Q 2.0 Diagnoses Oracle Environments

Diagnostic and performance monitoring tools can often take a great deal of the guesswork out of diagnosing database problems, as well as aid in the process of tweaking an RDBMS for maximum performance. With the introduction of new "smart alarm" technology in version 2.0 of its Q Diagnostic Center, Savant Corp. (Bethesda, Md., www.savant-corp.com) hopes to further distinguish itself in a relatively tight performance management and diagnostic RDBMS tools market.

Vendors such as Platinum Technology Inc. (Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., www.platinum.com), producer of ProVision; Quest Software (Newport Beach, Calif., www.quests.com), producer of SQLab and Adhawk; Oracle Corp., producer of Oracle Enterprise Manager; and BMC Software (Houston, www.bmc.com), producer of Patrol, all vie for share in this contentious market space.

At present, Savant's Q Diagnostic Center 2.0 is designed for Oracle-only environments.

Alec Glorieux, a spokesperson for Savant, says that Q Diagnostic Center 2.0's new smart alarm technology serves to distinguish Q from many of its competitors. In Glorieux's account, Q's smart alarm technology goes beyond simple event management and threshold-based alarms and operates much in the manner of traditional predictive alarms. "Our alarm facility is based on our diagnostic approach, which is looking at current performance in relation to the trends over time," Glorieux explains. "If current performance deviates from the norm, then an alarm is going to sound."

In addition to its smart alarms functionality and a revamped SQL tuning component, version 2.0 of Q Diagnostic Center leverages Q's traditional support for parallel query monitoring through data visualization. Data visualization -- the ability to render the "noise" of any of a number of multitude of system metrics in an intelligible form -- has always been one of Q's strong suits, Glorieux says, and Q 2.0 brings Savant's data visualization expertise to bear in the service of parallel query monitoring.

According to David Kreines, a database administrator (DBA) with Rhone-Poulenc subsidiary Rhodia Inc. (Cranbury, N.J.) and longtime Q user, Q's support for parallel query monitoring is to the best of his knowledge unique among Oracle database tools. "They've got a whole display now on parallel query, showing me performance on parallel query," he explains. "There's virtually nothing [else] out there right now that gives me any metrics or any ability to monitor parallel queries on the database."

Q's data visualization technology extends to all areas of database management, providing in the account of Savant's Glorieux a holistic view of a database and its environment.

"We put performance in context, and by doing that we look at current performance as it was happening and we compare it to trends over time," Glorieux contends. "We have these different trend modes, so what we're doing is comparing current performance to what is the business norm."

Mike Ault, a senior consultant with DMR Consulting Group (Ottawa), says that Q is a great tool for simply providing DBAs with valuable at-a-glance information about an RDBMS environment. "I use it to check out the state of the database throughout the day. It saves us hours of work," he concludes.