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SQL Server Tools - SQL Tools Download and Review for Database Administrators and Developers

Number and functionality of Microsoft SQL Server Tools is expanding with SQL tools with each new SQL Server version since MS SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 and with the newest version Microsoft SQL Server 2008.
Of course if we add these all version the recently released CTP version of the MS SQLSERVER 2008 R2 CTP August, the Microsoft tools for SQL Server is increasing.
Although all those SQL Server tools build-in default and out-of-the-box brings solution to many SQL Server management requirements and problems, as well as SQL Server administration for most SQL Server administrator, IT professionals like to use sql tools that decrease administration and maintanence costs and speeds daily tasks.

In the software market there are many free SQL Server tools and many professional tools for SQL Server administrators will prefer.
What is important and a new requirement for the database professionals is to know basics about these sql tools, how sql tools can make their life easier with sql tasks.
If you track tools for SQL Server, and if you know how you can benefit from these tools, you can build a more secure, reliable, powerful with high performance database environment.
And this is just the only thing requested from MS SQL Server database administrators.

Let's start a new journey to learn about the sql tools built for SQL Server.
And let me start the journey with asking a few questions to you.

Why bother using a new SQL Server tool?

First, I have a question for sql admins and sql developers.
Why do you bother to use a new SQL Server tool?

Using a new sql tool have pros and cons especially if you are working in a team of developers, testers and administrators.

First, a new tool requires knowledge to use the sql tool. This means training about the sql tool. Training a group of members even a single admin requires sparing free time for the tool training.
And as in many cases, database administrators have to share and pass their knowledge and experience on these tools and their implementation on their work environments to their co-workers.

An important issue is all tools are in the end software packages that might have bugs. So while you are solving some of your problems, you might have to deal with new problems.
So as usual with all new technology, prepare yourself to seek for solutions and hints on the support forums or on the web for your new headache.
If software builders of any tool or the vendor can guarantee to provide a quick response and a fast solution for your case, you can take the same boat with them.
So SUPPORT is very important while choosing a new database tool.

Third-party SQL Tools and Free Tools for SQL Server

My second question is : What is the main difference between free SQL Server tools and sql tools we should purchase from third-party?
Is it only the price of those tools?
I want to give my answer to this basic question also. For me the question and the answer is important.
Because if you request from your managers to buy a tool for SQL Server, you have to convience your managers to pay money on those sql tools.
Since IT departments have huge budgets, managers will always tend to cut costs of an IT department.
So why pay money to a tool if there are free tools available though.
Although free tools can solve some of your problems they do not offer support in case of an unexpected error or failure.
Some open source tools may have some developer groups behind but an urgent case is not a part of their duty during the development of the free sql tool.
If a bug is reported probably it will be considered to be solved in the next release of the sql tool project.
And I also believe, when you purchase a sql tool, you only do not pay for the software itself but for the safety feeling while you are using it.
Of course, a professional software tool for SQL Server will be tested by professionals in environments compatible with production environments.
Many years of experience and many user experience is leading these third-party software tools.
Open source software and free SQL Server free tools might depent on specific databases, but it is more common that if you purchase a third-party tool you may use it on different RDBMS databases.

SQL Server Tool Categories

First we should better categorize the SQL Server tools.
Categorization can be made by simply as free SQL Server tools and third-party SQL Server tools. We have discussed this a little bit above.
An other categorization for sql tools can be made according to the user groups who will use that sql tool.
For example, sql tools for database administrators, or sql tools for database developers or programmers. Recently report developers or Business Intelligence specialists are gaining importance beside these user groups. We can add the auditors, audit or IT security people can also use sql audit tool for auditing and security purposes.
Testers and system administrators can use sql tools for various reasons.
Very similar to this categorization of SQL Server tools, we can think about the main use of these tools as the property that is a base for its category.
For example, sql monitoring tools, sql administration tools, sql audit tools, reporting tools, database compare tools, data compression tools, etc.

SQL Server Tool List

You can find a list of tools for SQL Server administrators and developers can use for various reasons.
The list contains also the reasons for tools SQL Server database admins or sql programmers may require to use and buy.

SQL Server tools are necessary for monitoring, tracing or for audit.
SQL Server database administrators or sql developers will use tools for SQL Server performance or optimizing SQL queries or for optimizing sql jobs.
SQL Profiling tools will help to solve problems during development stages. And used common by developers and admins.
Database administrators may wish to use SQL Server backup tools for more managable schedules or options especially if administrators are dealing with a huge number of MS SQL Server instances.
Data storage is important for database administrators. And they look for data compression tools, backup compression tools for managing data storage sizes.
Restore tools for SQL Server should be reliable on difficult times to relax the database administrators.
IT professionals may need to compare data in SQL Server database tables in order to find differences and create automatic insert or update statements.
Report builders and Business Intelligence (BI) developers require powerful sql reporting tools.

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