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Posted May 8, 2003

IBM Utilities vs. Third Party Tools for DB2 - Page 3

By Marin Komadina

DBArtisan - Tool for Production DBA

DBArtisan is an often-used tool for regular a DBA job, where a novice or junior DBA can act as a master on a production system. He can even be faster than the master DBA, who is used to working on a terminal
window controlling the DB2 database with the CLP command window. However, this doesn't mean that we do not need a master.

Daily operations, like the create, drop or alter tables, constraints, indexes, views, users, procedures, functions, triggers, groups, roles, profiles, and packages are all there, just one mouse click away. You will love DBArtisan because it can help in extracting a database object definition, migration, and all of the other boring and constant, tedious work.

One DBArtisan feature, which is on the top of my list, is the ability to manage multiple databases from the single graphical console.

In this example, we have DB2, Oracle and MS SQL databases just one mouse click away. There is a single interface for all database types. Therefore, when you are familiar with one, adding a new database type is just a connectivity problem; the internal structure is already on your familiar screen.

DBArtisan provides support for following databases:

  • IBM DB2 UDB 6.x & 7.x
  • IBM DB2 for OS/390 6 & 7
  • Oracle 7.3, 8.x & 9i
  • Microsoft SQL Server 6.5, 7.0 and 2000
  • Sybase System 11.9.2 & 12.x

The DBA that has to move from project to project, working on the customer's laptop or PC will need to make only one software installation to be ready to start working in a multidatabase environment. Without DBArtisan, he would spend the first few days just installing the necessary database tools for all of the database types before he could start work.

Another good DBArtisan feature is the integrated internal scheduler. Some will say, "But we have already one. On Unix systems we can use cron and on Windows, daemon." The internal DBArtisan scheduler brings a separate scheduler, dedicated only to database administration tasks, to the DBA. With it, the DBA can run a script when he needs without the need to consult Unix administrators, check timing with others, or remind himself to delete the entry after testing or finishing a one time procedure. With DBArtisan, just set the job and it will act as a normal timed client connection coming from your desktop.

Even if you close DBArtisan, your job will start and complete regularly.

Did you hear that DBAs are very, very curious?

A DBA likes to dig in the database and explore the data. A Data Editing component, called DataGrid, fills that purpose. Using DataGrid, a DBA can look at the content of the HR application "SALARY" table and sort table data by the name.

Imagine that you have some logical corruption and you need to make fast check for all of the 3000 values in a table with more than 40 columns. You can use SQL and play for several hours to get the result, or you can use DataGrid and browse around the table.

The Schema Publication option creates HTML_based schema referenced WEB sites and many HTML Web reports about the database. You can generate completely database documentation in HTML format, and later publish it on the Web, as a good example of how to make detailed database documentation. With DBArtisan, the database documentation is ready in a few minutes allowing the DBA time to spend on IBM educational programs.

Reports are just beautiful.

Part of generated HTML report

The last interesting DBArtisan feature is "No database touch on installation." Most of the tools that exist on the market today need some agents, or helper objects (so-called repositories) inside the database. Usually we need to set up a new user to install the objects inside of the database. However, the customer doesn't always want that the DBA to install anything in the database. For example, if the database has a warranty, or is shared among several projects, the customer might be reluctant to allow the DBA to install objects in the database. DBArtisan can be installed without touching the database.

Included are some other features for the hybrid and development DBA such as Visual SQL Statement Creation, graphical supported data exchange between databases via Schema Migration, Performance Center for graphical expedition inside the database and SQL Tuner to teach developers how to write application code.

Cons: The only bad word I have to say about DBArtisan is the lack of support. Based on the quality of the product, you would expect better support. However, while support is rarely necessary, when you do need it, they are very slow and removed from reality.

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