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The Origins of SentryOne Plan Explorer

Jason Hall gives us a bit of history:

Greg saw a need in his own work, and I was seeing a need in the field with our customers, for a way to go beyond identifying high-impact queries. DBAs and developers needed a way to tune queries surfaced by SentryOne SQL Sentry’s Top SQL without fiddling with a lot of extra tools to get there. We were already building integration with SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), which included graphical query plans, so the original thought was to extend that integration from SentryOne with a link that opened plans in SSMS from Top SQL in SQL Sentry.

It seemed like an elegant solution that would allow us to reuse some code, but it wasn’t long before Brooke Philpott discovered that we wouldn’t be able to get what we needed this way. That particular part of SSMS wasn’t exposed to us in the manner we needed. Par for the course, we weren’t going to let that stop us from filling the need. Greg and Brooke dug into the problem to discover a mix of documentation, flow controls, and ingenuity that would provide the foundation for building our own query plan visuals.

Read on for the story and a bit about how the product has morphed through the years.