EZ Manage SQL review
Microsoft’s SQL Server software can be found in many companies. The Desktop Engine version (MSDE) is often used as an embedded database management system in another application, and the firm may not even be aware it has a relational database on the premises.
However, the care and maintenance of relational databases can be a complex business and, while larger organisations can afford the services of trained database administrators, the smaller enterprise must either rely on outside support or hope the routine site backup will take care of the database as well. Common performance-tuning tasks such as database compression are never carried out. Users want to concentrate on their business activities, and anything that takes time away from them is an unwanted distraction and cost, but the data in the database can be vital to the company, and being unable to recover it after a serious failure can be a disaster.
EZ Manage SQL, formerly known as SQL Manage, sets out to provide a way for the smaller organisation to manage and maintain its Microsoft SQL databases without needing the services of a database administrator.
Apart from allowing the user to create and automate common maintenance tasks such as backups, the software also provides access to useful functions such as re-indexing. All maintenance functions are controlled by rules. Database properties, database backup, transaction log backup, index optimisation, shrinking a database and updating statistics activities are all driven by specific rule sets. The default rules are adequate for most cases, but the system allows you to create your own rules to suit any special requirements.
Backups can be copied automatically to remote installations using the FTP facility. Alerts and notifications can be sent via email to a designated user. The software can also pop up notices at the management system if needed.
Installing the software is straightforward. Server agents are installed on each server, and management agents installed on one or more management PCs. The management interface is simple to use, and most activities can be carried out by clicking on tickboxes or drop-down lists.
MSDE has no obvious maintenance interface. As an embedded system, it relies on the application using it to provide facilities to back up, restore and maintain the database, and without them the user is left hoping nothing goes wrong. The command-line OSQL utility is available, but is of little use to most non-technical users. EZ Manage SQL can fill this gap, not only providing all the tools needed to carry out routine maintenance on the database, but also by offering a facility to create and run SQL scripts on databases. Although we don’t anticipate users will be writing their own SQL and creating databases, the interface is effective, and we used it to create a simple MSDE database with ten tables in a few minutes.
Although aimed at companies that need to maintain their databases without the services of a database administrator, its ability to automate routine admin tasks and interface with both full-blown SQL Server and MSDE systems make it of interest to DBAs in larger organisations as well, especially where they’re responsible for large numbers of server installations.