Data Management

Innovative database technologies improve the DBA experience

Changes and innovations in database technology and tools are making the DBA's life better.

As the year draws to a close, I want to take a moment to point out some database management-related products that have had noteworthy changes this year or continue to be leaders in their category. This list is in no way all inclusive, but contains products that you should investigate further should you have overlooked them.

Oracle

With all the talk regarding the Oracle/Peoplesoft take over, it was easy to forget that Oracle released a significant upgrade to its enterprise DBMS. Not just another plain vanilla maintenance release, Oracle focused on reliability, scalability, usability and reduction in complexity in its 10g product. While upgrading to a new version is never "simple," existing users should work an upgrade into their plans as soon as possible. Meanwhile, potential users who found Oracle too complex and daunting might be pleasantly surprised on how much easier the DBMS package has become to use. Read the following articles for further information:

IBM

Not to be outdone by Oracle, IBM introduced version 8.2 of its Universal Database. Along the same lines as Oracle, IBM introduced features to make its database more robust, requiring less effort from DBAs to keep it running. Self-tuning and self-healing are two buzzwords that surround this release and based on the reviews and comments, they may have achieved them: IBM DB2 Universal Database 8.2.

MySQL

MySQL, the open source database that could, had a major release on Oct. 2004 with version 4.1 of its product. Introducing long-awaited features such as subqueries and derived tables, as well as a GUI installer, this version adds more versatility to the product and whets the appetite for version 5.0. While not ready yet to run your organizations ERP system, MySQL is certainly capable of taking over much of the routine database work in many organizations.

Microsoft

While a relatively quiet year, as everyone awaits SQL Server 2005, Microsoft made available for free to new or existing SQL 2000 customers its SQL Reporting Services. By giving away a product that users previously had to pay a third party vendor for (such as Crystal Reports), Microsoft did put a smile on the face of many DBAs. Depending on who you talked to, this product was an extremely significant release or just a nice welcome add-on. Read more:

Linux

You can't talk about database products in 2004 without mentioning the new, in-vogue platform for them to run on. As the article below mentions, database vendors are working themselves into a lather trying to make sure that their product is Linux-ready.

Almost all the major Linux providers had a significant release of their software this year—many of them tuned specifically for a particular database. If you haven't looked into Linux for your database platform, check out the links below for some of the buzz:

Tools

One company who seems to be on the top ten list of any DBA, when asked about third-party tool providers, is Quest Software. With award winning products such as TOAD and Quest Central, Quest has a variety of tools that work across a large gamut of database packages, from Oracle to DB2 to MySQL. If you do not know about Quest Software, it is worth taking a look:

Another tool vendor often mentioned in a DBA's top 10 list would be SQL Power. With a line up of SQL monitors and analyzers for all the major databases, they are focused on SQL performance. If you need a tool to help jump start your database performance or help to keep things humming along, these products are worth looking at:

Lastly, located somewhere on that top 10 list would be BMC's SQL Programmer. A robust development environment for writing and maintaining stored procedures in various multiuser database platforms including: Oracle, Sybase, and Microsoft's SQL Server. There are many stored procedure writers out there who would feel like they were missing an appendage should you take this tool away from them.

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