REVIEWER: Viktor Svirnovskiy, database administrator for DMIND Corporation.

BACKGROUND: Located in New York City's Silicon Alley, DMIND Corporation is a full-service Web-development firm whose offerings include creative services, technology solutions and software to enable e- business. Through creating a Web presence, building e-commerce sites, building customer service systems for transacting sales and integrating these processes into the value chain, DMIND Web-enables clients to compete in today's fast- forward economy. DMIND understands that the business community demands dynamic and creative solutions. For the past five years, DMIND has crafted out-of-the box solutions, constantly pushing the limits of the Internet's capability without sacrificing usability for clients.

PLATFORMS: Oracle databases on Solaris and Windows NT platforms.

PROBLEM SOLVED: DMIND recently launched nGia, a content and application platform that features easy-to-use content management capabilities for Web-enabling and managing external data. The nGia platform also enables workflow management, seamless application integration and deployment, multilanguage support and personalization. It is the first fully componentized XML-native application of its kind on the Web. The importance of nGia's underlying database, which is part of the platform's four-tier architecture, cannot be overstated. As a core component, the database stores critical procedures and information that would debilitate the entire platform if compromised. To protect this database's availability and performance, DMIND began looking for a performance monitoring solution. We already used several of Embarcadero's database management products, so when the company heard about Embarcadero Perfor-mance Center, we were willing to participate in the beta program. We were so pleased with Performance Center that we purchased the product to manage the nGia database.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Performance Center is the one tool on my desktop that is always open. Although there are similar tools that do performance monitoring, Embarcadero's Performance Center offers the best interface and provides more detail about my database's availability and performance all on one simple screen. Database uptime and speed are critical aspects of DMIND's nGia database, and Performance Center gives me 24x7 monitoring abilities without a need to run the GUI. When I arrive in the morning, I know what happened the night before. Additionally, if a user-defined threshold is reached, Performance Center will notify me by pager or e-mail so I can quickly respond, keeping the databases running at peak performance.

STRENGTHS: The greatest strength of Performance Center is the Health Index, which details my database's performance in one statistic. Some of my less experienced DBAs can easily and immediately spot database problems, whereas before they would need to plow through pages of statistics. The Health Index allows for fast diagnosis of database problems across multiple databases. Rather than having to plow through hundreds of statistics, I can look at one measure and instantly know the overall performance level of each database. I can easily use drill-down features to uncover every detail in areas such as memory and space usage. The ability to access the tool from any database is also a tremendous advantage.

WEAKNESSES: In the next upgrade, I would like to see more features and parameters concerning memory and more platform support.

SELECTION CRITERIA: DMIND selected Perfor-mance Center over the competition because it not only provides the same functionality as others, but goes further/deeper into the problem areas by showing in detail every part of the Oracle database.

DELIVERABLES: Performance Center's power reports allow me to easily communicate the database's performance status to my colleagues as well as to management, keeping everyone current and informed. Enterprise reports detail the global performance of all databases in an easy-to-understand format for my CTO, database manager and fellow DBAs. A worst databases report identifies performance problems that I can compare with historical data points and track where my long-term attention needs to be in the future. These detailed reports assure that I meet my service- level agreement requirements, and I can demonstrate the immediate return on investment from purchasing Performance Center.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Embarcadero's Support Center has great service, both pre- and post- implementation. When I had some minor problems during the installation of the product, I contacted them and had immediate assistance.

DOCUMENTATION: I've found Performance Center easy to use. Within a few hours, I felt comfortable enough with most of the available features.

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