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The Danger of Custom Software

By Steve Jones,

There's been a great little movie short making the rounds of the Internet from Pixar. It's called "The Movie Vanishes" and it's worth a few minutes of your time. Toy Story 2 was almost lost because of a mistake and some bad luck at Pixar.  This was at a time when the company was successful, and certainly should have been able to better prepare for a disaster. If you want a touch more background, there's a few other notes at Quora.

A lot of the software that Pixar uses was written in house. That's a double edged sword because there isn't anyone that can stand behind the software, other than the people that wrote it. There might not be adequate testing and there are certainly bugs in the software that may lie dormant for years. I have no idea of any of the bugs inside Pixar's software caused this disaster, and I'm not implying it did.

The positive side of building your own software is that you know how it works. You have the source code, and if you have a developer that can understand it, you can fix problems, patch issues, and customize it to suit your needs. As long as you have the time and resources to do so.

I saw someone write recently that building their own monitoring solution for a set of SQL Servers was easy, but that was the smallest part of the job. Maintaining and enhancing it over time were much larger jobs than setting up monitoring. This person said they'd rather buy a package in the future than build their own again.

If you have a system set up, it probably makes sense to use it, but as you look to develop new software, whether for monitoring servers or handling sales, it might be worth spending a bit of time trying to determine if there is something out there you can buy, which might be well tested, vouched for by other customers, and be easier to integrate than your own system.

Steve Jones

If you don't have monitoring set up, you should. SQL Monitor from Red Gate software is an easy way to get notified when something in your environment needs to be looked at further.

If you want to get monitoring setup without minimal effort and immediately, think about downloading a trial of SQL Monitor and testing it with your servers.

If you'd like to see SQL Monitor working on the live SQLServerCentral database server, go over to monitor.red-gate.com.


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