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An overview of Quest's database performance management tools

DBAs can use the Quest Toad product suite for managing database structural performance, and Quest Foglight to proactively monitor SQL, storage and virtualization performance.

Quest Software offers Toad, whose name originally was an acronym for Tool for Oracle Application Developers. Over time, Toad has grown to support multiple database management systems and consists of a suite of products for managing SQL and databases. Although the tool can be used to perform numerous tasks besides database performance management, this overview will highlight only its performance-focused capabilities.

Toad's SQL optimization functionality lets users view access plans for SQL statements as well as provides the capacity to suggest improvements while working in Toad's SQL editor. With the product's SQL Scanner, users can choose SQL statements to investigate by schema, object name and event monitor. Toad can review and offer guidance on the complexity of the statement and potential performance issues. The SQL Optimizer can automatically examine SQL statements and review possible ways to rewrite them for better performance.

Toad's Index Usage Analyzer can evaluate a chosen SQL workload and determine how many times SQL is run, as well as which indexes were used. The product can also analyze the impact of existing indexes to help determine whether and where new indexes could be created to improve performance.

Additionally, Quest provides database structural performance capabilities with its ability to monitor space usage for tablespaces, tables and indexes. Database administrators (DBAs) can review free, used and reserved space for all database objects. Historical storage usage information is collected and can be analyzed so DBAs can perform storage analysis. Toad can be used to predict future growth by database object, which helps DBAs determine how the object will grow and can aid in avoiding out-of-space conditions.

The Quest Toad database performance management tool is available for IBM DB2 Linux, Unix, Windows (LUW); IBM DB2 for z/OS; Oracle Database; Microsoft SQL Server; MySQL; and SAP DBMSes.

Quest Foglight for Cross-Platform Databases

Quest also offers database system and SQL performance monitoring with its Foglight for Cross-Platform Databases product. DBAs can use Foglight to proactively monitor their SQL, storage and virtualization performance. The product offers a global view into a multi-platform environment, enabling DBAs to review and resolve performance problems across heterogeneous database platforms.

DBAs can use Foglight's adaptive baselining capability to automatically generate alerts when deviations from normal activity are experienced. Using the collected metrics, they can track normal ranges for the performance of their database implementations. Quest Foglight simplifies tracking down concurrency and locking issues with its wait-state analysis features, which can be used to determine the cause and location of waits in the system. Foglight also provides customized reporting on all of the performance metrics it collects, using a drag-and-drop reporting interface.

With its SQL workload analytics capabilities, Quest Foglight can be used to optimize SQL code. Multidimensional SQL workload drill downs enable analysts to view how data is being accessed and by whom. The product also offers automated change tracking and comparison reporting to simplify root-cause analysis for SQL performance problems.

Quest Foglight supports IBM DB2 LUW, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server and SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise. DBAs can use Foglight for Cross-Platform Databases to consolidate and standardize database performance management across heterogeneous multi-platform environments.

Quest product licensing, pricing and support

The Quest Toad DBA suite is priced by DBMS per user for an unlimited number of instances. Quest Foglight for Cross-Platform Databases is priced per named instance  and ranges in price depending on the DBMS being monitored. Contact Quest for specific pricing. Licenses are perpetual and include first-year support and maintenance. Thereafter, maintenance is priced at 25% of license cost. 

Both Toad and Foglight database performance management products can be downloaded for a free trial period.

Quest offers varying levels of support, including standard, 24/7 and premier options. Standard Support provides coverage during local hours and through the company's online support portal. Premier Support guarantees a response time of 30 minutes or less for severity level one problems. 

Editor's note:

On Nov. 1, 2016, Francisco Partners and Elliott Management Corp. completed their acquisition of the Dell Software Group and relaunched Quest as a new standalone company.

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