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April 20, 2018

Web-Based Query Tool Touches Multiple DBs

Developers today use databases almost like languages. They might start on a good old relational database like MySQL, but then requirements shift a bit, so they sprinkle a little MongoDB on top. The data starts to build, so they mix some Hadoop in for good measure.

Each databases is good at different things, so it’s not surprising that developers would avail themselves of multiple types. There’s no point in shoehorning oneself into using just one database management systems when there’s such a variety to choose from – especially when they’re open source or free – or both.

However, one of the downsides of this database proliferation is that it can be a chore to get data out. Each database will typically come with its own client software package designed to let customers extract the data and run queries. If a business analyst needs data from the database, they will typically be funneled through a database administrator or engineer, who will work with her to get the data that’s needed.

Now a company called Datasparc is looking to shortcut that IT loop by giving analysts direct access to a host of databases directly from a Web-based interface. The tool, called DBHawk, lets analysts and other business users run SQL queries directly against the databases, and build dashboards and reports too.

It’s all about saving time and money by enabling self-service access to data, explains Manish Shah, CEO and founder of the San Diego, California company.

“This whole database game is changing,” Shah tells Datanami. “A couple of years ago, there had a single database, or two.  Now companies have various databases —  Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, MongoDB, Hadoop. You name it, they have it.”

DBHawk is a Java-based product that runs in a Tomcat Server and exposes and Web-based interface that users can access from any device that supports a browser. The software opens up access to remote databases via JDBC, executes SQL queries on the database, and then returns the results to the user.

In addition to centralizing access to multiple databases, DBHawk lets users generate reports and dashboards based on the results. Users can generate dashboards that combine results from multiple databases, Shah says. It doesn’t support database joins or joining database queries at this point, although those advanced features are on the roadmap.

Users who are fluent in writing their own SQL queries can use the product’s online SQL editor, while those who don’t know SQL but understand their organizations’ database structures and tables can design SQL queries using the product’s visual SQL query builder tool. A built-in job scheduler lets users automatically repeat their queries at any time of day. For big queries, such as Hadoop Hive job that takes multiple hours to run, the software will keep the results on the server, and automatically notify the user when the query is done.

Shah says DBHawk was originally developed to be a database administration tool, similar to Toad. To that end, DBHawk lets users import data into the database or export data out of the database using the software, among other activities – provided of course that the user has been granted access (it integrates with LDAP, supports two-factor authentication, and logs every single user action).

However, over time, the business analytics use case kept on growing, and the tool has gradually morphed to focus more on business intelligence needs, Shah says.

“You should be able to connect to your data, be able to import your data, export your data, and you should be able to write queries, generate results, create reports, and create dashboards, with just a few clicks and drags and drops,” he says. “DBHawk is very simple, but very powerful.”

DBHawk currently supports relational databases like MySQL, Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and DB2 for Linux, Unix, and Windows. It also supports column-oriented analytic databases like Greenplum, Netezza, Teradata, and SAP Hana. It supports NoSQL stores like Cassandra and MongoDB, and cloud stores like Amazon Redshift and Athena S3. It also supports Hive and Impala SQL engines running on Hadoop.

Licenses for the software ranges in price from $100 to $600 per user, depending on the number of users. For more information see