Cross-Platform Database Development
Both DBAs and database developers alike face serious challenges as companies strive to store and manage more and more data. A lack of the appropriate skill sets can slow the process of deploying a new database platform, costing companies time and money.
For example, acquisitions often introduce new platforms to existing IT infrastructures, and DBAs may be tasked with getting up to speed quickly even though they have limited knowledge about the new platform. Between multiple DBAs and developers, there is often a lack of consistent administration procedures, which can also impact productivity. These issues lead to longer resolution times, and ultimately, a negative impact on service-level agreements. For example, if an administrator finds an application issue, it may need to be handed over to a developer for resolution. As developers struggle to become familiar with a new platform, it may take additional time to identify and fix the problem.
The challenges of cross-platform database development and management can lead to significantly increased costs, as IT departments hire new database professionals to support unfamiliar platforms.
The Need for Integrated Development Environments
Unfortunately, the days of working within a single platform are over; DBAs and developers must adapt. They need to arm themselves with the right tools and procedures to be able to support multiple platforms and work efficiently despite the big challenges they face. They need to find and implement tools that can take on some of the heavy lifting and make working in and between multiple database platforms easy and seamless. Specifically, DBAs and developers must have tools that provide integrated SQL development, comprehensive change management, and the ability to optimize code for production.
Integrated SQL Development
Database developers spend most of their time writing SQL queries, modifying procedures, and writing code. Database administrators monitor and manage a wide range of platforms in different locations. Both DBAs and developers need tools that provide strong heterogeneous support for SQL development, so that even if they’re unfamiliar with the platform they’re using, they can work productively within a familiar user interface. A unified solution that automates the application of configuration standards and templates in the various platforms and can perform compliance checks will boost productivity.
When SQL code updates are implemented, changes are often made to the database environment. These changes can introduce performance problems or more serious issues, such as application failures, and being able to compare condition states can help identify what changes caused which problems. A quick glance at structure changes to objects like tables, indexes, or procedures can reveal where things went wrong, and help the developer pinpoint what needs to be modified to restore the environment to its optimal state. Schema and server script compare functionality are a necessity for any database administrator. A solution that provides this type of comparison visibility can save the DBAs and developers hours of tedious work and speed time to resolution.
The credibility of a DBA or developer is on the line. Although they may be meeting requirements with application code, they must ensure the database is also performing well. When developers are familiar with the platform they’re using, they know the tips and tricks to optimize code for the best possible performance. But on an unfamiliar platform, they need tools to identify and address performance concerns, such as locking and blocking or ine cient SQL queries and indexes.
A Single UI
Database development and management tools must fit how the user works or have the capability to be configured as such. Users don’t want to familiarize themselves with a new UI for each platform, so they can start being productive immediately. This is particularly important when bringing on new talent to take over projects. A single UI can cut down on ramp-up times as well as training costs.
Many database professionals work with outdated or inflexible tools that don’t support the functionality they need, and they hope for the best. Often, they spend considerable time poring over online documentation, trying to determine how to perform common tasks, such as creating a table, in a new environment. This has a tremendous impact on productivity and allows for human error.
An effective development tool literally walks users through the steps and information they need, enabling them to select the appropriate options based on the rules of the target platform. For example, users can easily create tables, even if they don’t know the right data fields and types.
Integrated SQL Development
CREATING SQL CODE
With a new platform, it’s challenging enough to learn the database architecture and technology stack. Being able to quickly understand the relationships between data structures and how to form a query enables immediate productivity. A graphical query builder helps the user understand relationships between foreign and primary keys and enables drag and drop of those tables and relationships, helping to build SQL code easily and quickly construct an effective query. Once constructed, the query can then be tested, copied, or saved. This level of automation allows the user to focus on the procedural portion of writing code instead of worrying about constructing the query properly. The tool also provides data validation and compares results, saving even more time.
CODE ORGANIZATION AND DEBUGGING
Database professionals need the ability to organize data sources by platform and categorize them for easy retrieval. Users of a database tool want to create projects, extract object scripts, develop database structures, and easily reverse engineer the code. For example, a user could connect to an Oracle database and simply select the procedures he wants to execute. An effective tool extracts those procedures and allows check-in/-out integration with common version control systems.
Another important feature is the ability to debug code prior to production. This saves considerable time, as bad code never makes it past the tuning stage, and developers don’t need to spend time fixing it. An integrated debugger can improve code quality and user productivity.
CODE REUSE AND APPLICATION OF STANDARDS
A good database development tool enables users to reuse code and avoid reinventing code. Users can define abbreviations for pieces of code and procedures that they often use. They simply click a hot-key, e.g. CTRL+Spacebar, to display SQL or code templates in the query analyzer or SQL editor. This feature enables easy retrieval of code that is frequently used. Users can also set up shared directories and import and export settings, helping new users to get up to speed rapidly.
An effective change management strategy can also have a significant impact on a DBA’s ability to actively manage and optimize the database environment. Given the cross-platform nature of the development environment in today’s data centers, change management tools, like SQL development tools, must be heterogeneous and be able to seamlessly integrate with numerous database environments, while providing simplicity of use through a single user interface. Users need to pinpoint performance problems that result from checked-in changes to data, configuration, or other elements of the environment.
This need for viewing comparisons between two versions applies not only to schema changes, but also to query results, files, and directories. Having an easy-to-read layout that clearly shows differences can make a big difference in a database professional’s ability to identify and resolve any issues.
The need for change management also extends to version control. A seamless interface to common version control systems from within the database tool simplifies version tracking for SQL scripts and other files.
Often developers and DBAs need access to other tools while writing code. They require an object search, import and export data from external files, and easy navigation between and within databases on multiple platforms. The ability to perform core administration requirements, such as monitoring sessions and locks, database storage, security controls, and server parameters, should be available in a tool’s main menu or through a right-click drill-down option. Database administration often involves routine tasks that can be simplified and accelerated with a good database tool. Whether managing instances, reviewing session statistics, checking security access, creating and viewing entity relationship diagrams, or monitoring storage use, DBAs can work more efficiently if they don’t have to perform these tasks manually, especially across diverse platforms.
In the cross-platform database development environments of today’s overtaxed IT departments, the heat is on developers and DBAs to find ways to be productive and efficient. This scenario is likely to become even more intense in the coming years. Tools that simplify and automate once-manual, laborious tasks can have a profound impact on database professionals’ effectiveness, helping to mitigate rising costs while improving and optimizing the performance of an organization’s databases. From within a single user interface, DBAs and developers have complete access to the tools they need to work with multiple database management systems (DBMSs), regardless of their background or expertise.
Aquafold Aqua Data Studio
IDERA offers Aqua Data Studio to address these database development and management needs. Aqua Data Studio enables database developers and DBAs to develop, access, manage, and visually analyze data for relational, NoSQL, and cloud DBMS platforms from a single interface.
Aqua Data Studio’s DBA Tools menu provides core administration for monitoring sessions and locks, managing database storage, and altering or configuring server parameters across a variety of database platforms. For example, a DBA can easily isolate a database lock or bottleneck, view the current session SQL or details, and terminate a session or SQL query. Additionally, DBAs can gain insight into the database structures with the entity relationship diagramming tool.
The integrated Visual Query Builder and Query Analyzer features accelerate database development for both novice and experienced users. The modern IDE has a workspace environment geared to the needs of database developers. The Visual Query Builder generates a complete SQL statement, and the advanced Query Analyzer makes it possible to quickly format and execute SQL statements then view and filter query results. The SQL debugger enables tracing and debugging for stored procedures to identify any development or production issues.
Aqua Data Studio provides change management and compare features throughout the product, for schema, files, and query results. With a rich set of options and flexible features to perform these various compare functions, DBAs and developers can run reports on production and development environments to analyze differences effectively. Additionally, a full and integrated version control client for Subversion, CVS, Git and Perforce allows you to manage your SQL scripts and other database files from within the tool for a much smoother working environment.
Aqua Data Studio provides an extensive toolset that combines database object navigation, SQL scripting, query building, entity relationship diagramming, code debugging, table data editing, visual data analytics, and more. Improve your productivity with Aqua Data Studio.
Aqua Data Studio
Aqua Data Studio is productivity software for database developers, DBAs, and analysts. It allows users to develop, access, manage, and visually analyze data. Whether in relational, NoSQL, or cloud databases, data is easily and quickly accessible. Aqua Data Studio supports all major database vendors, works on all major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux), and is localized to nine languages. With easy connectivity, simple query execution, table relationship diagramming, data visual analytics, and core database administration, Aqua Data Studio incorporates the key capabilities needed database development. While continually improving user productivity in basic tasks — navigating databases, creating SQL statements, generating object scripts, manipulating data — Aqua Data Studio has grown to support emerging technologies, making it the ideal tool in the era of multiplatform database development.