SQL Sentry Portal Custom Charts

Applies to the following products and features: The on-premises SQL Sentry Portal feature for SQL Sentry. See the Getting Started with SQL Sentry Portal article for more details.


Custom charts in SQL Sentry Portal allow you to create personalized dashboards with the performance counters, labels, colors, and chart types you select.

Additional Information: See the Your Performance Data, Your Way with Custom Charts in Portal blog post for more examples.

Viewing Dashboards

Select Dashboards from the sidebar. If dashboards with custom charts already exist, they will be listed here under the Dashboard Digest. Select a Dashboard to view its contents.

The dashboard digest view showing all available custom dashboards.

Filter Dashboards

If you have a large number of dashboards, you may want to filter what is displayed in the Dashboard Digest. Start typing in the Filter Dashboards box to filter the dashboard options displayed.

SQL Sentry Portal Dashboard Digest Filter by Test

Creating Dashboards with Custom Charts

To create a Custom Dashboard in SQL Sentry Portal, complete the following steps:

  1. Select Dashboards from the sidebar to open the Dashboard Digest.
  2. Select the Create Dashboard button.The create a new dashboard screen using Docs Example as the Dashboard Name and Blank Dashboard selected for the Dashboard Template.
    Create a New Dashboard screen
  3. Enter a Dashboard Name on the Create a New Dashboard screen. This is how the dashboard will appear on the Dashboard Digest.
  4. Select a Dashboard Template from the drop-down menu. Use Blank Dashboard to start fresh or choose an existing dashboard name as a starting point for this dashboard.
  5. Select the Edit button to launch the Add Charts options bar.
    • Note:  Use Custom Chart to start fresh with the specific metrics you are looking for, or select an existing group from one of the options (e.g. Host CPU or SQL Server Database I/O). If you select an existing chart option, you can still customize it.
  6. Add a chart and use the Customize Chart screen to make changes with the custom chart options (described below) to create a chart.A custom chart showing one metric that has been added as a line chart.
    Example Customize Chart screen
  7. Select Save to save your chart and return to the edit dashboard screen.
  8. Add additional charts or select Save & Exit to complete your dashboard.

Custom Chart Options

SQL Sentry Portal Customize Chart window

PreviewThe preview area displays your chart with the selected options.
Chart NameA descriptive name for the chart. This is how it will be identified on the Dashboards view and used for filtering.
TargetThe name of the monitored target to select metrics from for the custom chart. When building your dashboard, you can include charts for different targets and target types on the same dashboard.

Starting with Version 2023.2.9, you can add metrics from multiple targets onto the same custom chart. For example, you could create a custom chart displaying CPU metrics from up to 10 targets in your environment in one custom chart. In the example below, we have added a custom chart with two separate targets displaying the sqlserver.topsql.database.waits metric.

Note:  Targets types are identified with icons in the Target drop-down list. When you select the Target from the list you will only have access to applicable metrics in the Performance Metrics section below. For example, a Windows target has access the applicable Windows or host metrics and SQL Server or Azure SQL Database targets have access to the applicable SQL Server or Azure metrics. You must be collecting tempdb metrics to have tempdb metrics listed.SQL Sentry Portal Customize Chart Target drop down
Sample PeriodOption to include historical metrics for 1 hour, 1 day, or 1 week.
Add MetricSelect the Add Metric button to add another metric to the custom chart. You may add up to 10 metrics per chart.

Note:  With Versions 2023.2 and later, you can add the same metric for multiple targets in your custom chart. When creating a new custom chart with your desired metric, selecting Add Metric will add a new instance of that metric. You can then change the target for the newly added metric to further customize your chart. If a metric is not available for your selected target type, the metric field will be highlighted with a red (!) icon, notifying you that the metric is invalid for the selected target.
MetricA drop-down menu of performance counter metrics (host.disk.reads, host.network.in.total, sqlserver.batches, etc.) applicable to the selected Target type.

Note:  Start typing to filter the available metrics. For example, type cpu to see all CPU-related metrics or tempdb for tempdb-related metrics.
A list of CPU filtered metrics.
CPU filtered metrics
A list of tempdb filtered metrics.
tempdb filtered metrics
InstanceThe instance of the metric (if applicable) such as Average or a specific Node / Core for host.cpu.cores or a specific disk for host.wmi.disk.size.
Legend LabelThe text that appears on the chart legend to associate the metric and color.

Note:  You can use emoji in the legend label. So if certain metrics make you happy, sad, or angry, you can add a little flair to your legend.A legend label of page faults is highlighted with an angry face emoji in the label name
Label with emoji
ColorThe color that the metric will use on the chart.

HEX color palette showing the HEX and RGB options.
Color palette window
Select the dot to open the color palette window. To choose a color, use the color slider and select a shade from the rectangle, enter a HEX value, or enter RGB values for your custom color.

With Version 2022.3 or later, you can use the transparency slider (under the color slider) to adjust the transparency of your selected color.

Select Set when you have chosen the appropriate color for the associated metric.
Chart TypeThe following chart type options are available:
  • Line (default)
  • Area
  • Column

Note:  There's much to debate when it comes to choosing the right type of chart to visualize your data. Keep in mind that:

  • A line chart displays data points that are connected with a single line. Its simplicity makes it a versatile and common chart type.
  • An area chart displays the data points with a connected line and fills in the area below. It may be difficult to see all metrics in an area chart (depending on the data being displayed).
  • A Column chart displays data in vertical bars, grouped by metric. It can be particularly useful for comparing series of data.

LineCheck the Line box to display the metric as a line on the chart.

A pink and purple column chart for CPU and Reads showing Writes and Network In as lines over the columns.
Example of a Column chart with Writes and Network In metrics added as a line.
Note:  This option only appears on Area and Column charts. It allows you to add a metric as a line to those chart types.
Use the button to remove the metric from the chart.
Custom Time RangeA Custom Time Range allows you to configure a chart to display metrics a defined number of minutes, hours, or days.
SQL Server Waits chart with
Example chart using a custom time range of 3 hours

Note:  You can mix charts with custom time ranges and default time ranges on the same dashboard. Charts that use a custom time range will not be affected when a new time period is selected from the date selector in the top navigation bar.
AmountThe numerical value associated with the Units. For example, if you want the past 12 hours displayed, enter 12 in Amount and select Hours from Units.
UnitsThe following units of time are available:
  • Minutes
  • Hours
  • Days
SaveSelect Save to save the changes to your custom chart, and add it to your Dashboard.
CancelSelect Cancel to dismiss your custom chart and not save any changes.

Editing Dashboards

  1. Select Dashboards from the sidebar.
  2. On the Dashboard Digest screen you can either:
    1. Select the options button on the dashboard you want to edit.
    2. Select the dashboard you want to edit, then select the edit button from the Dashboards screen.

Edit mode allows you to do any of the following:

SQL Sentry Portal Dashboard edit mode example

  1. Delete the dashboard.
  2. Rename the dashboard.
  3. Add additional charts to the dashboard.
  4. Configure, delete, or copy existing charts on the dashboard.

Remember to select Save & Exit after making your changes, or Cancel to dismiss them.

Organizing Charts

When you are in Edit mode, you can drag and drop the charts to change the order or position on the dashboard. If you want more than one chart per row, drag it into a row that contains another chart to create another chart column.

A custom dashboard is shown with charts organized across rows and columns.Dashboard example with charts organized across rows and columns

Note:  To remove a chart from a multi-column row and place it in a new row, drag and drop it on the bar with the add symbol (plus sign in a circle).

The The Add bar for new rows

Editing Custom Charts

Adding charts

Selecting edit on the dashboard allows you to add new charts using the Add Charts option bar. See the Custom Chart Options above to complete adding a chart.

Editing charts

  1. Select the configure button on the chart you want to edit.
  2. Edit the options as needed. See the Custom Chart Options above.
  3. Select Save.

Removing charts

  1. Select the edit button on the dashboard that contains the chart you want to remove.
  2. Select the delete button on the chart you want to remove.
  3. Select Save & Exit to complete the chart deletion.
    • Note:  Select Cancel if you do not want to delete the chart.

Copying charts

  1. Select the edit button on the dashboard that contains the chart you want to copy.
  2. Select the copy button on the chart you want to copy.
  3. Edit the options as needed. See the Custom Chart Options above.
  4. Select Save to save your changes.
    • Note:  Select Cancel if you do not want to copy the chart.
  5. Select Save & Exit to save the changes to your dashboard.

Deleting Dashboards

An entire dashboard may be deleted from the Dashboard Digest or Dashboard screen.

From the Dashboard Digest screen:

  1. Select the options button on the dashboard you want to remove.
  2. Select Delete.
  3. Select Delete Dashboard on the Delete Dashboard Confirmation screen to complete the dashboard deletion.
    • Note:  Select Cancel if you do not want to delete the dashboard.

From the Dashboard screen:

  1. Select the  Edit button on the dashboard you want to remove.
  2. Select the Delete button on the dashboard you want to remove.
  3. Select Delete Dashboard on the Delete Dashboard Confirmation screen to complete the dashboard deletion.
    • Note:  Select Cancel if you do not want to delete the dashboard.