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IT Toolbox: New Products for IT Professionals

Manage your cloud storage and database connections from anywhere with this month’s IT tools.

Greg Steen

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

You move from machine to machine and office to office doing your work as an IT professional. Having your files and your toolbox of utilities at your fingertips is essential to efficiency. In some instances, having a network share can cut the mustard. Other times, the cloud is where you need to be.

There is a myriad ofoptions for cloud-based storage, but what if you want to keep your storage locations synchronized? You can keep multiple machines in sync, back up your systems, and have drag-and-drop folder access to your cloud storage with Gladinet Cloud Desktop Professional.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop acts like a broker to a varied array of cloud-based storage. It currently supports more than a dozen vendors, including Microsoft Windows Azure, Windows Live SkyDrive, Amazon S3, RackSpace CloudFiles and Google Storage. It can also synchronize generic service locations like FTP sites, WebDav folders or file shares. You could even use the Gladinet SDK to write your own custom plug-in.

Once installed, adding new cloud storage locations is simple. They’ll be grouped into a new virtual drive. To add a new location, you simply double-click “Click to mount,” and then add the pertinent location details such as provider and authentication. Once you’re hooked in, the cloud location is mapped as a virtual network drive.

Cloud Desktop directly integrates with Explorer, so copying data to and from the location is as it would be for a “normal” network resource. Gladinet Cloud Desktop also lets you encrypt your profile with an additional set of credentials to better protect both the configuration and credentials.

Cloud Desktop includes a Cloud Desktop Management Console. With the Management Console, you can map new cloud drives and mount virtual directories. There’s also a Mirrored Backup function, which lets you back up specific folders or file types to one of your configured cloud storage locations at a defined schedule or as you make changes.

The Cloud Sync Folder feature lets you define folder synchronization, called “drop folders.” Within this detail panel, you can see version history, change logs, current sync status, pending actions, retries and trace information. You can also pause, disable or force a refresh of a Cloud Sync Folder.

Finally, the Settings section is where you can tweak all the application defaults. You can set up proxies, define the cloud drive letter, set the defaults for backup and Cloud Sync Folders, alter the application cache settings, define upload and download constraints and define your trace information. You can also define compressed folders and encrypted folders in your cloud space. These help you get the most “bang for your buck” on your limited cloud storage space and add an additional level of protection, respectively.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop Professional runs $49.99 for a single license. Though there’s no direct free trial, Gladinet offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Academic and volume discounted licenses are also available. If you’re looking for an easy way to synchronize multiple desktops, keep your utilities at hand via drag-and-drop, or just need another backup, check out Gladinet Cloud Desktop.

DB Software Laboratory Database Browser

Connecting to multiple types of database servers is quite handy, especially if you can do it with a tool that requires no installation—one you can take with you on your USB key or utility CD. Database Browser from DB Software Laboratory could fit the bill. You can get it in both an installable package as well as a standalone implementation via PortableApps.com.

When you launch Database Browser, you’ll see your defined database connections, a SQL query window, a grid-based data explorer, tables of the current connected database and a simple activity log. To get started, define a connection to a database server. Database Browser supports Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Interbase/Firebird, SQLite and SQL Server CE. You can also create generic connections via ODBC and OLE DB.

Once you’re connected, the tables section will populate so you can “browse” the data in the data explorer grid. Simply double-click a table to start browsing. The data explorer grid lets you view, add, delete, modify, import and export data. You can also do simple query design by dragging column headers to the top to group by that column set, and sort by clicking on the column header and selecting multiple rows.

The grid also has a “find text” feature. This lets you quickly jump to a record based on partial data matches. To import data into a table, use the import wizard (assuming your data source has exactly the same format as the current grid view). You can export data to both CSV and Excel. You can also dump data to a printed report.

You can create your own queries and scripts and execute them in the SQL query window. If you prefer a more graphical approach, there’s a built-in query-builder tool that will build server-specific queries, such as MySQL code versus SQL Server code. Much like the Microsoft Access query tool, you can drag and drop tables into the designer, select the columns you want to join on and pick the columns you want to select. You can cut, copy, paste, save or preview the results from there.

Database Browser is a simple tool, but the fact that it’s both portable and lets you easily connect to various SQL server types makes it quite useful. If you’re looking for quick object-browsing capabilities across multiple database server types, check out Database Browser from DB Software Laboratory.

Greg Steen
Greg Steenis a technology professional, entrepreneur and enthusiast. He’s always on the hunt for new tools to help make operations, QA and development easier for the IT professional.

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