide to make this product free?
Answer: As we were getting the latest features into the PRO version, we realized every SQL Server professional needs to be using Plan Explorer, and all users could benefit from the new and extremely useful features that were previously only available in the paid PRO version. Thousands of people use Plan Explorer every day, and we came to the decision that the benefits to the user are so great that we want everyone to have access to all the features.
Question: What’s new in this version?
Answer: In addition to all the free and PRO features in the previous versions, there are groundbreaking new capabilities in this latest release. The first is Index Analysis - a brand new approach to index and statistics analysis, providing richer index recommendations and allowing you to propose index changes and estimate the performance impact in an isolated sandbox. The other new feature is Live Query Profile, which shows the data flowing between operators in real time, but also allows you to replay the execution of an expensive query without having to run it again.
Question: What other benefits can users get from using Plan Explorer versus the native tools?
Answer: In addition to the technical benefits, there are also some fantastic peripheral advantages to using Plan Explorer. For example, if you register, you can upload your troublesome execution plans to answers.sqlperformance.com, where industry experts like Paul White will help you with detailed and specific tuning advice. You can think of the site as your own, personalized query tuning consulting service.
Question: Where can I learn more?
Answer: We have updated the Plan Explorer product pages to reflect these changes and the new features. CEO Greg Gonzalez has also blogged about the new version and a recording of Aaron Bertrand’s recent webinar is at sqlsentry.tv.