GridApp Systems Extends Database Automation Capability

GridApp Systems has created a framework for database administrators to customize and manage automation for any action at the database level.

GridApp Systems wants to reduce the complexity of upgrading a database to a simple click of the mouse and a few strokes of the keyboard.

In its Clarity 4.5 release, GridApp has included technology that company officials said can automate any type of database activity through a feature called Clarity Actions. Clarity Actions creates a framework for the database enabling customers to build and manage automation for actions ranging from upgrades to user management.

"What is game-changing about Clarity Actions is that DBAs can automate other tasks in a far more robust, flexible and maintainable manner than they could by scripting," said Jasmine Noel, technology analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates, in a statement. "Not only do DBAs gain more time to focus on strategic efforts through this new automation, there is no need to revamp the automation every time the environment changes."

With Clarity Actions, DBAs can run a particular action on all an organization's databases across separate physical servers, said Robert Gardos, CEO of the New York-based company. For example, if a DBA wanted, he or she could set an action specifically for their SQL Server 2005 databases running on Windows 2003, he explained. Part of what differentiates the product from others is that it understands context, he added.

"So you can create an arbitrary script, but it won't understand what the actual target for that arbitrary script is," Gardos said, referring to products that don't understand context. "All you can do is [make its] target...a physical node. Our target is any entity or any object within the database application."

Users also have access to the Clarity Actions Library, which serves as a starting point of pre-built scripts customers can utilize to build or customize content. Among the pre-built actions are upgrades from Oracle 9i and 10g databases to 11g, and upgrades from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005. Database vendors have increasingly been automating such moves, said Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna. Still, there is room here for GridApp to continue to play - especially in large database environments, he said.

"[A database upgrade] still requires doing configuration and resource checking, testing application and data integrity, and performance checks, especially for very large or complex applications," he said. "In addition, if you are upgrading hundreds of enterprise databases, automation becomes critical to minimize errors and improve the quality of upgrade."

Clarity Actions is fully integrated with Clarity's security, logging and job tracking model, allowing database teams to track user and task execution and streamline oversight, according to GridApp. The company has also added support for Sybase, DB2 UDB and MySQL databases in Clarity 4.5, as well as security enhancements to provide greater password protection and more controlled patching privileges.