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Industry Briefings - 24 Jan 2007

Patch, Provision, Replicate, Repeat . . . Don't You Have Better Things to Do?

If you're the type of database administrator who yearns to manually patch many heterogeneous databases and genuinely takes pleasure in performing routine tasks that you know ought to be standardized and automated, then GridApp Systems' ( Clarity 3.2 product line is probably not a fit for you. If, however, you're among the growing number of DBAs who, as Matthew Zito, Chief Scientist for GridApp Systems, cites, spends "85 percent of the workday on routine administrative tasks like patching, replication, and provisioning," then you might just find Clarity products of interest.

In an industry where solutions to manage high-value tasks such as performance tuning and database design are the norm, the Clarity product line seeks to reduce the time DBAs spend on lower-level manual tasks by providing automated provisioning, patching, cluster management, and validation, thus freeing up time and increasing productivity. The Clarity product line can automate and standardize database policy and function from one pane, whether the database is SQL Server, Oracle, IBM, or another platform.

Clarity also makes compliance regulations easier to follow. "When we talk to clients, they say their DBAs are terrified by Microsoft or Oracle database audits," said Zito. He went on to explain that most DBAs have only a vague idea which databases need patches at a given time. "Before Clarity, the standard in compliance was an eighty-page Word document released by the auditors that the DBAs cut up and handed out to different departments." With Clarity, default standards are created by the administrator and then automatically applied to every database in the organization. A reporting trail is created so that a DBA can see what's missing and what needs immediate attention.
—Sam Davenport

Caché's Jalepeño Technology Eliminates Object-Relational Mapping: Es Muy Caliente

InterSystems Corporation ( recently announced a major upgrade to its flagship database product: Caché, a multidimensional database that uniquely combines robust objects and robust SQL. The upgrade includes innovative technologies for rapid Web application development that can enhance productivity in shops that rely on Web-application business. According to Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems vice president of strategic planning, the new release includes an extensible, high-level development framework called Zen, which is "our implementation of the Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) concept for building rich, dynamic applications that run in browsers." Based on XML, Zen uses the language to define pages but eliminates runtime parsing and compilation. Because the XML is precompiled, developers can deliver pages faster.

The new release of Caché also includes a new software component, Jalepeño (JAva LAnguage PErsistence with NO mapping), which gives developers a way to persist Java objects while eliminating the need for relational mapping. According to Grabscheid, two things motivate customers to move to Caché: "One, they're developing something new and they like the object capabilities we provide, and two, they're facing a serious scalability problem and they see that our solution gives them much better performance." Applications created with the InterSystems framework can access the Caché database platform or major relational database platforms including SQL Server, Oracle, and Sybase, or multiple platforms in a heterogeneous environment.
—Dawn Cyr

Offering Greater Value for the Data Center

According to Patrick Rogers, vice president of Products and Partners at Network Appliance (, the core requirements of the company's SQL Server–based customers revolve around enhancing the value of the data center. Customers want to cut storage costs and increase utilization, limit the time required for storage administration, and enhance data-center performance. To help address these core needs, NetApp offers professional services and software products designed to make a SQL Server database professional's job easier.

For example, companies that are growing rapidly or that have a business need to make better use of existing data might want to take advantage of snapshot technology in their development and test environments, or on the back end of decision-support applications. But quickly deploying multiple snapshots of a database is complex—the deployment can take hours or days, and the storage requirements for such deployments can be high. NetApp's FlexClone product lets you instantly replicate data volumes and data sets without requiring extra storage. And the company's SnapManager for SQL Server lets you keep a close eye on all those new instances. Even if you might not have a lot of money to throw at extra storage, you can still make the most of the storage you have.
—Dawn Cyr

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