Two (Database) Runs, No Errors

New database error-checking software from GoldenGate is undergoing trials at the Montefiore Medical Center.
Ensuring that the information in two continuously updated databases remains synchronized is the bane of many a database administrator. GoldenGate Software Inc. claims to have the answer to that problem with its new product, Veridata, which compares large volumes of data in active databases.

In a 4-terabyte database, as many as 3,000 records may be changing every second. If the information in two such databases shows discrepancies, are they the result of out-of-sync data or just a slow update process? Veridata can answer the question "nonintrusively," says Carl Baylis, assistant director of the Emerging Health Information Technology unit of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, one of New York's largest hospitals. The unit supplies IT services to the hospital.

Montefiore has employed Veridata on a two-month trial basis to watch for discrepancies in its Hewlett-Packard NonStop databases, which power its IDX Systems Corp. CareCast hospital-management system. It plans to put Veridata into full production in two months.

The databases contain "100% of all physician orders and 100% of all patient medical data. We're talking life and death here," Baylis says. Consequently, Veridata acts as an automated watchdog. If discrepancies are detected, they're reported to a database administrator or system user. In case of a system outage, Veridata watches the database restarts and detects whether any data has fallen out of sync, he says.

Before installing Veridata, Baylis relied on the comparison of database log files to detect discrepancies, an automated, after-the-fact process. What he likes about Veridata is it brings his check-ups for discrepancies "closer to real time."

Many companies solve the issue of database synchronization through replication, which calls for a clearly designated master database to update secondary databases. Sami Akbay, senior director of marketing at GoldenGate, says Veridata can check for discrepancies between two masters, each of which is being updated continuously.

Veridata can check two servers running Oracle databases or two Tandem NonStop databases at a price of $90,000. Additional platforms will be covered, such as Microsoft's SQL Server and NCR Corp.'s Teradata, by the end of the year, Akbay says.

Oracle says it does the same thing through utilities in Oracle Streams data management, part of the Oracle database system. IBM says it can check for discrepancies between two running DB2 databases through its WebSphereMQ Information Integrator, Replication Edition.

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