Over the past year, I have received numerous inquiries asking me whether third-party database tools that focus on performance and tuning, backup recovery, replication, upgrade, troubleshooting, and migration capabilities matter anymore now that leading DBMS providers such as Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft are offering improved automation and broader coverage.
I find that third-party tools complement well with native database tools in assisting DBAs, developers and operational staff in their day-to-day activities. Last year, I had the opportunity to speak to dozens of enterprises that support hundreds and thousands of databases across various DBMSes. Most enterprises reported they saw at least a 20 percent IT staff productivity when using a third-party database tool.
Third-party vendor tools remain equally important because they support:
- New and old database releases. Many enterprises support older DBMS releases; some have databases that are two major releases behind. Older DBMS releases can take considerable administration effort, especially when troubleshooting or tuning databases that undergo frequent schema changes, and are expanding on workload and data volume. Many leading third-party tool providers not only support new DBMS releases but also older releases, offering a strong value proposition to improve DBA productivity, lower cost and operational efficiencies.
- Heterogeneous DBMSes across various platforms. Unlike native database tools, third-party tools support many leading DBMSes such as Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, and MySQL. Having the ability to use a common tooling to support heterogeneous DBMS is icing on the cake. DBA’s love it, especially those that are less proficient in some of the DBMSes.
- More than the database layer to include stack components. Most third-party tools support more than the database layer to include Applications, servers, storage, networks, clusters, and middleware. The stack matters! When a critical Application such as an ERP goes down, it can be due to many reasons that often span the stack, which is why an integrated monitoring and troubleshooting becomes critical.
- Development, operational and test environments. Some of the leading third-party database tool providers such as CA, BMC, Quest Software and Embarcadero offer support for more than just monitoring and administration, they offer a complete suite of solutions for development, testing and operations of databases and applications. These include functions such as data modeling, SQL code analysis and troubleshooting, change management, tuning, backups, replication and general administration.
Third-party vendor database administration tools save you money by having DBAs manage more databases, defer costly hardware upgrades, and defer DBMS licenses, besides improve database availability and efficiencies. The leading third-party database tools providers include CA, BMC Software, Quest Software, Embarcadero, Idera, Red Gate, GridApp, and Stratavia.
I would love to hear any feedback on your experiences on using database administration tools, including if you have seen any productivity level changes over the past few years whether using native or third party tools.