Quest LiteSpeed 5.0 update

My initial look at the new version of LiteSpeed

Ok, so I've downloaded and installed the new LiteSpeed 5.0 (LS) and I've played with it a bit and here are some notes in no particular order.

1. I'm really disappointed they didn't improve setup at ALL. It's the same setup program it's always been and it could really stand to be more useful.

2. Upgrade appears to be getting better. I appear to have been able to upgrade from 4.8 with no problems.

3. Configuration of the central and local repos is still the same and I was hoping for more this time around.

4. The GUI has had a major overhaul which appears to be mostly cosmetic. They've cleaned up a lot of the icons and updated the code, but I fear performance is still going to be lousy.

5. The reason the performance is going to be lousy is because the schema of the repo is still the same. It's an absolutely horrible design and not at all the kind of schema you'd throw at enterprise backup. So I fear the performance of the GUI will suffer for this reason. I've been talking to them about the state of the repo for about 5yrs now and it's good to see that they're still not listening.

6. As usual, they don't take upgrade into consideration. They expect that you either have to start with a clean central repo or put your entire environment at risk. I wasn't able to backup any of my 4.8 servers and push their info to the central repo. That means that you'll have to upgrade your ENTIRE environment pretty much at the same time or be exposed to missing important information. I don't know why the repos are never backward compatible. The schema hasn't changed in any important ways in years so they should be able to figure out how to store backup info in a different version. It's actually pretty easy. They make it very difficult to upgrade because of this. Come on guys... how about a little consideration for you DBAs?

7. The help file was updated with new info but it's still rather simple and it seems like it should have more.

8. The GUI isn't consistent. You can do some things in some panes and you should be able to do them in others too, but you can't.

9. The categories you can specify are ok, and they're stored in the central repo so you can report off of them from the GUI, but that's it. I would expect that if you're storing that kind of info in a central location that you would use it to add server registrations locally. Instead, you still have to register all your boxes by hand if they're not imported from a previous version of LS. This definitely counts as failing to cross the finish line. They took a good feature and half-assed it.

10. Actually, I imported my registered servers from my previous version of LS and now that I'm connected to the new central repo I can't see them at all. If I delete the repo from the GUI I get my servers back. And there's no way to de-select the repo without deleting it. Again, this wasn't thought-out at all.

11. I played with the new backup analyzer and so far I've been disappointed. I put it against a dev copy of one of my prod DBs and it said that level 3 was my sweet spot. For those of you who don't know, backup analyzer compresses your database at different levels and analyzes the differences in times and backup sizes to give you an optimal configuration. So anyway, I ran that against 100% of this DB and it chose level 3 as my sweet spot. Then I ran a manual backup at level 3 and the actual stats were completely off of what it said they would be. It took more time, and it didn't compress as well. And this is on a closed system. I was the only one on it and there was nothing else going on.

There's more but I think this is long enough for now. In short though, I think this release took way too long for what we got for it. We basically got an enhanced GUI and they tied a couple more things together but there's no real huge value here. They haven't made our lives any easier with upgrades or bringing on new DBAs who still need to register all their LS boxes by hand because that info isn't pulled from the central repo nor can you export/import it from other workstations like you can in SQL Server.

They're going down the right path with their new powershell plugin, but it only covers the log reader functions. And I sincerely hope that that's the least used portion of the product. This will become more useful though as they start adding more providers. So I'm encouraged by that.

They also offer SSRS reports in this release, though they're not installed or even part of the package. You have to go to the web and I had a horrible time trying to find them. If you go to http://sqlserver.quest.com and click on 'browse the library' just follow the litespeed links and you'll find the reports. Here's the direct link to the download page.

http://sqlserver.quest.com/kbcategory.jspa?categoryID=285

When I did download the reports though I was really disappointed. They were just simple little table reports that you could easily write yourself. In fact I've got much better reports that I've written. So unless you just have nothing at all, don't even bother with these.Well, I suppose you could use them as a template for a real report you'd want to write so maybe they'll give you a jumpstart. But I expected more; these were just thrown together it looks like. And while they've setup categories in the central repo, none of them appear to have made it to the reports. But that's based just off of my initial glance so I could be wrong about that. I'll check it out though.

So this was all just my initial look at the new version. I'll be doing deeper dives in this series including some performance and usability tests.

One more thing. I'm really upset that they still don't have any kind of native alerting or even half-decent troubleshooting. They seem to be more concerned with the GUI than actually making DBAs' lives easier.

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