Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New cool Quest Tools

Yesterday evening guys from Quest presented their latest cool new tools at one of our company locations. They started with Foglight, a tool for Application Management. Using that tool you can see on one page the status of the applications that are running, where users experience some problems (based on thresholds), the number of users affected and where in the application stack the problem occurs. With a few clicks you can drill down to the actual origin of the problem. Foglight supports a number of application types (like Java, .Net, Siebel, SAP), different types of access (o.a. Apache, Citrix, Rich Clients), multiple infrastructures (Windows, Solaris, HP/UX, VMWare) and different databases (SQL Server and - of course - Oracle).
Foglight uses so called "Quest Collectors" on the web-, application- and databaseservers to sample data. That data is collected in the Foglight Management Server. Apart from that you can use an Experience Monitor and Viewer as a network sniffer.
Quest claims it is an end-to-end performance management tool, but actually the scope is somewhat limited to "just" the servers: storage is not included and for network management there is only a diagnosis and no suggested solution.
Foglight is complementary to Spotlight that has been around much longer. Spotlight is also a very nice graphical tool, but is - much more - limited to only one database instance.
Of course everything has it's price. This cool tool costs around 500 euro per CPU socket. A 'normal' implementation will cost you 20 - 200 kEuro (+ 18% support fee a year).
Also some new features of good old TOAD (v10) where addressed, like the enhanced ER Diagrammer, a new sort of Data Grid (with grouping, colors, hide/display columns etc.), an enhanced Data Generator - that can generate sample data with taking care of referential integrity and Unicode support. All the details are on www.toadworld.com.
The last product they showed was Foglight Performance Analyzer, a tool that has overlapping functionality with AWR, ASH and ADDM (but then without the Oracle Diagnostic and Tuning Packs license). The analyzer uses a StealthCollect memory tool to detect changes to the Oracle memory stack (without having an Oracle connection!) and offloads these changes to a data warehouse. So you can analyze and query the use and changes of your Oracle DB, without actually using the DB itself. Also tracking errors or dumps when the database itself is down is a nice functionality.
All in all a nice informative evening, with lots of tools that I definitely would like to try in a real environment (now I have to find a customer who uses or needs this sort of stuff).
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