Keeping an Eye on Database Performance

Database-Brothers offers a new tool for IT to identify the source of performance problems and ways to resolve them.

Measure and manage are the two words database administrators and their teams key in on when it comes to performance. Those words also are the focus of Database-Brothers, a 2-year-old company trying to make headway in the database performance tool market by helping DBAs understand—and get value from—performance metrics.

"The database performance market is crowded," said CEO Scott Hayes "DBI [Database-Brothers Inc.] recognizes this and goes the extra mile to provide valuable features and functionality not offered by other products—deep performance and configuration history, performance trend charts with correlated change events so that DBA teams can see the performance impacts of database changes, and the deep transaction time analysis provided by Brother-Thoroughbred."

Brother-Thoroughbred is the company's latest product. Released Dec. 4, it supports IBM's DB2 LUW V8.2+ and DB2 9 databases and is designed to identify the source of performance problems and understand any impact performance resolution may have on SLAs (service-level agreements).

"First, Brother-Thoroughbred determines the average transaction response time for any given time period, say 2 seconds," Hayes said. "Next, many disconnected pieces of performance data are collected from the database to compute how much time, of the average elapsed time, the database actually owns. CPU time, I/O time, Lock time, Sort time and other database times together comprise how much time the database—and therefore the DBA team—owns … of the inside database time, a pie chart is shown that shows resource bottlenecks inside the database."

If CPU is the bottleneck, users can use the integrated interfaces with Brother-Panther to click on the CPU pie slice and see the most expensive SQL in terms of CPU cost, he said. The software also tracks SLAs "so the DBA team can know how many and what percent of transactions [are] completed in less than one second, three seconds, five seconds, and so on," Hayes said.

Though the tool supports only DB2 for the moment, DBI is studying the feasibility of providing functionality for Oracle in mid-2008, he said. Looking ahead, he said the company wants to help DBA teams measure and manage the performance of RAID storage systems and improve integration of database monitoring and security tools to prevent insider threats.

"There is an enormous gap that needs to be closed between the performance attributes of RAID disks, the LUNs [logical unit numbers] and file systems they support, and tablespace performance information provided by the major databases," he said.

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