Managing On The Run

Tools allow monitoring of databases
Three software vendors last week began shipping tools that let managers work remotely with databases using handheld devices.

PocketDBA Systems LLC is offering an update of its PocketDBA system, which lets administrators remotely monitor and manage their Oracle databases using Palm OS devices. Version 1.2 includes a software installer to reduce installation time from all day to minutes.

PocketDBA's new version for standard Oracle systems saves time for administrators who have to remain on call 24 hours a day, says PocketDBA user Jeremy Wechsler, director of database application at in Chicago. He manages four Oracle8.17 databases. "If you're out of the office and something is wrong, you can find out what it is and issue three commands to take care of it,'' he says.

PocketDBA also lightened Wechsler's load. "I was carrying around a laptop, a cell phone, a modem, and a connection cable," he says. "Now I just carry around a Palm VII. I went from 8 pounds to 4 ounces."

Wechsler uses the system to ensure the company's site is accessible at all times. "PocketDBA can significantly reduce your staffing requirements and increase your uptime and availability," he says. "The cost is well under the cost of 24-hour outsource services."

PocketDBA Systems has signed an agreement with Computer Associates to develop a similar system to manage CA's Unicenter TSReorg for Oracle; it's expected to be available by year's end, according to Steve Lemme, VP of open systems database management solutions for CA.

Reorganizing an Oracle database using Unicenter can be time-intensive and requires periodic checks throughout the process, Lemme says. "The wireless device isn't intended to replace the entire management application," he says. "It's so you're able to quickly make a business decision, and if there's a problem, you can react over the device."

Meanwhile, ThinAirApps Inc. and AppForge Inc. last week offered a new combined system that lets programmers familiar with Visual Basic create applications for Palm OS devices, which can then access standard databases using a Java Database Connectivity or an Open Database Connectivity connection.

The product, Identicon DB Developer Edition for AppForge, combines ThinAirApps' Identicon wireless database access platform with AppForge's graphical user interface, which converts Visual Basic script to operate on the Identicon platform.

"A Visual Basic developer can drop those lines of code into a GUI using AppForge, and what comes out is a true client-server application," says Bret Brase, VP of sales and marketing for ThinAirApps.

Identicon DB Developer Edition for AppForge is the first in a planned series of infrastructure products to build applications that link directly into databases, Brase says. ThinAirApps plans to add support for Java 2 Mobile Edition and Microsoft's Pocket PC platform.

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