StrataVia automates database management work

StrataVia announced software on Tuesday that it says can automate database administration tasks, helping to reduce costs and free database administrators to do other work.

Called Data Palette, the software lets companies create flows of automated administration tasks, such as backing up data, which can be performed across mixed environments that include databases from Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, the company said.

The software has a monitoring component that looks at the database and its surrounding environment, such as the operating system and the network. If it detects a problem with the database it can trigger the flow of tasks to begin.

If an application drops below a certain performance level, for example, the software will locate the databases that the application is running on, identify any users doing nonessential work on that database, and warn them by e-mail that they're going to be cut off. It will then disconnect them and send a report to the database administrator.

Since its founding in 2001, StrataVia operated as a managed services company providing remote database management. Data Palette is essentially a packaged version of the software that the company has been using internally to do its work, said Brian Staff, vice president of marketing. It changed its name from ExtraQuest to StrataVia in conjunction with the product launch.

Over the years the company collected what it considers best practices, or "standard operating procedures," for various database administration tasks. Data Palette ships with three of these SOPs, for database backup, restoral and maintenance. The company plans to offer other SOPs, some for a fee and some for free, and customers can also create their own.

DBAs can set the SOPs to run automatically when a database reaches certain thresholds, such as low disk space, or they can start them manually.

The product is aimed at midsize and large enterprises with mixed database environments. StrataVia expects the software to be used alongside management tools from the likes of BMC Software and Quest Software, rather than replace them.

"Those products tend not to enable the consolidation of tasks -- putting things in a standard process so that the next time something goes wrong you don't have to go through the same steps all over again to fix it," according to Staff.

Data Palette costs $6,000 per database instance.

The software also includes a browser-based reporting tool, and maintains a record of all actions applied to a database for compliance with U.S. regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The company had planned all along to offer its service as a product, according to Staff, in part because it is difficult to scale the company as a services business, he said. The company employs a team in India for the services side of its business, but salaries have been increasing there for good engineers, he said.

The company has 35 customers for its services business, including Media News Group Interactive, which maintains 74 Web sites including 49 daily newspapers. The company is also an early customer for Data Pallet, Staff said.

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