Savant Corp, which sells tools for monitoring, diagnosing and managing Oracle database performance, thinks the current fashion for 3D front-ends, such as Computer Associates International Inc’s Unicenter TNG offering is well-intentioned but wide of the mark. It thinks the new management GUIs are too obscure and that only closet administrators will take to the graphics. The tool is all zupped up via graphics with no practical benefit or purpose. The use of data visualization is peripheral at best in helping the administrator achieve his objectives. Savant is touting a more conventional method of data vizualisation for its set of Q Diagnostic Center tools which display problems inherent with performance; it uses a cone to represent a bottleneck performance issue. Its purpose is to enable the administrator to see the problem rather than sort through lists and lists of numbers or sort through a number of alarms or assess blinking icons. Q creates a navigation tool that does the work for the administrator. The administrator still needs to correct the problem (which it says is a reality even with the most automated tools), but Q guides the administrator to where the problem is located. Savant’s sticking to its Oracle roots for now. Informix Software Inc approached it about a port earlier in the year but following news of Informix’s financial distress and its wobbly market position, Savant postponed the port. Ditto with a Sybase Inc version. Savant’s waiting to see in which port that ship ends up. It doesn’t think Microsoft Corp’s SQL Server has enough of an installed enterprise base yet. Version 2.0 of Q wil ship in the fourth quarter with extended network and operating system diagnostics. Version 3.0, due in the third quarter of 1998 will also be released on Microsoft SQL Server plus one other of Informix or Sybase.