SQL Server has a great set of management tools—Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer, and SQL Server Profiler are powerful and easy to use. Although these tools bring valuable benefits, they have some limitations as well. First, the tools manage only SQL Server. Second, the management tools don't work across releases. For example, you can't use SQL Server 2000's Enterprise Manager to manage an existing SQL Server 6.5 installation. Also, organizations with multiple database platforms (e.g., SQL Server, IBM DB2, Oracle) need DBAs who know how to use multiple management tools—one for each database platform. Even if each database platform has a different set of DBAs, DBAs from one platform sometimes help out on another. Fortunately, several vendors provide cross-platform management suites that help bridge the gap in heterogeneous database environments. You can use any of the following three management tools to manage SQL Server, DB2, and Oracle databases. These tools leverage DBAs' skills by making the different database platforms' management tasks similar. The tools also let you manage multiple release levels of each database platform. The capabilities of two of the following tools (Quest Central for Databases and DBArtisan) even exceed the abilities of SQL Server's native management tools.

3. SmartDBA


BMC Software's SmartDBA suite provides a broad range of coverage for the DBA. SmartDBA can monitor and optimize performance, simplify database administration, and manage user permissions. An important feature of the suite is a Web-based SmartDBA Cockpit product that gives you browser-based management of all the supported database platforms. In addition to SQL Server, the SmartDBA suite manages DB2 for OS/390, DB2 Universal Database (UDB), Oracle, and Sybase databases. You can learn more about SmartDBA at http://www.bmc.com/products/products_services_detail/0,,0_0_0_17,00.html.

2. Quest Central for Databases


Quest Software's Quest Central for Databases has a comprehensive feature set that includes the ability to perform database analysis, database administration, SQL tuning, and load testing. Quest Central features Spotlight, a graphical database-diagnostics tool for troubleshooting and performance tuning. Quest Central manages SQL Server, DB2 for OS/390, DB2 UDB, and Oracle databases. For more information about Quest Central, see http://www.quest.com/quest_central/.

1. DBArtisan


Perhaps better known for the database-modeling product ER/Studio, Embarcadero also produces DBArtisan, a Windows-based database-management tool. DBArtisan provides schema, security, and space management. The product also features the ability to view the procedure cache, the buffer cache, and active database locks. You can use DBArtisan to manage SQL Server, DB2 for OS/390, DB2 UDB, Oracle, and Sybase databases. More information about Embarcadero's DBArtisan is available at http://www.embarcadero.com/products/dbartisan/index.html.