REVIEWER: Frank M. Dellapolla, senior vice president of IT at Lazard Capital Markets.

BACKGROUND: Lazard Capital Markets was formed in 2005, concurrent with the recapitalization of the Lazard Group, to continue all of the capital markets activities formerly conducted by Lazard Freres & Co. LLC. Lazard Capital Markets provides equity, fixed income and convertibles sales and trading, research and underwriting services. The company also offers advice, strategies and solutions to corporations and governments worldwide that facilitate their access to public and private capital. Lazard Capital’s trusted relationships with leading institutional investors, including mutual funds, hedge funds, pension managers, government agencies, banks and insurance companies, have been earned over decades of service.

PLATFORMS: Sybase on UNIX, Microsoft SQL Server on Windows Server, Embarcadero Rapid SQL on Windows XP.

PROBLEM SOLVED: At Lazard Capital, we are responsible for tracking clearance and settlement for all trades done through the company. We do all our development, quality assurance (QA) and production work on Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase using Rapid SQL. Once we roll the work into production, Rapid SQL becomes a support tool by providing us with a direct view into every production process that is happening during the day. It allows us to fully support, in real time, the database processes that run the business. We’ve created queries and fixes using the ISQL Editor, which we’ve stored in the Rapid SQL project and secured with source control integration. These queries and fixes allow us to easily identify problems and quickly respond with a resolution.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Rapid SQL is fundamental to our ability to keep the business running smoothly. Its robust interface, debugging tools for Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase, and the source control integration make it possible for my team at Lazard to do full database development using all functionality in the product. We’ve also extended the tool beyond the scope of database development by using it as a support tool. All development and testing - stored procedures, triggers, processes, etc. - is done using the ISQL Editor. And, after we’ve rolled the objects into production, they are supported in real time using Rapid SQL.

STRENGTHS: Rapid SQL is a major development, debugging and support tool for the team at Lazard Capital. The friendliness of the integrated development environment really helps speed up development time. This, along with the ability to hop from production, QA and development, moving across databases along the way all from a single interface, significantly speeds up our process. Along with this, the source control integration gives us the comfort of knowing that all of our work remains secure and manageable. Because we’ve had such success supporting the business with Rapid SQL, power users, who are not developers, want a copy of the software for their work.

WEAKNESSES: The biggest difficulty we run into with Rapid SQL is memory management. We’ve hit that wall on more than one occasion and, once there, the only way to solve the problem is to reboot. There is no workaround. The other weakness is the lack of session restore. Having a feature like this would go a long way to mitigate the memory issue in the product.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We’ve looked at different database development products and nothing compares. Rapid SQL is the best tool we’ve ever used at Lazard. It offers the best mix of user-friendliness and functionality we’ve seen in any database development product. All consultants who finish their time with us at Lazard ask for their copy of Rapid SQL as a parting gift.

DELIVERABLES: Our team is responsible for setting up and maintaining the entire process for the back-end trading system - clearance and settlements - at Lazard Capital. This includes supporting, tracking and monitoring the system in real time. We do all of this using Rapid SQL.

VENDOR SUPPORT: We continue to see many quality enhancements in each release of Rapid SQL. The product keeps pace with database vendor updates, which is necessary for us to meet our objectives. We find the phone and email support to be responsive and helpful. Sometimes, getting or transferring a license is a lengthy process. But otherwise, support is great overall.

DOCUMENTATION: Most of the time, the intuitive and easy-to-use nature of the product makes the documentation unnecessary. On the occasions we’ve had to go to the documentation, we don’t always find the answers we’re seeking.

Rapid SQL
Embarcadero Technologies
100 California Street, 12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 834-3131
http://www.embarcadero.com/

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