Industry Briefings - 18 Dec 2006

Insights from the SQL Server industry

IT Staff Derailed by Application Delays; Symantec Offers Monitoring Solution

This past summer, Symantec ( noticed that its customers and their Web application users were reporting a common pain point: Application slowdowns were affecting productivity. The company needed a way to verify what it thought it was hearing from its customers, so it commissioned Applied Research to conduct a survey on the topic. The results confirmed Symantec’s suspicions, revealing that as much as 24 percent of IT staff time is devoted to addressing business application performance delays. That’s a heavy drag on resources that, over time, can result in dramatically reduced productivity and morale. Additionally, for users of Web applications, who have high expectations of application availability, slow performance can cause them to take their business to another company. For organizations that depend on their Web business, solving performance problems is crucial.

Symantec Server Foundation and APM Product Group Vice President Henri Isenberg told our editors that Symantec’s i3 application performance monitoring software addresses this common problem by taking a proactive approach. The software lets you monitor data at all tiers and put the results into a central repository so that you can see application performance across tiers. The agent-based software lets a CIO pinpoint the place where slowdowns start so that a specialist for that tier can address the problem quickly—before the company loses business.
—Dawn Cyr

DataDirect’s XQuery Provides XML Collaboration

In some organizations, as much as 80 percent of code that DBAs write is to enable different types of data access. Jonathan Robie, a technology leader at DataDirect Technologies (, shared this statistic with our editors. Robie explained that today’s Web services must handle a diverse workload. From the relational database engine to XML documents, EDI messages, Web services, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), and dynamic HTML, multiple clients need to access data from multiple sources in an ever-expanding array of formats. The complexity of data access increases when different developers write different data-access solutions. How do you get all the pieces to work together? XQuery 1.0 language is the common denominator. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) derived XQuery 1.0 from the XPath expression language. Both languages use the same syntax for path expressions. XQuery queries XML documents, much like SQL queries relational data. The DataDirect team saw that what DBAs needed to make their Web services more efficient was a way to make every language talk to XQuery—so they created a conversion product that did just that.

DataDirect XQuery is an implementation of XQuery that can query XML, relational data, SOAP messages, EDI, or a combination of data sources while supporting the XQuery for Java API (XQJ) and all major relational databases. According to Robie, what makes DataDirect XQuery unique is that DataDirect XQuery is platform-agnostic; it runs on any Java-based platform. DataDirect’s newest version of the product, XQuery 2.0, includes a streaming XML adapter for reducing the amount of memory needed to process large XML documents, performance enhancements, and configurable scalability options.
—Dawn Cyr

Unicenter Brings “SPG” back to Network Management

In the past, “single pane of glass”—where network alerts, reports, and monitoring data all come to a centralized console—was the ideal configuration for network management. More recently, the accepted wisdom may be that network systems are too complex to be reduced to just one management endpoint. However, IT pros in both the security information and storage management fields still consider single-pane-of-glass management functionality highly advantageous, and it appears as if that trend in desirability is returning to network management as well. Witness the addition of a single, unified UI console to CA’s ( service and systems management solution: Unicenter Network and Systems Management (NSM) r11.1.

According to Dayton Semerjian, senior vice president of operations at CA, Uni-center NSM r11.1 “ties everything together” with one screen that shows alerts, network functionality, and relationships between different systems. It gives administrators a holistic view of the enterprise that helps them simplify the complexity of large systems. The benefits of this unified view are improved service, increased productivity, and the ability to more quickly find the cause of root problems.

In CA’s latest release of Unicenter NSM, troubleshooting root problems is enhanced by r11.1’s leverage of SQL Server as a platform for the management database. Because r11.1 sits on SQL Server, it can integrate with other SQL Server–based, CA, and third-party management solutions. With management data stored in a common management database, administrators can troubleshoot and resolve problems faster and more efficiently.
—Caroline Marwitz

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