Last month, Forrester analyst Noel Yuhanna noted the lasting importance of third-party database tools for leading DBMS providers like Oracle. Most enterprises he spoke with last year saw at least a 20% increase in staff productivity when using a third-party database tool. Third-party tools support new and old database releases, heterogeneous DBMSes, and often stack components such as applications and servers. In this special report, we examine the trends, pros and cons of third-party tools for Oracle and look at specific tools from third-party vendors like Quest and Embarcadero.
Third-party tools for Oracle: What are your choices?
Quest Software’s Toad for Oracle is one of the most popular third-party tools for Oracle and can be used by developers, DBAs and business analysts alike. Toad, whose long list of features includes SQL scripts, a data modeler and ER diagram, is seen as an alternative to Oracle’s SQL Developer and Allround Automations’ PL/SQL Developer. The most recent release of Toad is Toad for Oracle 10, which includes a focus on increased productivity for the user. Here are some resources on Toad for Oracle 10 and its features:
- In this Q&A, Toad for Oracle Product Manager John Pocknell discusses the top Toad for Oracle features, which include an enhanced ER Diagram, Database Health Check and a real-time diagnostics monitoring tool called Spotlight on Oracle. Listen to the full-length podcast to learn more about the Toad for Oracle release and how it works both as a developer and DBA tool.
- This review of Toad for Oracle 10 examines how Toad can be used by both Oracle developers and DBAs – a feature that makes it a unique product. While its complex and extensive toolset may intimidate less experienced developers, the No. 1 tool for Oracle uses a project-centric approach that allows application developers to prepare, test, debug and optimize applications.
- Quest Software is now also offering a Toad Extension for Visual Studio, a new offline tool for database development. Developers can control their objects inside Microsoft’s Visual Studio and use it to code against their Oracle databases.
PL/SQL Developer is another editing and debugging tool for Oracle databases. Some see PL/SQL Developer as an unsung hero, as it’s not as expensive or heavy on extra features as other development tools. The most recent release is PL/SQL Developer 8.0, featuring a PL/SQL Editor, Integrated Debugger, Beautifier, SQL Window, Object Browser, Performance Optimizer and more.
Embarcadero supports Oracle databases with its RAD Studio 2010, which offers a collection of tools focused on Web development. The Embarcadero RAD Studio 2010 Architect edition is ideal for Oracle users because it includes tools to reverse-engineer, analyze and optimize databases.
Software from vendors like Legato and Veritas can also be used as third-party tools for RMAN backups in Oracle. These tools, such as Veritas Netbackup, can be used as a middleman to write backups to an automated tape library system.
Oracle third-party tool trends
Even though Oracle continues to develop its SQL Developer tool (now at version 2.1), third-party tools for Oracle offer many functionalities that Oracle does not. Oracle third-party tools are especially useful because they support heterogeneous environments. Since most Oracle shops run more than one DBMS, third-party tools allow DBAs to work across multiple platforms. Despite the extra funds and training that third-party tools often require, this heterogeneous support is one of the main reasons why third-party tools remain an attractive option for Oracle users.
Still, Oracle is starting to integrate more third-party support into some of its own tools. For example, the “hot-pluggable” architecture in Oracle’s Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition gives it the ability to fit into any IT infrastructure, such as IBM’s DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server.
Oracle Audit Vault, its database monitoring and auditing tool, also went from being able to capture only data from Oracle to also working with DB2, Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server. Enhancing Audit Vault to work with third-party databases helps it monitor enterprise-wide database activity with a single tool.
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Find out what users think of SQL Developer vs. Toad for Oracle
Learn why one developer prefers PL/SQL Developer over SQL Developer