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The future of Dell Toad: Oracle DBAs can use BI, Exadata features

Dell Toad is pushing itself into business intelligence and now has an edition to support Oracle's big Exadata appliance.

Dell's commitment to Toad and the Toad Oracle user base is evidence by the company's ongoing investment in the technology. As recently as April 2013, the company announced a transformation of the Dell Toad product line and unveiled a slew of new features for the Toad product line, effectively moving Toad into the realm of business intelligence.

The recently announced Dell Toad Business Intelligence Suite, which is a database management platform that helps enterprises extract insights from both traditional and non-traditional data sources, is now available for $9,995 per five named users.

Toad Business Intelligence Suite ships with a number of enhancements, including new data connectors for Microsoft Analysis Services and Amazon's DynamoDB and Redshift database services. The reworked solution also features storyboarding capabilities that empower users to collaborate on analysis online and self-service data integration that makes it easier to share data and queries with colleagues.

Concordia University, a private liberal arts university based in Portland, Oregon, is an early user of Toad. The resident BI team deployed the platform for two reasons: to iron out bottlenecks in the university's multi-vendor database environment and to simplify the integration of a new student recruitment system into that deployment.

"Instead of being hamstrung by legacy BI technology that evolved to address separate and discreet data sources, Dell Software delivers a modern set of tools that encompasses all enterprise data as it grows in volume, velocity or variety. As a result, Toad Business Intelligence Suite provides a data-agnostic foundation, high-value visualizations and a well-governed virtual data mash-ups layer to facilitate actionable insight and self-service BI," said John Whittaker, director of product marketing for Dell's information management business.

The future of Dell Toad is tied tightly to the future of Dell's entry into the business applications market, at least as far as Don Ferguson, CTO of the Dell Software Group, is concerned. Ferguson said that "Toad tools and relational database represented a major opportunity for Dell."

Ferguson adds, "Business intelligence users typically have a data scientist to work with data. We think we can deliver a solutions set so you don't need a data scientist. We're reasonably confident that we can build analytics/BI solutions that do not require a scientist."

Dell is following through on those ideas with Toad DBA Suite for Oracle -- Exadata Edition, which is designed to support the Oracle Exadata Database Machine (Exadata). With an eye towards big data analytics, the product brings careful and effective administration to extreme performance data warehousing and online transaction processing. Exadata tends to be extremely complex technology -- it includes servers, storage, networking and software. Toad DBA Suite for Oracle -- Exadata Edition provides a complete view of all Exadata components, including an easy way to view the health of an entire Exadata environment on one screen.

With unified management, monitoring all database, memory, storage server (Exadata cells), Smart Scan, Smart Flash Cache and Hybrid Columnar Compression activity from a single dashboard should help to reduce downtime, view scalability needs and monitor application performance.

Toad Oracle has come a long way since its birth back in 1995, and Dell seems to be pushing the tool forward and beyond what it was originally conceived for. With cross platform support, big data analytics capabilities and collaboration features, Dell Toad has grown into a one stop solution for Oracle DBAs and developers with, hopefully, the best yet to come.

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