Product Review - Tremendous
Bang for the Buck
One of the aspects in which SQL Server 7.0 and later
versions differ from many other databases on the
market is in SQL Server's support for the
Distributed Management Object (DMO) interface. This
interface has mapped the server- and
database-management functionality typically provided
by the SQL Server Management Console to a set of COM
objects. In short, DMO allows a programmer to
manipulate the server in much the same way as a
database administrator might via the Enterprise
Manager. DMO is the cornerstone of FMS'
. Through the extensive use of this
interface, Total SQL Analyzer can dissect the
contents of SQL Server and report in marvelous
detail about the internals of any database.
In the product's jargon, a documentation session is called a job.
Job-definition information is stored in a JET data file. The results of
an analysis job are stored in a second JET data file. The only
limitation of which I am aware is that Total SQL Analyzer is unable to
document multi-server systems. However, I suspect that organizations
that deploy multi-server systems would not be typical FMS customers and
probably account for a small percentage of SQL Server users overall.
The product's IDE allows you to define, run, view, and print job
results quickly. FIGURE 1 illustrates an example job in which I had the
program dissect all databases located on a development machine.
I found several choices FMS made when creating Total SQL Analyzer to
be thoughtful and based on great attention to detail. For example, the
product lists results in a menu tree that uses the same icons as SQL
Server. That's just one usability advantage. You won't waste time
figuring out that a particular icon really stands for the stored
Dozens of Reports
Doing an analysis job is one way to work with Total SQL Analyzer.
More importantly, though, in my mind, the user will be able to use more
than 70 reports that ship with the program. Here is a small sample list
- Database Object Inventory, Sorted by Database and Object
- Database Scripts, Sorted by Database
- Replication Distributor Properties, Sorted by Property Name
- Replication Properties, Sorted by Property Name
- Replication Publisher Properties, Sorted by Property Name
- Stored Procedure List with T-SQL, Sorted by Procedure
- Table Dictionary, Sorted by Table Name
- Table Dictionary with Column Properties, Sorted by Table
- User Defined Function Properties, Sorted by Function
- View List with T-SQL, Sorted by View
One of my personal favorites is the Issues report. Here's a partial
list of some of the flags it could raise:
- Lock Timeout set to default (Server)
- Max Asynchronous IO set to default (Server)
- "sa" user with no password (Server)
- Column consistency issues (Server)
- Database and transaction log share physical drive (Database)
- Database has multiple owners (Database)
The column-consistency check is especially useful. It pointed out
that a database I have inherited contained several columns with
data-type problems (varchars of different sizes that should have been
In order to select and print a report, you pick the type of objects
you want to output, and then a specific report applicable to the object.
FIGURE 2 illustrates the report-selection dialog box.
In order to provide maximum flexibility, it is also possible to
filter certain reports by concentrating the output on one database or,
alternately, one object type across numerous databases.
And, finally, there is the printed output. I am certain I've missed
other useful pieces of information Total SQL Analyzer reports, so I
suggest you visit the FMS Web site for more detailed information. There
isn't enough space in this magazine to show the output in detail.
The Bottom Line
Total SQL Analyzer is a unique tool with a great price. I'm not
certain this product has any competition. One of the products in
Embarcadero's suite, which would cost much more, might come close.
Building on 15 years of experience, FMS continues to deliver outstanding
bang-for-the-buck development tools. I highly recommend this product.
Rating: 5 Stars
Thomas Wagner is chief executive officer of etechpartner, Inc.,
located in Los Angeles, CA. Readers may reach him at
Total SQL Analyzer provides detailed analysis of any database. The
product comes with 70 report options, such as Database Object Inventory,
Sorted by Database and Object. An enhanced version of the product, Total
SQL Analyzer PRO, was released recently and offers detailed analysis,
improvement suggestions, and dependency information.
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