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GridApp Automates Database Management

GridApp Systems Inc. has announced a new version of its Clarity application that makes it easier for organizations to perform database automated functions such as applying patches. GridApp Clarity Version 6.5 makes the product more self-service, meaning organizations can use operations staff and system administrators to apply database patches, as opposed to more expensive, scarcer database administrators. In addition, the new version of Clarity has an enhanced API to enable integration with systems management, data center automation, configuration management and monitoring programs, such as those from Hewlett-Packard and BMC Software.

"It's saving us huge amounts of time on patching," says Niels Zegveld, manager for database administrators for Rabobank international, in Utrecht, Netherlands. Rabobank is currently using the software for Oracle databases and is investigating using it for Sybase databases, as well. Before the bank bought Clarity, they needed to patch 180 databases with a security patch every quarter--within two weeks--which took about three hours per database. "Now it takes us less than an hour," basically saving an entire full-time equivalent position, Zegveld says. The new version of Clarity takes it further, requiring database administrators only for the engineering, and allowing operations people to perform the updates. "Our customers are happy because we can patch any database outside office hours without having to get DBAs to put in overtime," he says.

What makes the GridApp approach different is that it uses model-based automation as opposed to scripting, says CEO Rob Gardos. Administrators define the different potential states, options and parameters. The software then uses a rules engine of more than 10,000 potential operations to figure out how to patch by dynamically assembling sequences of events, he says. The rules engine itself, which is constantly updated, is created from experience with the company's customers for the past eight years. Organizations can also choose to update the rules engine at specified times.

In addition to saving time just by updating the patching process, the software eliminates layers of communication, says Gardos. Application owners and systems people no longer need to spend as much time coordinating schedules to determine when a patch can be applied and then checking to ensure it was applied correctly and whether it worked. Instead, the database administrator can give application owners the patches to apply at their discretion. In addition, the new version uses a different permissioning model that gives application owners access to certain functionality in the database, allowing each department to have a private cloud with its own rules.

GridApp Clarity 6.5 is available now for $2,000 per database instance. It works with most relational databases, including Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, DB2, MySQL and PostgreSQL. It also works with most popular clustering technologies, including Oracle Rack, Veritas Cluster Server, and Windows Cluster Server, as well as with Unix, Linux and Microsoft Windows operating systems.