What's new in Version 5.0?

User Interface

The most obvious improvement is the new UI which provides a new, consistent look across all the products and is also simpler, easier and more intuitive to use.  Other features include scalable windows, up-to-date controls and multi-threaded processing thus avoiding the “white window of uncertainty” when long SQL operations are in progress.

Underlying Architecture

The whole code base has been moved to .Net giving us a great foundation for the next set of features (see below).  This is where the largest amount of time has been spent in v5 as it required a great deal of recoding and testing.


As well as the inherent performance benefits that the .Net framework provides, reliance on SQL-DMO and SMO in the build and compare functions has been removed leading to a greater robustness and, more importantly, a large increase in performance as the following figures show:

Benchmark Testing

Tests carried out on a Dell Latitude D820 2.33GHz processor with 4GB of RAM running Windows Vista Business edition. After each test the machine was rebooted.




Tests using Adventure Works SQL2005 database including all data - 696,780 rows.

Build an Adventure Works SQL2005 database from source scripts - data scripts generated the same version schema and data scripter.

13m 56s

3m 49s

Synchronize Adventure Works with schema and 696,780 rows of data to an empty database recording the delta.

47m 58s

11m 44s

Synchronize Adventure Works with schema and 696,780 rows of data to an empty database.

18m 30s

2m 10s

Synchronize Adventure Works schema to an empty database recording the delta.



Compare the Adventure Works database to the one built from source scripts - includes data.



Compare the Adventure Works database to the one built from source scripts - excludes data.




  • Full SQL 2005 support.  The various stages of this have been appearing in the 4.5 release over the last couple of years and v5 marks the completion of that work
  • SQL 2008 compatible

New Features

Packager Plus

  • There is now an option to automatically encrypt objects on the target database using the installer EXE.  This means that your source scripts do not need to have “WITH ENCRYPTION” on them – the installer dynamically adds the clause as it updates the target database.
  • Different data tables can be selected for the create and upgrade phases of the installer EXE giving you the ability to create a “day one” database with “starter data” that is then not touched by subsequent upgrades.

Data and Schema Scripter

  • Objects can be filtered by using regular expressions
  • A Visual Studio database project can be created giving the ability to include the database scripts into an overall solution(also makes check out/check in easy)
  • Object and data script encoding can be explicitly set

What's next?

Various point releases in the next year will provide:

  • Production of a dependency-perfect delta script without updating the target database
  • Full SQL 2008 support – scheduled to be completed in the next two months
  • Windows Server 2008 support – the licensing scheme does not work with Server 2008 so this is due to be changed
  • A specific DB Ghost Visual Studio Project type with easy access to the various functions which will provide a seamless experience for developers
  • An Enterprise Edition which will provide more distributed processing capability for larger environments
  • A build error analyzer to help narrow down the source of a cascading build failure
  • ...and the 70+ feature requests that have been logged in our tracking system over the last two years!

Now that we have finished all the foundational architectural work the development resource will now be devoted to new feature implementation.

Downloading and Installing

The v5 MSI can be downloaded from the evaluation page or you can log in to the member’s area

The installer overwrites any previous installation of the DB Ghost suite so the upgrade process should be a simple matter of running the MSI (If you need to go back to 4.5 for any reason simply uninstall v5 and re-install 4.5)

Version 5 now includes a new licensing scheme which requires a different type of license key which you will need to retrieve by logging in to the member's area

Things you need to know before upgrading

We have attempted to make the process as seamless as possible, for example, even though all the main executable and DLL names have changed we have provided the following:

  • A “db_ghost.exe” command line executable that is functionally identical to the old db_ghost.exe in terms of the command line so you shouldn’t need to update your build scripts etc.  The difference between this new executable and the 4.5 version is that it now interacts properly with the command line and provides all feedback to the command line.  Basically, it now works as you would expect a command line utility to work. ((( UPDATE :- As of version db_ghost.exe has been removed, you should now all be ported to the V5 ChangeManagerCmd.exe.)))
  • COM callable wrappers for the BuilderAPI and CompAndSyncAPI .Net DLLs.  These CCWs have exactly the same interface as the old 4.5 COM DLLs so any API code should also work seamlessly. ((( UPDATE :- As of version the com wrappers are no longer shipped.)))

We would encourage you to update your command line calls and API’s to use the real objects as soon as possible to provide future compatibility – see the help file for details.

The 4.5 Packager has been split into two distinct products – Packager and Packager Plus – each with their own UI and API so you will need to update your scripts to use the specific one you require (PackagerCmd.exe or PackagerPlusCmd.exe)

It’s been some time in the making and has been virtually rewritten behind the scenes but we hope you like what you see in version 5.0 and, if you don’t, then please tell us so we can continue to improve the products!