BMC Rolls Out New Database Tool

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-10-10

New database monitoring software from BMC Software Inc. solves a common pet peeve: it not only alerts users of problems, it actually suggests solutions.

DBXray, which the Houston-based company launched on Tuesday, also is built to minimize performance degradation on the database and links into existing IT monitoring software, said Jonathan Priestley, director of product management for BMC.

"It ties together the ability to review whats going on in the enterprise or whats going on in the system, with certain products to fix it," Priestley said. "Were moving our products from instruments to advisers. The trade-off is how much monitoring can I afford to do because of the overhead."

DBXray does this by linking with BMCs own Patrol suite, but it also works with products from Computer Associates International Inc. and IBMs Tivoli group, Priestley said. Key features are database activity tracking, memory usage monitoring, a "10 hottest files" list and space management.

For a future version, BMC is devising a way for DBXray to actually test its solutions in a simulated mode before it suggests them to administrators, but that will be limited by variables in a users particular implementation.

DBXray beta tester Bill Sullivan, senior Oracle database administrator at shipping specialist CSX Corp., said the tool initially seems useful. Sullivan monitors about 10,000 Oracle users across multiple versions of Oracle, from 7.3 to 8i, and 9i may slowly be implemented, he said, from Jacksonville, Fla.

Using DBXray is easier than using CSXs existing custom-built monitoring scripts, but its links with other BMC software still need work in areas like automatic launching of other applications, said Sullivan, from Jacksonville, Fla. And since its not being run on a production system yet, any performance degradation still needs to be determined, he said.

DBXray costs $2,995 per user, which includes a year of free maintenance, and ships with a copy of BMCs Web DBA front-end tool, officials said. A version for IBMs DB2 is due later this year, and one for Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server is planned, although a specific date for that is undetermined, Priestley said. A revision of the software will come in about a year.

"I think youll see others of the heavyweight vendors also react to this," said Tim Grieser, an analyst with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass. "I think theres been a trend in the industry over the last six months to a year ago to go for tools in the performance measuring space that are very quick to give feedback."

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