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Posted Mar 31, 2004

Web Data Administration Tool from Microsoft

By Gregory A. Larsen

Are you a Database Administrator that has a desire to work remotely but don't have access to your databases while you are out of your office? Would you consider using a web interface to manage your SQL Server databases and Logins? If so, then you might want to consider checking out Microsoft's tool that will allow you to perform some SQL Server administration functions via the web. The tool is called WEB Data Administrator and can be downloaded from Microsoft. The WEB Data Administrator tool is written in ASP.NET. In this article, I will give you a quick introduction of the capabilities of this tool, as well as let you know some of the key functionality that is missing from the tool.

How to Obtain the Web Data Administrator Tool

You can download the Web Data Administrator Tool from Microsoft. The download is 2292 KB is size. The Web Data Administrator Tool needs to be installed on a machine running Windows 2000 and IIS, plus the machine needs to have the .NET Framework SDK installed. To download the file and obtain additional information about this tool go to the following web site: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=c039a798-c57a-419e-acbc-2a332cb7f959&DisplayLang=en

Quick Tour of the Web Data Administrator Tool

Once you have downloaded and installed the Web Data Administration tool it will be all set up and ready, for you to use, to perform your remote administration tasks. The default home page for the tool can be found at http://<webserver>/webadmin/default.aspx, where <webserver> is the name of the webserver where you installed the tool. When logged directly onto my IIS machine the home page for the Web Data Administrator tool looks like below.

 Click for larger image
As you can see this tool allows you to enter a Username, Password, and a Server name, plus it allows you determine whether you want to connect via a Windows or SQL Sever authenticated login. This interface allows you to connect to any SQL Server machine that can be reached from your IIS machine.

Once you login to a server, the tool provides you a number of "SERVER TOOLS" for managing your environment. Below is a screen shot that was displayed when I connect to the local SQL Server that resides on my IIS machine.

 Click for larger image

As you can see, there are 4 different SERVER TOOLS, "Databases", "Import", "Export" and "Security". Note that on the above screen shot the "Databases" server tool is highlighted, so the right pane displays all the databases on my local SQL Server. Let's review how each of these SERVER TOOLS can help you manage your SQL Server environment remotely.

Using Web Data Administrator to Manage Databases

From reviewing the prior screen shot, you can see that this tool allows you to create a new database, plus edit, query or delete an existing database. If you want to create a new database just click on the link named "Create new database" in the upper right hand corner of the page. After clicking on this link, the following page is displayed.

 Click for larger image
Basically you are given just a simple prompt that allows you just to enter the name of the database you wish to create. You are not given all the extra options that are normally available when creating a database via Enterprise manager or T-SQL. After you have entered the database name, all you need to do is click on the "Create" button and the database will be created.

If you want to manage objects within a database, first you need to click on the "Databases" SERVER TOOL item, and then click on the database for which you want to manage objects. When I do this for the Northwind database, the following screen is displayed.

 Click for larger image
Here you can see that when you are managing a particular database you are allowed to manage Tables, Stored Procedures, Properties, Users, and Roles, as well as you are allowed to write queries against SQL Server. Also for each table you can edit, rename, or delete, as well as create a new table. This interface allows you to do most of the DBA tasks associated with a database.

I am not going to show you how each of these options work, but I will at least show you how you can use the "Query" tool to return or modify data in your database. When you click on the Query Tool, the following web page is displayed.

 Click for larger image

From this web page you are can write, execute and save your query. You can also browse for a query that you already have saved. Say you wanted to display the top 10 Orders records. To do this you would just type the command "select top 10 * from orders" into the text box provided on the above page and then hit the "Execute" button. When I did this on my server this is what was returned.

 Click for larger image
Note the records requested in the SELECT statement appear at the bottom of the page. The query tool allows you to review and manipulate the data in your database via a web interface using T-SQL commands.

Not only can you review data, but you can also use this query interface to manipulate your SQL Server using any T-SQL code. Here is an example of a T-SQL command to backup the Northwind database.

 Click for larger image

I think the database interface of Web Data Administrator exposes you to a lot of functionality for managing Databases. Plus with the Query tool you can basically manage the database and server if you know the T-SQL required for the particular task you need to perform.

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