Review: Log Explorer

Log Explorer 4.0
Starting at $1400
Lumigent Technologies, Inc.
Acton, Massachusetts
(866) 586-4436

You probably know that Microsoft SQL Server maintains transaction logs of everything that it does. Whether it's creating or dropping a table, adding data, or editing data, the transaction logs record every change (except for a few non-logged operations). But what can you do with the logs? The answer traditionally has been "not much"; the logs exist for SQL Server to roll forward in case of recovery, not for you to muck around in.

Log Explorer changes that by providing a powerful browsing and data recovery tool based on your SQL Server transaction logs. Install Log Explorer, open a log, and you'll see everything it contains: timestamps, operations, data before and after changes, user IDs, and so on. Transactions are color-coded so you can easily see all of the operations that make up a single transaction. Powerful filtering tools make it easy to find the changes made to a particular table or by a particular user or process. There's also a real-time monitor mode that lets you see detailed database activity as it's happening. You can also focus in on a single row of data to see its history.

But Log Explorer doesn't end with exploring. It also lets you selectively roll back any transaction without affecting any other transaction in the database. It does this by generating SQL change scripts to restore a row to any point in time that you select. After generating the scripts, you can easily view and then run them right from the Log Explorer interface.

Lost an entire table? No problem! You can recover a table by recreating transactions, by grabbing it from a backup, or by getting a copy from an offline data file. That's new in this version, as are e-mail alerting of particular issues (you can select such things as creating and dropping databases and objects, deadlocks, and rollbacks), and undo and redo commands for stored procedures, triggers, views, and functions.

Log Explorer 4.0 works with SQL Server 2000 and 7.0 databases, and they're planning Oracle support as well. If I find myself doing a dba job again in the future, this is the first product I'm putting in a purchase requisition for.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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