Answering the Challenge of Cross-Platform Database Administration

John Whittaker, Senior Manager of Product Marketing for Quest Toad, Answers 5 Questions with 5 Minute Briefing

Quest Software's Toad product suite provides cross-platform database management tools and also offers extensions for application development tools such as Eclipse and Visual Studio. Demand for DBMS products that cover a range of platforms is increasing as customers seek comprehensive tools that address their complex environments, says Quest. The company recently launched its latest Toad product, the Toad for Sybase Suite, providing support for ASE, IQ and SQL Anywhere, and has also just announced updates to its flagship
Toad offering, Toad for Oracle. "We are building more and more tools to make workflow easier and to bring all the productivity, efficiency, and optimization that we have always had in our Oracle solutions to new database platforms and new user personas," John Whittaker, senior manager of Product Marketing for Quest Toad, tells 5 Minute Briefing.

5 Minute Briefing: The Toad product line is well established but it appears that more recently there has been a much stronger emphasis on multiplatform tooling.

Whittaker: It is a big part of Quest's story. We feel that the market is becoming more heterogeneous by nature and as an independent software vendor, being database-agnostic, with no particular stake in a particular platform, we definitely are onboard with and strategically moving toward a broader more heterogeneous platform.

Within the Toad solution area, we support, in addition to Oracle, a variety of different databases including SQL Server and DB2, and the recent addition Sybase's offerings, as well as providing solutions for the new big data and cloud-based technologies like Hadoop and NoSQL and others. We absolutely believe that having a heterogeneous offering is key to our story.

5 Minute Briefing: How is Toad's range of tooling evolving?

Whittaker: We really base all of our development off of our relationship with our customers who give us constant feedback on new features that they want and new capabilities that they would like to incorporate and we are just a reflection of what our customer base has asked for.

You'll continue to see us move more into this space and even branching outside of IT with support for "accidental DBAs" - people that aren't specifically in IT now managing   databases. We are building more and more tools and capabilities to make workflow easier and to bring all the productivity, efficiency and optimization that we have always had within our Oracle solution to new database platforms and to new user personas.

5 Minute Briefing: What is biggest challenge you see companies with multiple DBMS environments are facing now?

Whittaker: Based on the research study, "Data Cross-Currents: 2011 Survey on Cross-Platform Database Administration," that we conducted with Unisphere Research, coordinating data integration is a problem. Forty-one percent of the respondents cite that. But it really goes beyond that. One of the things that we found out through the study is that 33% of actual DBAs, not even the unintended users - the actual DBAs - cite that the lack of skills availability to utilize multiple DBMS tools as a big problem. It is actually number 3 on the list. Having the same toolset with the familiar environment that they are used to utilizing within the Oracle world or within the DB2 or SQL Server arena, or other arena is satiating that need and we feel it is an important of our message and the capability that our customers are looking for and that we have designed into our system.

5 Minute Briefing: You also did a customer survey recently. What did you uncover?

Whittaker: We have 2 million Oracle users and well over 2 million users in total. We had tremendous feedback along the lines of how much people love the tool, how it makes them look good, and how it is lowering the total cost of ownership within their environments. That is the big advantage that we bring to the table - besides allowing someone who maybe isn't a SQL expert to be able to do optimization and performance enhancement with their SQL code - that actually converts into real dollars and cents when you apply it to the runaway costs for hardware and licensing in the market when you are doing database implementations.

5 Minute Briefing: What is ahead for Toad?

Whittaker: We certainly have thought leaders and experts on staff but we definitely make sure that we go to the market and understand the needs that exist and are real in the space - and that's what we develop to. We just added Sybase in July, so that's a new addition supporting the ASE, IQ, and SQL Anywhere components of the Sybase solution, and we are already seeing good traction. It is a successful product out of the gate for us.

Down the road, as you look into the future, the business advantage that we can bring to the market in allowing organizations that are familiar with Structured Query Language and writing SQL code, to bridge into the NoSQL-big data environment is going to be a tremendous need and demand in the market as people try to gain new efficiencies and new business advantage by leveraging these new technologies. I think Quest Software and the Toad product line in particular is extremely well-positioned with what we are coming out with on the Toad for Cloud component to be able to support that sort of bridging effort.  We can take someone who is an expert, or adept at writing SQL code, and allow them to be in reach of big data and the NoSQL environment by having this sort of bridging technology. Looking into the future, I think we will see more and more of this type around bridging into the new big data environment and we are on the vanguard of being able to do that.

For more information about Quest's Toad product line, go to