GridApps Clarity Gives Birds-Eye View of Databases

GridApp releases new software, called Clarity, that automates time-consuming chores for DBAs.

GridApp is looking to lift the firefighting chores off of DBAs backs, rolling out software on Monday at Gartner IT Expo in Orlando that gives a consolidated view of a mix of databases.

The software, called Clarity, is designed to simplify and automate time-consuming database administrator chores such as configuration management, patch management, auditing/compliance, replication and encryption.

"Clarity shifts control of data from an operational DBA, whos like a god-like super-user, from the individual to the organization itself," said GridApp CEO Rob Gardos.

GridApp is going after the simplification and streamlining of increasingly complex database infrastructures with what can be thousands of databases.

"The complexity of database infrastructure is increasing dramatically," Gardos said.

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"Theres more data; theres more data stored in relational databases and more database types—whether standalone or distributed or running on [Oracle Corp.s Real Application Clusters] or data marts or OLAP or whatever."

He cited one customer, a large financial institution he declined to name, that cited 80 percent of DBAs time being spent fighting fires: figuring out that the database has gone down, trying to analyze what caused it and trying to get it back up.

That typically requires DBAs to look back to see which users have touched the database over the time leading up to the crash. A DBA will then have to figure out what the user(s) did. For example, changing a constraint.

In contrast, with Clarity, database access and other relevant activity is logged automatically in a secure, write-once format.

Clarity also enables organizations to automatically get a unified view of multiplatform database deployments, discover and inventory versions and patch levels across the database mix.

It also tracks database configuration and design in one central location, and dynamically provisions database resources to meet service level agreements.

DBAs can also automatically clone databases for testing purposes, deploy patches, repair faults in database operation, and scale database capacity on demand and online.

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Clarity covers Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase or a combination of those databases.

There are plenty of automatic database monitoring tools on the market, from players including Quest Software Inc., Embarcadero Technologies Inc. and BMC Software Inc.

What distinguishes Clarity from the pack is its universal embrace of disparate databases, Gardos said. "Most have a suite of activities for certain databases," he said. "Like, How do I tune MySQL?"

On the other hand, Quests core product, Toad, "attacks the space from the angle of, How do I empower my DBA to get a better understanding of whats going on in the realm of the individual database?" he said, as opposed to Claritys notion of handling whole systems.

"[We take] the bare metal box, make sure storage and network are taken care of and set up the database based on [whatever] standard operating procedure the customer has," Gardos said.

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