Quest Software is targeting the adherents of the NoSQL movement with the launch of a beta program for a new data access and management tool.
The tool is called Toad for Cloud Databases, and is meant to help users unlock data stored in the cloud using either the SQL language or Toad's visual query and data access capabilities. With the tool, users can query and report on non-relational data, as well as migrate data in cloud and relational databases from one to the other and create queries that combine the two.
"For DBAs, the tool allows you to see the data assets in the databases, at to move or extract data and schema between databases," explained Guy Harrison, director of research and development at Quest. "Most of these databases offer little or no utilities for viewing the database outside of programmatic APIs."
"Developers get a similar advantage and also the ability to be able to move test data into these databases from relational DBs," he continued. "For instance, a developer might want to copy product codes from their RDBMS so they can build out an order entry facility. They can also use TOAD to validate the data that the application has created."
Non-relational databases, he said, are generating interest for a number of reasons. In cloud environments, relational database systems are insufficiently elastic - hard to scale up and down across multiple hosts. NoSQL databases offer more economical solutions for massive databases, he said, and the cost of a commercial SAN and clustered database (RAC for instance) is much higher than what is promised by non-relational databases.
The NoSQL movement has been gaining momentum, and consists of a variety of non-relational data stores that spans open source projects such as Cassandra to products from companies such as MarkLogic, which makes a native XML database.
In its pitch for the tool, Quest argued that currently, complex programming is required to access data stored in the cloud and creates significant barriers for users who want to build applications or use the data for business intelligence. Toad for Cloud Databases solves this problem by providing query building and reporting capabilities familiar to Toad users, as well as migration and management for developers who want to experiment with the cloud through a SQL-based interface.
The current beta supports Amazon SimpleDB, Microsoft Azure Table services, Apache HBase, and any Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)-enabled relational database. The second beta release will add full support for Apache Cassandra, as well as Apache Hadoop through Hive. In addition, Quest has an Eclipse-based version of Toad for Cloud Databases on its roadmap for a future release.
"The database market is experiencing a very exciting, significant shift with these new types of data stores, and the future of Toad will reflect these changes in the market by providing freedom of platform choice," said Billy Bosworth, vice president and general manager for Enterprise Database at Quest Software, in a statement.
Outside of the cloud, adoption of NoSQL is mainly in pilot projects, Harrison said.
"Enterprise adoption hinges I think on manageability, interoperability with relational databases and [the] ability to use BI/reporting tools against the databases," he said. "The existence of third-party systems management solutions from vendors like Quest could be critical here."
This story was updated to add additional comment from Quest.