Rating: 4 Stars
I downloaded and installed v2.10 of Log Explorer to review the changes that have occurred since
last fall when I examined v1.5. I was excited about this product last year, but it was a fairly unpolished
application and did not support SQL Server 2000 initially. When v2.0 was released, I wanted to take another
look, but have been busy until recently.
The downloaded file was a self-extracting executable that started the installation. I choose
the enterprise version, and since I did not have a key, the 30 day evaluation version, which does
not require a key. I choose my local SQL 2000 server, and NT authentication( Shouldn't that
be Window Authentication? With Windows 2000 and XP coming, I think the NT is dropped.)
I finished and viewed the release notes. It's nice that there is an upgrade option
for the evaluation to the full version. Every software should have this.
During my evaluation, I also received a service pack for v2.1 that installed with the same ease
as the initial product.
Before I look at the product, a couple of initial thoughts. I like the two versions that Log
Explorer is packaged in. There are lots of cases where you might want to allow
someone to view activity (for auditing), but not want them to be able to
undo changes. Having the two versions with different price points is nice. After my
last review of v1.5, I had said this represetned a good value. One of my readers
pointed out that at $1500 / server, his 20 servers would not be able to be licensed. Also,
by purchasing a single copy or two, he did not easily have the option of moving this among
servers as the need arose. He wrote a letter to Lumigent and cc'd me noting that a site
license or discount for multiple copies would be nice. Since I have only 2 production
servers, licensing two copies wouldn't be a big deal, but having the audit capabilites
for my development boxes could help solve some problems. I wouldn't really need the rollback
capabilities since we move the production databases back to development on a regular basis.
The pricing for v2.x is $995 for the full version and $395 for the Professional edition (These
prices are are of 07-01-2001). The differences are that the professional version does not have many
of the rollback and undo options, including the recover dropped table. For most of my purposes (auditing),
the Professional would suffice. There are discounts available for 5 and 10 copies and Lumigent has
mentioned there are more aggresive discounts for 20 or more copies.
In reviewing the release notes, I noticed there are a number of known issues listed. This is
nice in that I can refer to this list when something doesn't work before I contact the
company. Having this info is handy and I wish more software would do this.
Lumigent sent me a reviewer's guide and some sample SQL data. I decided to start the product
first to see how intuitive it is before reading the guide and installing the sample data.
I started the product and connected to my local server using Windows Authentication. After
making sure I had the "Full" recovery model, I added a row to a table and "browsed" the log
records. I saw my insert statement listed with the appropriate detial. It worked pretty easily.
Now on to the reviewer's guide.
This is well written and includes a small app that acts like a mini-Query Analyzer. It has
preloaded scripts you can select from and run and then check the results in Log
Explorer. This actually covers some great scenarios and is a good tutorial for getting
started. I'd highly recommend everyone downloading this guide along iwth a 30 day evaluation
and using it on their local SQL Server. While running through the guide, I switched over
to Query Analyzer and dropped a table. Log Explorer found the deleted records and
reconstructed the table. Outstanding!! If I'd had this for everytime I ran a