The Blackboard Academic Suite


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The Blackboard Academic Suite

  1. 1. The Blackboard Academic SuiteTM and Quest Software Simplify the Database Development and Administration of Your High-performance e-Learning Applications From Blackboard Performance Engineering and Quest Software
  2. 2. BLACKBOARD PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING Academic IT professionals that work with the Blackboard Academic Suite™ spend a great deal of time maintaining control over their deployment environments due to constant change. The Blackboard Academic Suite is an enterprise application supporting several deployment environments running Microsoft® Windows® operating systems with a Microsoft SQL Server™ database or Red Hat® Enterprise Linux® and Sun Solaris™ operating systems running with an Oracle® database. There are many factors that impact the environment including hardware upgrades or maintenance, software upgrades or service packs, as well as changes in adoption and growth. The database and its underlying code are at the core of your Blackboard Academic Suite solution. The assignment of managing an enterprise database can be daunting to database and system administrators alike. A primary function of a database administrator is to maintain the health and stability of the database, ensuring optimum efficiency and performance while managing the impact of database changes. Database administrators are responsible for: • Installing and configuring databases • Maintaining the database—managing back-ups, extending data files and storage, adding or removing database users, auditing, and reviewing the database for security problems • Installing new software, service packs and patches specifically for the database and testing these installations before deploying to production • Imposing standards and procedures for data storage and growth • Acting as a liaison to systems administrators, analysts, and programmers to add new applications or upgrades to the database Quest Software’s Toad® for Oracle and Toad for SQL Server deliver efficient and accurate development and administration to database and application professionals. Both of these products are the primary database administration and development tools used by Blackboard Product Development for building the Blackboard Academic Suite and by Blackboard ASP for day to day maintenance and management of live, client production systems. Toad not only automates administration and reporting tasks, but also provides a workflow enabling users to maneuver from one task to another. This degree of administrative flexibility makes Toad the ideal software product for database administrators of varying degrees of skills and experience levels. Toad has evolved for over 10 years and has grown into the most advanced database development and administration solution on the market. Toad equips database professionals with: • Greater efficiency when performing daily tasks • Greater accuracy when writing, debugging, and tuning code • Greater flexibility when performing many development and administration tasks from a single tool • Smoother workflow that allows users to move from one task to another easily • Extensive reporting capabilities that produce quantifiable data and documentation • Greater access to database expertise through various Toad user communities The responsibilities of a database administrator can be distributed into daily, weekly, and monthly buckets. Daily tasks involve general administration and reaction to everyday problems. Weekly tasks involve error recovery and proactive problem avoidance. Monthly tasks involve reporting, identification of performance issues, system monitoring, SQL tuning, and reducing the overall costs of database ownership.
  3. 3. BLACKBOARD PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING When it comes to daily administration, Toad provides administrators with a simple graphical interface that allows administrators to: • Manage user accounts: create, clone, compare and expire database users; check database user roles and permissions, and make necessary changes • Administer tablespaces: create, alter and drop tablespaces; create in another database, create like, export or rename tablespace, and show tablespace map (Toad for Oracle) • React to inquiries and issues: examine the operating system and the processes; pinpoint resource-consumptive database users; manage, trace and kill sessions; provide an explanation of the problem; access expert advice on problem resolution (Toad for Oracle DBA Module) • Schedule jobs: determine whether jobs from the previous day have run (Toad for SQL Server) Toad for Oracle’s Schema Browser. Weekly tasks involve more complicated processes than daily tasks. Toad simplifies weekly tasks by allowing database administrators to take a proactive approach to database administration. Database administrators can: • Monitor the system: check the operating system and the availability of database instances, monitor the database and storage, and examine alert log entries (Toad for Oracle) • Run and monitor backups: utilize native backup with Oracle or use Quest’s LiteSpeed™ for SQL Server product • Monitor tablespaces: check tablespace status and availability, browse schema, resize, and check log switch frequency (Toad for Oracle DBA Module)
  4. 4. BLACKBOARD PERFORMANCE ENGINEERING • Perform error recovery: diagnose issues, re-establish table and access transaction logs • Avoid problems: schedule and perform regular examinations of overall database health (Toad for Oracle DBA Module) • Log SQL: with SQL trace feature, all executed SQL is logged and can be viewed or saved Toad ensures accuracy when delivering on monthly tasks by helping to reduce the total cost of ownership of your database management system. It helps database administrators: • Deliver reports: report on tables, indexes, tablespace growth (Oracle only), and data; compare schemas between development, test, and production; and compare database configuration between schemas • Provide tablespace metrics: provides tablespace map revealing unused space, history, and forecasting; collects tablespace usage and I/O rates (Toad for Oracle) • Compare schemas: configure and schedule schema comparisons, compare individual object and synch script • Analyze SQL: scan SQL and identify areas of inadequate performance, analyze procedures views, triggers, application programs, and SQL scripts; load into SQL Optimizer • Optimize SQL: analyze and transform SQL by producing every possible semantically-equivalent rewrite and automatically ranks the best alternatives; collects server statistics, configures optimization levels, compares execution plans • Test SQL scalability: with the SQL Scalability Wizard (Benchmark Factory®), users can select SQL statements to scale, specify database user load or database user profile, specify test duration, analyze SQL scalability, and compare the results (Toad Development Suite for Oracle) Quest Software’s Toad enables you meet the demands of managing and growing the Blackboard Academic Suite database environment by providing the ability to perform daily, weekly, and monthly tasks efficiently and accurately. About Blackboard Performance Engineering The Blackboard Performance Engineering group partners with clients and vendors to test, validate, and report on the efficiency, scalability, and resiliency of Blackboard products. Blackboard Performance Engineering applies proven methodologies to generate accurate and reliable data about all the products in the Blackboard Academic Suite, including the Blackboard Learning System™—Vista Enterprise Edition and the Blackboard Learning System™—CE Enterprise and Basic Editions. Blackboard Performance Engineering applies the data from its studies to generate optimal enterprise-class solutions for a variety of academic computing environments. About the Blackboard Academic Suite The Blackboard Academic Suite is a leading enterprise software and services solution that enables dramatic improvements in student achievement. Blackboard software is used daily by Administrators, Faculty and students on campuses around the world. The Blackboard Academic Suite includes several applications that help institutions transform learning and reach new audiences including the Blackboard Learning System™, Blackboard Content System™, Blackboard Community System™, and the Blackboard Outcomes System™. Blackboard, the Blackboard logo, Blackboard Academic Suite, Blackboard Learning System, Blackboard Learning System—Vista Enterprise Edition, Blackboard Learning System—CE Enterprise Edition, Blackboard Learning System—CE Basic Edition, Blackboard Community System, Blackboard Outcomes System, are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Blackboard Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Quest, Quest Toad, Quest Spotlight, and Quest LiteSpeed are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Quest Software in the United States and/or other countries. Microsoft, Windows, and Microsoft SQL Server are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Sun, Solaris, and Java are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Red Hat is a registered trademark of Red Hat, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States and/or other countries. Apache is a trademark of The Apache Software Foundation in the United States and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners. U.S. Patent No. 6,988,138. Patents pending. © 2007 Blackboard Inc. All rights reserved. Made and printed in the USA.