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Posted April 12, 2018

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Web-based Database Management

By Rob Gravelle

You've probably noticed from some of my other databasejournal.com articles that I'm a huge proponent of remote database management. Whether via mobile app or web-based console, it's vitally important for DBAs to be able to access their database(s) from wherever they may be when their services are required.

Sadly, the selection of web-based consoles has been somewhat limited, with the vast majority of tools aimed at specific database types, including phpMyAdmin (MySQL), Microsoft SQL Web Data Administrator (SQL Server), and various cloud services proprietary web consoles.

One notable exception to this rule is DBHawk, a web based-database and data analysis tool by San Diego-based Datasparc Inc. It provides secured data access across a wide variety of SQL and NoSQL databases hosted on the cloud or on premise.  In today’s article, we’ll take a look at this innovative new product and explore some of its many features.

Overview

The impetus behind DBHawk was to create a database management and data analysis tool that could work with SQL, NoSQL, and Cloud databases from a single browser window.  Hence, it supports a wide array of databases, including Oracle, SQL Server, Redshift, PostgreSQL, Teradata, Greenplum, MongoDB, Cassandra and others. 

DBHawk also boasts several useful features, such as SQL editor, advanced query builder, charts-dashboard builder, report builder, online SQL editor, and job scheduler.  Written in Java, DBHawk looks more like a native application than a web app, and will run on any platform that can run the java runtime environment (JRE) (i.e. just about any platform).  The official supported platforms are Windows, Linux & MacOS.

call center table
Figure 1: CallCenter Table Rows in Table Data Tab

Online SQL Editor

The heart of any database management tool is the SQL Editor.  This is one area in which web-based tools often have trouble with, when competing with native applications.  Due to its use of Java, DBHawk’s SQL editor offers all of the advanced features that you would expect from a native database tool, but within a web-based interface.

You can use it to run SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE or DELETE statements, cancel long-running queries, and even open multiple editor windows.

online sql editor
Online SQL Editor

The query editor can also execute multiple queries from the same editor.  DBHawk will display results within separate results tabs.  Alternatively, you can highlight a select single query when there are multiple queries in an editor window.

Table statements can be opened in a query editor by right-clicking on the table name or by selecting the table in the DB Objects pane before clicking on the top right SQL button.  

Naturally, the Query Editor supports auto-completion to facilitate query writing:

Query Editor Auto-Completion
Query Editor Auto-Completion

Query results are displayed in the SQL results grid.  It also provides advanced features such as data filtering, sorting, column selection, and data group by function.  All of these functions are executed without having to reconnect to the database.

There is an SQL Formatter that beautifies SQL statements and displays SQL with color syntax highlighting.

Exporting Query Results

SQL queries may be saved to disk and reloaded into the Editor at a later time.  Results may also be exported in various formats including CSV, PDF, Excel, and HTML. These may be saved to disk or exported directly to Amazon S3 storage.  When exporting data in CSV format, DBHawk provides several options to format results, including Column Separator, Date Format, Charset, and Header/No Header export options.

Running Queries in the Background

Users can upload local SQL files and execute them in the background, which is useful for those long running jobs.  A progress screen displays the query’s progress in real time.

Online Query Builder

For users who are not experts in SQL, DBHawk is the first web-based query builder to provide a Query Builder tool capable of generating complex SQL queries.  You can use it to create queries without writing even a single line of code!

To build your SQL queries, just drag and drop database tables from the schema browser to the query builder. DBHawk will automatically build SQL join conditions based on a foreign and a primary key between two tables. It supports inner join, left outer join, right outer join, and full outer join. Like the Query Editor, you can open as many query tabs as you’d like and work on different builders at the same time.

As you build your SQL queries, DBHawk displays a live data preview. You can apply various filter conditions on the live data, just like the SQL Results grid.  

Live Data Preview
Live Data Preview

The Query Builder supports the same data export options as the SQL Editor – even from a data preview.

Data Export Options
Data Export Options

Once you’ve got the SQL statement just how you like it, you can open the code in the SQL Editor to run it.

Self-Service BI & Ad-Hoc Report Builder

The Self-Service BI & Ad-Hoc Report Builder is tailor-made for business analysts so that they can quickly connect to data sources, write or build SQL queries, generates charts, dashboards, and reports and share them with others.

Once query results have been analyzed, BI users can build all kinds of ad-hoc data Charts, Reports, and Dashboards. Available charts include Line Charts, Pie Charts, Area Charts, Scatterplots, Bar Charts, to name but a few.  

DBHawk Charts
DBHawk Charts

BI users can share their ad-hoc reports and charts, and dashboards by email or link.  The dashboard employs a responsive design for viewing in the browser and on mobile devices alike.  Links may be secured by password and by expiration date.

Job Scheduler

A Job Scheduler is a must for automating common tasks such as database backups and running SQL processes. DBHawk’s SQL Job Scheduler allows you to automate your batch jobs across various platforms and applications.

You can easily see what’s scheduled to run as well as receive to-the-minute status information on all currently running jobs. Jobs may be executed every minute, hour or day of the week, as well as restricted to non-peak hours. You can also opt for a full audit and error log for all job executions, so that you can see how everything went.  These can be saved directly to disk or sent by email.  Query results may be output in HTML, pdf, or csv format.  The Job Scheduler can run reports at regular intervals as well.  

Object Access Control

With regulations such as GDPR, HIPPA, SOX, and GLBA, it’s crucial for companies to have the ability to provide quick and secure data access while implementing proper Object Access Control.  DBHawk delivers a centralized server-based solution for Database activity monitoring (DAM), thus enabling users to securely access databases hosted on-premises or in the Cloud.

More on Database Activity Monitoring (DAM)

DBHawk logs all users’ activities including user authentication and SQL activities. DBHawk auditing capabilities give full visibility over who has accessed which data, when, and for what reason. DBHawk logs IP address, time, user id, database username, wrong login attempts, SQL Queries, etc.  It makes regulation compliance much easier when there are many databases and users.  DBHawk simplifies securing the server with antivirus and antimalware updates because all users SQL and database activities go through a single server.

SQL Share & Snippets

DBHawk keeps track of your SQL query history, and displays them in the My Queries panel.  Queries can be sorted by the runtime or by name.  You can insert a query from the history viewer to the editor via the green arrow button (shown below).

My Queries Panel
My Queries Panel

The snippet feature allows users to share queries with other external users in a secure fashion. You can control how others can access query via password protection and with expiration dates. You can also make a query read-only.  Those who receive shared SQL via the snippet feature can then run the queries, view results, modify results, and export data - all without logging in to DBHawk or any database. All in all, the snippet feature is a simple but powerful collaboration tool.

LDAP Integration, API

DBHawk supports secure two-factor authentication, SSL, and integration with LDAP as well as various API and SSO for easy integration with other applications.  These allow users to integrate DBHawk with their own tools.  It adds value to their existing infrastructure and provides their customers with secure access to data.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for secured data access across a wide variety of SQL and NoSQL databases that’s accessible from a browser, then DBHawk may just be what the doctor ordered. 

There is a free trial and live online demo with sample databases.  The people at Datasparc can also create a DBHawk instance on the cloud such as AWS, Azure, etc.

Please contact Datasparc for purchase information.

DBHawk is typically purchased with an annual license term.  The Annual License allows you to use DBHawk for one year as well as entitles you to download updates to the software and to receive technical support and maintenance.

See all articles by Rob Gravelle



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