Friday, April 03, 2009

Tools for SQL Server Bundle : Toad for SQL Server V4.1

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I was going through a Review of Toad for SQL Server article on SQLMag, and the product seems to be definitely promising. I have not yet used the product, but just by getting to know the features it offers, one can say that this product deserves an evaluation.

By reading the below excerpt of the original article, one can easily say that this tool is a bundle of features that SSMS, DB Pro GDR, Internals Viewer for SQL Server, and BIDS Helper offers collectively and still some features would remain unique to this tool. The only issue with this product is the price, which seems to be a little bit high than reasonable.

"There are three versions of Toad for SQL Server. The Professional Version costs $595. Toad for SQL Server Xpert, $1,045, adds T-SQL tuning wizards and capabilities, and Toad for SQL Server Development Suite, $1,295, adds benchmarking capabilities.

Toad's object explorer fairly closely matches the functionality provided by SSMS' object explorer, but double-clicking an object such as a stored procedure or table instantly loads the script for the selected object along with an extremely impressive bevy of context-sensitive metadata. The data includes object sizes, constraints, permissions, and dependencies. This metadata display represents one of Toad's greatest strengths, as it shows exactly the kind of things that DBAs and other serious database professionals would want to see when interacting with objects.

Toad also provides other features beyond its responsive and customizable UI. For example, all versions of Toad include log reader functionality (which allows you to review SQL Server's log files and do undo and replay operations), schema and data comparison and synchronization tools, and custom reporting and automation engines or frameworks. These tools alone can almost justify the cost of the Professional version in some environments.

Of course, Toad comes with the basics that you need to manage and develop databases. There's an ER diagramming tool, a visual query builder, support for backup and restore operations, and the ability to view and manage jobs. In short, Toad offers everything you need to replace SSMS, plus an assortment of other tools and utilities."

As per the product features page, it offers the following features and benefits:

Group Execute – Toad for SQL Server provides the ability to execute SQL scripts across multiple SQL server instances streamlining administration and development requirements for implementing database changes in a whole sale manner.

Compare and Synchronize – Compare and synchronize data, schemas and servers in Toad for SQL Server’s compare and synch tool in a few simple clicks. This allows SQL Server DBA’s and developers to work within maintenance windows in the face of growing datasets, easing the pain of meeting SLAs and reducing potential for failure.

Transaction Log Reader – Toad for SQL Server allows you to recover data stored in transaction log files, rolling back operations and reconstructing transactions.

Xpert Tuning – Completely automate the process of resolving SQL performance issues. Xpert tuning will identify, tune and benchmark problematic SQL in your SQL Server environment, regardless of where your SQL resides. Xpert tuning also provides the ability to investigate indexing strategies through automated index generation.

Recall SQL Scripts – Toad for SQL Server automatically saves every SQL statement executed against the database environment. These statements can be searched and recalled allowing users to quickly locate statements for review and can also be saved for long-term use.

Database Administration – Toad for SQL Server simplifies database administration tasks for creating, altering and managing database objects, SQL code, users, logins, and security across multiple servers.

Version Control - Toad for SQL Server provides integration with many popular version control vendors including: Visual Source Safe, Subversion and CVS.

Intellisense – Automate the coding process with intellisense by completing database code activity in the ‘smart’ SQL Editor window.

SQL Performance Optimization – Optimal SQL performance is ensured through an automated process of identifying, optimizing and testing SQL statements so that the best performing SQL is deployed in the environment.

Difference viewer – Difference Viewer helps you to identify discrepancies between files, data and objects, then edit duplicate data; you can also export data to Excel with linked queries as well as add your own notes to database objects.

Query Builder – Toad for SQL Server facilitates the process of coding SQL by letting you quickly drag and drop tables to create queries, from simple to complex.

Grid Customization – Customize the data grid styles visible in the toolset by applying skins to the views – quickly modifiable in the Configuration wizard.

Reporting – Report Writer in Toad for SQL Server allows you to quickly build a report from the console, facilitating documentation of database objects with the schema reporting. It also includes support for pivot grids, and a chart designer.

Visual Data Modeling – Visualize tables, dependencies and database relationships in your SQL Server environment in a data modeling view.

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