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100% Microsoft? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 8:31 AM


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I have tended to stick with single vendor solution where possible. The main reason for me is support, dependability, and DR. If there is an issue with other software, it has been a problem for me in the past. If I have to install something else on a server to have my application working, it is a potential issue. If it requires a license key, then it's an even bigger deal.

In the past I've avoided Perl scripts on Windows servers because it's one more thing to install and not widely used. Instead I've used VBScript. Is it less powerful? Sure. More of a hassle to work with, absolutely. However I can get the job done with VBScript, so I've used it.

However there are places where software makes a substantial improvement in the services. Generating PDFs in the past was cumbersome. It could be done by hand, or you could install software to help. I think it was worth installing the software.

Backup compression software utilities were worth the improvement in space usage and backup time. Even though this could potentially be a DR install, I think it was worth the improvement.

I think there are valid reasons to stick with solutions from one vendor. If nothing else it simplifies your environment, but make a judgment call. If there is good value in using another product in your environment, why not use it? Most companies won't abandon you in support, especially Microsoft, just because there is another product in the mix.







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Post #1101606
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 8:34 AM
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Although I have been back in the development camp the last few years, when I was a DBA I used 3rd party tools "with caution" ... e.g., backup the database(s) first before using the tool. I found that in most cases the "maintenance" tools were right on, and we continued to use them. But the tools to script changes in the database (e.g. create table, alter table, etc) were not as useful as they were made out to be.
True, the company I was contracted to could have allowed the developers and DBAs time to "do it right" and design it up front (instead of constant changes to the database structure) so that we wouldn't need such a tool, but being a small company needing to react quickly to their client's needs they didn't always have that option.
Post #1101610
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 8:36 AM
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The way I figure it, if I need the tools I need the tools. The choice then is not so much between MS and third-party, but between my code and someone else's. Viewed in that light, it's a no-brainer :) I might start my search with MS, but I certainly never restrict the search to MS. There is just too much good software out there to ignore.

As far as support is concerned, I've never had a problem with finger-pointing when MS is involved. Sure, both sides might initially start out that way, but it's never stayed that way for long. Any time I've needed support where the fault was ambiguous, MS has always acknowledged the possibility that the problem could be at their end and done enough work to prove where the fault lies. If it's on their side, they apologize and work through to a solution. If it's not, they provide enough documentation, data, and test cases that the other party can't reasonably refuse responsibility. And in one case in the early days of Terminal Server, MS even worked with the other party to sort out the problem.
Post #1101614
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 9:22 AM
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Although I am primarily a MS SQL Server DBA, I have long been a believer (even before becoming a DBA) that alternatives to Microsoft frequently offer better software, or programs that provide features either not available or easier to use than the MS equivalents. Systems for documenting, troubleshooting, and monitoring SQL server have proved no exception to that rule - I have used SQL tools from a number of different vendors, including Redgate, ApexSQL, and Quest, and generally found that the non-MS products proved better at the jobs they were purchased for. Not to turn this into an anti-MS rant (I hope), but my experience has been that MS software of any kind is no better than 2nd best in any given area, and the primary reason they still succeed has been due mostly to marketing.
Post #1101656
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 9:38 AM


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Not 100%. I like having alternatives and so does my boss. Usually the alternatives provide something that MS hasn't got to yet. Backup speed for me, nifty dashboards and graphic reports for my boss.
Post #1101674
Posted Monday, May 2, 2011 11:47 AM
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My limitations are budget related, not vendor specific. While I'd love to have some of the nifty third party utilities and can justify the need based on ROI, it's not going to happen here. Free or open source utilities are fine as long as they are safe.
Post #1101804
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011 2:40 AM
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Unless the DBA owns the company, it is not 'his' data, it is the company data.

All company employees have a duty to do their work in the most effective manner, and for the DBA this includes looking at what toolset provides the best cost/risk/benefit advantage to the company. Part of a manager's duty is to review the costs, risks, and benefits presented by the DBA and decide if the money should be spent.

Some companies may decide to keep 100% within the Microsoft stack, but this may restrict the company from exploiting all the business opportunities available to it.



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Post #1102168
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011 5:26 PM


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I slightly disagree with several statements that Microsoft does work not good enough. It is not fair because the comparison is stupid.
Almost all 3-d party vendors produce niche software while MS does not.
SQL Server is a great DB server from almost every perspective. The difference is that Microsoft cannot produce software or tools for every single purpose we want. For instance, MS does not develop the best solutions which relate to backup compression, extensive monitoring, etc. However, MS produces substantial solutions like SQL or Exchange Server for everyone (users or small software companies).
Do not think that MS should do all possible features in the world. But, taking into account SQL Server, MS works up a market because the commodity is good enough. Not just a simple marketing.

I have been used SQL Server for last 10 years. That is why I prefer to adhere MS solutions or at least solutions by vendors which have high-quality MS support such as Quest Software, etc. I agree to use third party solutions but just if software vendors can resolve every single problem working directly with MS.
Overall, my opinion is grounded on reliability of solution which I want to use. As a result, I am open to use 3-d party solutions if they are reliable enough to utilize in production.
Post #1102782
Posted Tuesday, May 3, 2011 5:48 PM
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I agree, we are a Microsoft Gold partner, but have never really used the support much. Did try a couple of times.

I try and use SQL Server tools to do a job when i can. But there are times when it is much more efficient 7 time saving to just use a third party tool.
Post #1102791
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 2:03 AM
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I think it seperates into 2 areas

- 3rd party products your software may come to rely on (e.g. expansion of functionality, 3rd party dll's, etc.)
- 3rd party products that enhance/speed up your system indirectly (e.g. development, exploration, monitoring, profiling, etc.etc.)

With the first, your product may become dependant if using them. Where I am I tend to avoid this where possible as our environment here is not really set up to support going far off `out the box MS`.

The second, to me is more about working smartly, faster, more efficiently and effectivly - i.e. you could remove these products if anything were ever to happen and carry on (all be it with possibly far more manual overhead). Here I am far more likely to/to be able to use something 3rd party.

M. :)
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