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Automation and Analysis For the DBA

Embarcadero DBArtisan 8.0 helps you manage all the databases across your enterprise from a common console

PROS
•Uses a common interface to administer Oracle, SQL Server, DB2 and Sybase databases
•Makes most common DBA tasks easy to execute and automate
•Assists in migrating a database object from one database platform to another
•Core product doesn't install any objects on the database being administered
•Add-on components help you debug code, identify performance and space bottlenecks and forecast database growth
CONS
•Does not support DB2 on AS/400
•Third-party tool; might not be current with new features introduced in minor releases of the supported databases
Do you really need another database management tool? After all, the major database vendors supply their own set of administration tools. The answer is yes, because these supplied tools tend to work with only the vendor's database. Even if your DBAs don't manage databases across multiple platforms, you can still reduce total cost of ownership and improve productivity by standardizing on a single database administration tool. Software vendors such as Quest Software, BMC Software, Computer Associates and Embarcadero Technologies offer products that can be used to manage heterogeneous databases. Embarcadero's DBArtisan is one of the most feature-rich database administration tools, it's popular among DBAs and its recent 8.0 release will further solidify the fan base.

DBArtisan is a comprehensive database administration tool that can help automate most common DBA activities. This automation frees up DBAs from labor-intensive everyday activities and lets them focus on improving the health of the database rather than fighting space and performance outages. DBArtisan certainly simplifies things for DBAs who manage databases on multiple platforms. It also gives the traditional administration tools from the major database vendors a run for their money.

Time Saver

DBArtisan was, unlike many software tools, problem free during installation. But what impressed me more was that the tool immediately recognized all Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server and DB2 databases on the network. I could then access any database by simply clicking on the related icon.

DBArtisan makes the common task of manipulating database objects go quickly. The multitabbed graphical user interface makes it easy to create, drop or alter database objects such as tables, indexes, procedures, triggers and roles. To get a quick handle on your object definitions, you can create Web reports showing all definitions within the database. It's easy to create users, roles and profiles, and you can set privileges for multiple users in a single operation. Another good feature is the ability to migrate accounts between two different database platforms effortlessly. The Embarcadero Query Builder can be used to build SQL statements with a point-and-click interface. The ISQL facility provides an interface to edit and run the queries against the database.

DBArtisan helps you schedule automated jobs to run through the Microsoft Windows Task Scheduler or Embarcadero Job Scheduler to deploy on any nonmainframe machine on the network, including Unix and Linux boxes. You can stop, start and analyze the output of any job you choose.

DBArtisan contains a visual data editor that eases your job of adding, changing and deleting data from your database tables while enforcing referential integrity. You can create insert statements for tables using current data and also extract data as XML documents. The tool helps you move schema objects and associated data from one database server to another, and you can copy a single database object or any grouping of database objects. DBArtisan can also help you transfer common database objects, such as tables, data, users, indexes and views, across database platforms. This transfer support is particularly useful as more applications and associated databases are being migrated from one platform to another.

DBArtisan also assists backup and recovery, providing a graphical user interface and wizards to facilitate common tasks. The tool ships with a built-in process monitor that shows you who is connected to your database and each session's current activity, with locking details and other session-related data.

More Power

One advantage of DBArtisan is that it doesn't install any objects (which you would have to manage) on production database servers. However, the full power and flexibility of DBArtisan can be realized only through its add-on components, which do install a few objects in the database that is being administered. Take a look at all the add-ons and choose only the ones that you find most useful.

Embarcadero SQL Debugger lets you step through code as it executes, enabling you to watch database logic and quickly identify the source of errors. You can also set a code profiling option that displays the expense of each line of code as it's executed, indicating potential performance bottlenecks in the code.

New Analysis Features

Other major enhancements to this version include:

  • Analyst series components for Sybase ASE, and for DB2 UDB (running on Linux, Unix or Windows, but not on z/OS or OS/390). The Analyst series includes Space Analyst, Capacity Analyst and Performance Analyst components.
  • Backup Analyst, an add-on component that provides a high-performance backup and recovery engine for Microsoft SQL Server databases. It can compress the backup and reduce backup storage requirements by as much as 90 percent. It also provides built-in encryption features that offer extra protection for sensitive database backups.
  • An upgrade of Performance Analyst for Oracle to support monitoring of Oracle Real Application Clustering (RAC) environments in Oracle 8.0 and later releases. It displays bottleneck, workload and instance analysis views, memory and cache analysis views, ping activity, object and data files, lock activity, sessions, blocks, user waits and top sessions by instance. The Performance Analyst for Oracle has been upgraded to include views into the new response time and user wait metrics introduced in Oracle 10g. This upgrade allows DBAs to drill into the root cause of end-user response time problems, up to a day after the fact.
• DBArtisan 8.0 (10 servers) costs $1,895; DBArtisan Cross-Platform is $5,195. The product runs on Windows NT, 2000 and XP. For more information, contact Embarcadero at www.embarcadero.com or 415-834-3131.

Ganesh Variar is lead analyst at Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, where he manages and designs BI solutions. Write him at [email protected].

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