New DBMS Tools Reduce Complexities

Database administrators will have a host of new tools to choose from this summer that will help them save time and reduce complexity.

Database administrators will have a host of new tools to choose from this summer that will help them save time and reduce complexity.

BMC Software Inc., Computer Associates International Inc. and Quest Software Inc. are all planning to add new tools for use with IBMs DB2, Microsoft Corp.s SQL Server, and Oracle Corp.s 8i and 9i databases.

The most significant technologies are application awareness, consoles that can control multiple databases, and intelligent trouble-shooting features that can solve problems rather than merely find them.

"Those types of features fall in line with what were trying to achieve," said Dave Richards, vice president and CIO of audio technology company Rockford Corp., in Tempe, Ariz. Rockford uses CAs database tools to manage Oracle11i E-Business Suite applications and an 8i database.

"One of the things the tool has offered us is the ability to [improve] maintenance of our database without necessarily putting a burden on human resources," Richards said.

Leading the rollouts is BMC, which is set to port its SmartDBA product to IBMs DB2 UDB platform. The new version will ship later this week with the DBXray performance module, said Gene Austin, vice president and general manager for distributed database management for the Houston company. The SpaceExpert disk administration module is due early next month, while the SQL Explorer development module is due in June.

Database migration tools may also come this summer for SmartDBA, which can be used as a stand-alone product or linked to BMCs Patrol suite, as well as rival suites from IBMs Tivoli division and CA.

BMC already sells SmartDBA for Oracle, so when the IBM rollout is complete this spring, "youll see some of these tools show up in the SQL Server arena," Austin said. "Were definitely seeing SQL Server going into the high end, but Microsoft still has some things to address in clustering and high availability."

Later, tools such as SmartDBA will likely get infusions of application awareness, which could dramatically affect database performance but isnt practical with todays tools, Austin said.

CA will expand its own database management to IBMs mainframe version of DB2, said Rick Bolesta, brand manager of database management solutions, in Islandia, N.Y.

"We have some customers that have 32 billion rows in their database. If they want to add a column, its a huge, huge effort," Bolesta said.

The expanded version of CAs Unicenter database products will be demonstrated at CA World next month, with release set for summer. New recovery tools and smarter trouble-shooting tools will also come this summer, with more IBM versions in June, Bolesta said.

CA is also considering whether a fully automated DBA is feasible.

"Weve been looking at different ways to pull that type of technology together today" with CAs neural networking research, Bolesta said.

Similar plans are in the works at Quest, with a Microsoft version of its existing Oracle and IBM suites planned for later this year.

Quest, of Irvine, Calif., will debut its single-console interface for managing different databases from different vendors, while 2.0 versions of Quests Oracle- and IBM-specific products are also in development, said Chief Technology Officer Eyal Aronoff.

Nevertheless, because the various vendors offerings have similar core technology, theyll end up competing largely on price and usability, said analyst Teri Palanca, of Giga Information Group Inc., in Savannah, Ga.