Toad for Oracle Review

Great PL/SQL debugger and "Make Code" feature with technical support that goes above and beyond

What is our primary use case?

I use TOAD for all Oracle database management and development. I've also purchased it for our developers. The resource time I save by purchasing TOAD for my developers easily offsets the cost.

We are a smaller software company and maintain an Oracle database to test new releases. We do database administration, design, and development.

Database management includes tablespaces, data files, rebuilding indexes, tables, analyzing tables, and schema comparison.

PL/SQL development includes creating and maintaining packages.

SQL includes data queries and editing.

How has it helped my organization?

TOAD saves many hours of work by simplifying the redundant maintenance tasks for databases. We attempted to use SQL Developer a few times, but It is not as user-friendly. It seems TOAD was created to make an Oracle Developer's/Admin's life as easy as possible.

Specifically, it helps with: 

  • Schema comparison and promotion scripts
  • Rebuilding table scripts (very helpful when an existing table has been altered and needs promoting)
  • Debugging/Analyzing connected sessions and current SQL

It has a Schema Browser that provides all needed data in a clear and accessible way. This helps our software engineers who are not Oracle experts with the dictionary tables

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is honestly that so many features are packed into a single software package. TOAD is one of only a few applications that I have not had to complement with additional software or "add-ons".

The PL/SQL debugger is fantastic and has been a huge time-saver.

A quite simple feature that I have not encountered elsewhere is the "Make Code" feature. I can easily export a complex SQL statement to a programming language. This is a great timesaver as I do not have to type in all of the escape/concatenation characters just to create a SQL statement in C# or C++.

This is not a "software" feature, however, I have contacted Quest when a version had a very specific bug that was affecting my team. They scheduled a meeting to review the issue pretty quickly and I spoke to several knowledgeable people. They had already implemented a fix, communicated when the release would be available, and provided me with a beta version to hold me over until the official release. The level of service they provided was astounding.

What needs improvement?

I honestly cannot think of any at the moment. I am sure there are some, however, I use it every day. Any issues tend to be few and far between. Once in a while, I may encounter a memory exception and have to abort the application. On a few occasions, the file that stores the saved connections for the New Connection window will become corrupt and I will lose all of my saved connections. I am not sure if that is a Windows or TOAD issue, but it has happened to all of my developers at some point or another. The incident rate is only about once every 6 months, so that makes it more palatable.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for 16 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution has been very stable. 

The stability issues I have encountered have been memory exceptions which can cause the application to crash. Since I use the application intensely on a daily basis, these do not occur with enough frequency to cause disruption. The memory exceptions have reduced in likelihood with each new release. If I had to put a "rough" number I would say once every month or so.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution seems easily scalable. The developers that use it have no issues keeping new versions updated. 

How are customer service and technical support?

The one time I used the customer service, it was excellent. Everyone I spoke with was very knowledgeable and customer-focused. I shared that experience many times afterward because I was so impressed that there are still companies with that level of support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have tried SQL Developer but it was missing several "of the nice to haves" that made TOAD very convenient.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was easy. I downloaded TOAD and an Oracle Client.

What about the implementation team?

We handled the deployment in-house.

What was our ROI?

I do not have specific numbers, but the ROI has been positive. I want my developers to focus on logic and not on the nuances and minutia of Oracle.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

If you or your team regularly develops within Oracle, the convenience and time-saving are well worth the cost. On the surface, the initial cost may seem steep. However, my thoughts are that:

  1. The renewal rate is reasonable so look at the multi-year cost. 
  2. If a developer saves 20 hours annually by utilizing TOAD's functionality, the software has easily paid for itself just in saved productivity alone.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

No, I did not evaluate anything else prior to using TOAD.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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