Entegra maintains SQL integrity

Lumigent's SQL Server auditing solution observes unobtrusively

You can't know whether a database is truly secure unless you know what data has been accessed, how it has been modified, and who has viewed it. Entegra -- an enterprise-level auditing tool for SQL Server (and soon for Oracle) -- can tell you all these things. And it does so in a way that's easy to implement, that's highly scalable, and that minimizes the impact on database performance.

Entegra audits all SQL activity, including inserts, updates, and deletes, as well as changes to database schema, access permissions, and views. It uses agents to collect these activities at scheduled intervals, stores them in a central repository, and provides a Web browser interface to view reports. Entegra can also send e-mails and other alerts in response to events that you specify; for example, if a table schema is changed or an entry in a table is deleted, any number of administrators can be notified.

Installing Entegra is easy. Drop an agent on each monitored server and install the repository on another server of your choice. The Entegra repository should be a beefy box if you plan to track activities on many databases or if it's going to have a lot of users. After installing Entegra, simply configure the databases you want audited and assign collection times and locations.

What separates Entegra from the competition is that collection times and locations can be assigned. Most database-auditing products have a tremendous impact on production systems because they use triggers (stored procedures that run when a table is changed), network sniffing, or a combination of both. Those methods are resource-intensive. Entegra, on the other hand, makes use of transaction logs or even backups of transaction logs to allow you to schedule audit-data collection during downtime.

When you are auditing Select statements, however, this flexibility is lost. Select statements can only be audited in real time; because of this, Entegra uses SQL Server's trace APIs to track them. The only other way to perform this task is to sniff the network; using APIs is the better choice. If you audit all Select statements coming into the database, your performance will suffer -- audit only the most important tables.

The one downside to Entegra is that it lacks a report editor. The Web GUI allows you to filter audit data based on several criteria, but it doesn't provide many of the features you'd expect from a tool of its kind, such as user profiles, custom reporting, and exporting to other formats. For example, if you want to look at the same view each time, you have to save it as a favorite in your browser. Most shops will want to use a third-party tool to create their own reports.

Entegra is a fully capable auditing solution for SQL Server. The user interface suffers from limited features and reporting capabilities. But Entegra shines where it matters most, which is collecting the necessary audit data while putting minimum load on your servers.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Value (10.0%)
Ease of use (15.0%)
Setup (10.0%)
Reporting (10.0%)
Reliability (15.0%)
Manageability (20.0%)
Performance (20.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
Entegra for SQL Server 2.0.2 6.0 7.0 8.0 4.0 8.0 8.0 9.0 7.5
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