Its been my experience that if you work on ETL projects, you eventually accumulate client software for a number of database systems on your development PC. The reason is pretty straightforward – you need to be able to access the systems you are working with to determine data types, schema structures, and occasionally to check that a User account and Password you have been given actually works.
One problem I’ve run into though is that not all operating systems are supported by different database vendors with their tools. While Windows has the largest installation base, Mac OS X, and Linux also are used for ETL development but Microsoft’s SQL Server management tool will only work on Windows machines. Apple’s FileMaker software is similar, running on Mac OS X and Windows, but not Linux (since version 7). The examples go on and on. Also, because each tool is laid out differently, it can be difficult to find what you need quickly when you only work infrequently on a specific platform. Often times remembering where I need to go in a specific tool will take me longer than getting the actual information I was looking for.
All of this leads to the point of this post – using a free open source product call SQuirreL SQL Client to access multiple database platforms via one application regardless of whether you are running Windows, Mac OS X or any of a large variety of Linux distributions.