by Anthony Wilko
When a host decides to offer Microsoft SQL Server databases as a feature,
customers need a way to access their databases. Usually it is through one of
the following ways:
MS SQL Enterprise Manager - Many hosts choose to have their
customers use the free built-in desktop Enterprise Manager, which has become a
familiar way to edit SQL Server. However, using Enterprise Manager has several
1. It creates a potential security
risk for web-hosts; port 1433 has to be open in order for customers to manage
2. It has to be installed on the
user's machine, if the user can even acquire the software itself (which is
included with the MS SQL installation CD or full download, but is not available
3. It also allows its users to see
not only their database, but all databases on the SQL server. While users do
not have access to databases other than their own, they already know one piece
of the puzzle to getting someone else's data... the database name.
Web-Based Tools - Web-based tools, on the other hand, offer
more flexibility and control over what the user can and cannot see. There are a
number of free web-based tools out there, such as ASPEnterpriseManager and
Microsoft's Web Data Admin, but free tools often lead to poor support, few
updates, and are usually incomplete tools as in the case of both
ASPEnterpriseManager and Web Data Admin. You also run the risk of potential
security compromises if the software is not being constantly revised and
updated by the community.
Payware web-based tools are often very expensive and finding a payware
solution that is complete, usable and affordable is quite a challenge. That is,
until you look at myLittleTools'
One program that is sure to keep hosted customers using MS SQL , and the
hosts who have to shell out the bucks for a good tool happy, is myLittleTools'
myLittleAdmin. myLittleAdmin is a web-based Microsoft SQL Server database
management tool that brings the familiar Microsoft Enterprise Manager look and
feel to your web browser (see Figure 1).
There are two versions of myLittleAdmin. A less expensive web hosting
version, which allows you to use myLittleAdmin to access only one database
server and has a limited feature set that web hosts need, and an Enterprise
version, which has all the bells and whistles and allows connection to multiple
database servers through the one installation.
This article briefly discusses the installation and feature set of the
Enterprise version since this will give you a good idea of the complete
capabilities of this product. This product is so complex we could easily cover
100 pages on it, but for the sake of time, we will try to highlight the
product's strong points. Installation
Installation is a breeze. The software comes ready to be unzipped into your
web server web root and since it is Active Server Pages (ASP) based, it will
easily run on Microsoft platforms running Internet Information Server (IIS)
with ASP enabled. Web Data Admin, on the other hand, is confusing to configure
because it does not give you the option to put the app where you want it. It
just installs through an MSI package, and you are left trying to figure out how
to access it. I literally spent 20 minutes just trying to figure out how to
move the installation to another site.
Once extracted into the web folder of my choice, the only thing I needed to
do with myLittleAdmin was ensure the directory I extracted myLittleAdmin into
was configured as an application (see Figure 2).
Then, off to tweaking the config file. The config file, contained in the
scripts/inc directory, contains all of the settings for enabling/disabling the
features of myLittleAdmin. You have a ton of flexibility here as well as the
ability to offer varying levels of administrative privileges to allow, say, the
system administrator to have full control over just about all of the system
features of MS SQL while giving the casual web user access to only their
database and a limited subset of features.
Features you have control of include turning on and off features for editing
databases, tables, views, stored procedures, users, roles, rules, logins, different
tools (such as query analyzer, backup wizard, CSV import, etc), backup devices,
custom skins, and more.
Turning privileges on or off is as simple as putting a 1, 2, or 3 next to
the appropriate feature, where 1, 2 and 3 are the privilege levels used to
Once you have modified the config file to your liking, that's it! All you
need to do now is browse to the myLittleAdmin path with your web browser and you
are ready to log in.
by Anthony Wilko
Once you go to the myLittleAdmin main page in your web browser, you will be
presented with a couple of different ways to log into the MS SQL server,
DSN-less or DSN (Figure 3). DSN-less gives you the most control over how you
log into your database. DSN allows you to log in with only the DSN name and a
username/password. In either case, you can also log in with a User Level
password that grants you extra privileges depending on how you set your config
Once you have logged in, the interface feels much like Microsoft's
Enterprise Manager, so if you have been using Enterprise Manager, you are
already right at home. You will see a folder for databases, management, security
and tools (Figure 4).
You will notice if you click on any particular database, you will get
detailed statistics on the database itself, including file MDF and log file
sizes, backup dates, total disk size, and so forth. This is great information
for hosted customers to have because it gives them basic information that might
not be available in the control panel you use for hosting. You will also notice
the many things you can work with including tables, views, stored procedures,
You can easily create a new database by clicking the Databases folder
itself. From this menu, you have several options. These include creating a new
database, renaming a database, viewing database info/space usage, generating
SQL script that you can use to recreate the database, backing up a database,
detaching a database, and deleting a database (Figure 5). This view can be
turned on or off for web hosted customers, say for example, if the database was
created through a control panel and you did not want your customers to manage
the creation/deletion of databases unless it was through your control panel.
Clicking on the table menu brings up a list of tables in that database
(Figure 6). You have many options from here, including creating a new table
(the yellow star at the top right), adding content to the table, searching for
data within the table, renaming the table, managing the table structure, (to
include relationships, triggers, constraints, and indexes), creating the SQL
code to create the table, and deleting the table.
Viewing table content is simple. Click the content icon and you can
instantly see your data (Figure 7). From here, you can add data, search for
data, create XML, CSV and edit the table structure. Moreover, once you create
an index on a table with a primary key, you can then easily edit the data in
the table as well (Figure 8).
Figure 9 shows how detailed you can get with your table structure. You can
edit table structure quickly and easily, including defining indexes,
relationships, triggers and constraints. All very powerful features of MS SQL
Stored procedures are a powerful feature of MS SQL. Like just about
everything else in myLittleAdmin, stored procedures are a breeze to set up and manage.
You can easily edit, view, export as SQL, and delete stored procedures through
the stored procedure menu (Figure 10).
Creating stored procedures is about as straightforward as it gets (Figure
Managing DB Users
Managing users and their DB permissions can easily be done, just as it can
in Microsoft Enterprise Manager, by editing the particular user through the
users menu for the database (Figures 12 and 13). Managing Roles is just as
simple through a similar menu. Again, these features can be turned on or off
depending on your need. Moreover, just like Microsoft Enterprise Manager, you
can manage system level users in the same way, separately from the database
Arguably, Query Analyzer is one of the most powerful features of SQL Server,
and I am glad to see it as part of myLittleAdmin (Figure 14). From here, all
sorts of queries can be run, just like in Microsoft's Enterprise Manager.
Management, Security, and Tools
Like Microsoft's Enterprise Manager, myLittleTools can help administrators
by giving insight to the system-level operation of their servers. myLittleAdmin
allows administrators to create, edit, and delete system users, create backup
devices and backup databases, attach databases, watch processes, and see the
locks on databases. Unfortunately, unlike Enterprise Manager, you cannot kill
processes through myLittleAdmin.
Some of the noteworthy features here include a nifty Generate Insert Scripts
feature which allows you to easy create SQL code that takes the data in your
tables and creates an Insert script that you can then use to rebuild the table
and data, should you need it later.
You can also import data from an external database into your SQL database
using a CSV file of data exported from your external database. No doubt, this
will come in handy for tons of folks who are trying to move their database from
one host to another.
Administrators can easily backup databases to devices they have set up in
myLittleAdmin and Restore them as necessary, as well. I would have liked to see
the ability to restore a database from a local disk, since I often have
customers asking me to restore their database for them and have to copy the DB
to the server before I can restore it.
Keep in mind, there are some features missing. Data Transformation Services
is not included. In addition, administrative tasks are still missing, like
creating Database Maintenance plans and viewing SQL Server logs.
Other things to consider
myLittleAdmin is skinnable. That means you can give it your own look and
feel to match your own web site. The code is open and written in ASP, so
someone with some good knowledge of ASP can make this tool look even better.
You can customize the icons, change the text and so on.
myLittleTools' support is excellent! Prompt, courteous, and helpful. While I
have rarely had an occasion to ask for support, it is good knowing it is there
when I need it. They are also willing to listen to their customers for ideas
and feedback on their products.
A host is only as good as the features it offers. The power, flexibility,
and affordability of myLittleTools' myLittleAdmin for MS SQL Server makes this
product a must-have if you are going to be offering MS SQL Server hosting and
want to keep your customers happy. This product comes highly recommended!