I spoke with Quest Software during TechEd this month for a briefing on Change Director, Performance Analysis, and the latest release of Toad. I reviewed Change Director as part of the judging for Best of TechEd. Change Director for SQL Server gives DBAs an integrated tool to control and track most changes within the database. Change Director supports real-time or scheduled database changes, and includes change monitoring and reporting capabilities for unscheduled (or unauthorized) changes as well as planned changes. However, if someone initiates a change outside of Change Director and the server is registered with Change Director, the software will also track changes and log who made the change.  Another useful feature allows the DBA to perform an impact analysis on a target database before actually deploying the changes to the target database. This analysis provides a report listing all the SQL calls in the script and flags ones that may potentially fail on the target database. From this point, you can actually drill down into the code to see what’s going with this change. Change Director also flags transactions in the SQL logs identifying them with a particular transaction, allowing for recovery at the transaction level regardless of what order the transactions were written to the log.

The product we discussed in depth is Performance Analysis for SQL Server. This deep-dive analysis tool sports a new advisory engine offering both real-time and historical monitoring and problem resolution features. The IntelliProfile™ software included with the package learns the database’s signature behavior for the hour of the day, day of the week, etc. to determine acceptable/normal ranges of activity so you can compare current to normal behavior in your particular environment. A dashboard interface highlights deviations from the baseline and then allows you to drill down into the problem and view suggested advice for improving the problem. Since your organization is unique to any other, being able to define normal for your organization is a distinguishing feature of this software. This software has a very broad feature set that allows the DBA to really monitor across the database and application environment.

The final product we covered is the Quest Management Suite for SQLServer. This is actually a bundle of four products in the Quest productline, Capacity Manager, SQL Watch,LiteSpeedandSpotlight on SQL Server. Capacity Manager solves the problemsassociated with managing disk space and server resources. SQL Watchidentifies, tracks and notifies SQL Server administrators of databasechanges that occur at any given time. The features of SQL Watch seemvery similar to the Change Director product. Quest confirmed this andsaid that new releases of Change Director will include all the currentfunctionality of SQL Watch.  The otherproduct in the suite is the familiar LiteSpeed for high performancecompression software. The final product in the suite is Spotlight thatmonitors performance from the disk to the end user and supports problemresolution by providing an interface to identify the problem and thenenables a drill-down feature for viewing the low lever processes causingthe performance issue.  The Spotlight software is designed to feed a database repository of all the alerts issued out of this suite of products.

I also learned LiteSpeed is being used for recovery in SharePoint and aLiteSpeedbeta is actually running in production area of Microsoft that have gone live with Longhorn.

Quest has a very diverse set of products with all the development andacquisitions they’ve done in the last few years. So asked about plans tostart integrating these different tool sets to provide more holisticmanagement tools. They said they’re actually working on providing acommon protocols that can be imbedded to share data between applicationsand having a shared data repository.