Mini-Review: dbRadar – Not Quite Ready for Primetime

When I was presented with the opportunity to review The Kompany’s dbRadar product, I jumped at the chance. I seem to be on a continual quest for good database tools.I have not enjoyed the query analyzers or enterprise managers of Microsoft, Sybase, MySQL, Oracle or DB2. They all seem lacking in features and if I were to venture a guess, were developed as maintenance tools by the engineers creating the databases. So it was, that I eagerly awaited the dbRadar package and when it arrived, I immediately opened it, yanked the cd and stuck it in the drive. I was ready to give it a run for the money.

dbRadar I put the application through its paces for the next several days, and it is with reluctance that I say that dbRadar is not really ready for serious use by DBAs. The product has a great deal of promise, but version 1.0 fails to deliver on that promise. There are a number of GUI elements that seem to me to be unfinished. The main two that really were annoying were the main tree control, that does not expand properly and the context help that does not exist for most contexts. I ran dbRadar in Windows and in Linux, I ran it against MySQL, Oracle and DB2 in both environments.

dbRadar In Windows, you will need a workaround if you do not have both Oracle and DB2 installed, otherwise every time you connect there will be 13 dll not found dialogs to click through. In Linux, these missing dlls do not present a problem. There is not any real Help in either Windows or Linux. The Help menu is comprised of two entries – About and What’s This. About is the usual blurb showing the product name and the company, no pun intended, who made it. What’s This turns your cursor into the context cursor of cursor/question mark, however, it only seems to provide help when applied against menu items, which are generally self explanatory. There does not appear to be any help associated with Dialog items, which are sometimes difficult to figure out. Your best bet for assistance in using dbRadar is the ‘Cool Getting start guide for dbRadar’ that comes on the CD. This is a nine page document with screen shots that covers the basics.

dbRadar When I asked The Kompany if they could recommend a Platform/Database combination that would play to their strengths, they replied that Oracle on Linux was the best combination. I spent a couple of days getting an appropriate environment set up and I have to admit that dbRadar runs much better and is more useful when running in Linux against Oracle, especially with rexecd and Oracle Applications running. When this is the case you can kill sessions, monitor system resources and perform a number of administrative functions from within the tool itself.

As a sql editor dbRadar works quite well. You can execute pretty much any sql that the target database supports. I certainly could not make it break. I created tables and performed all of the standard operations on the table, insert rows, delete rows, alter table, create indexes, etc. This is something that The Kompany can build on.

dbRadar is a promising tool for DBAs, particularly for Oracle DBAs using Linux. However, there is a good deal of room for improvement in the functionality of the interface. The Windows version seems broken if you are not aware of the dll workaround. I believe that dbRadar will mature given time and vision, but Version 1.0 is a bit to beta for my tastes. If you want to give it a whirl, there is a demo available at here, otherwise, wait for the next version.


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