ExtraQuest, a provider of database administration services, announced it has renamed the company StrataVia Corporation and introduced Data Palette 3.0, a database administration (DBA) solution for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and IBM DB2. Data Palette helps define the best practices for performing simple or highly complex database activities as well as standardize and automate key DBA functions, bringing major gains in operational efficiency and substantial savings in the IT budget. StrataVia has used previous versions of Data Palette (formerly known as RoboDOC) in its managed services business for the past 3 years, and is now launching it to the market for the first time.

Unique in providing this standardization and automation is Data Palette's ability to define and capture standard operating procedures (SOPs), business processes that completely define the best practices for performing simple or highly complex activities to be performed on the database. For example, a "Backup" SOP determines how the organization wants database backups to be done across the entire organization, no matter how many databases, database types, or system platforms are involved.

Standardization around best practices means that any DBA can apply any SOP and always achieve the same results - for example, a junior Oracle DBA can perform a complex action on an IBM database and the outcome will be the same as if it had been executed by and expert IBM DBA. Data Palette also tracks every action performed on the database, so it can be used for a complete audit of all activity that took place on the database in a specified timeframe and help organizations achieve and maintain regulatory compliance.

Standard operating procedures can be run on an ad hoc basis, scheduled to run at certain times, or set to run when certain conditions apply. Data Palette is constantly monitoring the complete database environment - not just the database itself - such as the operating system and the network. It can be set to execute a given SOP as conditions change, such as when disk space is getting low or when response times are reaching unacceptable levels, Data Palette can automatically step in to execute an approved procedure. Also, once these best practices are defined in the SOP format, they can be applied automatically, freeing up the DBA from much of the repetitive work that they are routinely confronted with.

Data Palette is built on open standards and is compatible with many existing enterprise toolsets including monitoring, ticketing and change control, as well as IT management frameworks such as ITIL and COBIT.

"Data Palette is the 'best practices' of database administration - a distillation of the hundreds of person-years experience that we gained in providing managed services for many large and complex Oracle, SQL Server and DB2 databases," said Thor Culverhouse, president and CEO of StrataVia. "With Data Palette, DBAs are freed from technical 'firefighting' tasks, and can spend their time in proactive work such as business requirements analysis, capacity planning, design, architecture, compliance related efforts, application/database interplay, benchmark tests, and evaluation of new products."

According to Noel Yuhanna, in the January 2006 Forrester Report entitled "Trends 2006: Database Management Tools," "The demand in 2006 for database management tools in the areas of archiving, security, migration, backup, and replication will continue to increase as enterprises look for comprehensive and automated solutions to support growing requirements. Database tools innovation will focus on self-healing, self-securing, and self-management capabilities, in addition to simplifying administration across heterogeneous environments." Yuhanna states in the August 2005 report entitled Database Administration Can Improve Efficiency and Lower Costs that "Automation formalizes the data management practice, minimizes complexity, and lets enterprises focus on business issues, rather than having to deal with technology-related challenges."

"Forrester estimates that 25 percent of all database outages are related to human errors, mainly because of complexity in managing databases and infrastructure, as well as informal data management practices. Although the percent of such outages is decreasing because of improved and simplified database management systems (DBMS) products, enterprises can accelerate the process by automating routine administration tasks." (Automating Database Administration Can Improve Efficiency and Lower Costs , Forrester Research, Inc., August 29, 2005).

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