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Would You Choose SQL Server?


Would You Choose SQL Server?

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Jim P.
Jim P.
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I work for a SW company. We host the customer's data and they access it via RDP as well the customer doing self-hosting.

So when you're designing you app and making a DB selection, you have to look at what customer base you are aiming at. We have customers that are formal, large corporations in the Fortune 1000 crowd down to a small single standalone facility. The one is so small that the on-staff IT contact is the facility maintenance guy.

We were selling one app --call it App O -- that we absorbed the MS SQL licensing in the setup and monthly maint fees. The costs were such that we would have had to get over 800 users to continue development. We never got above 173 customers using it.

We also have one app that uses Interbase. It's a good solid app (App Ac). You don't even really need a server to run it, but it helps. But App Ac never had the same capabilities as App O, and the development was stifled because we were trying to sell App O.

I won't mention the other because it is a character based system from the 80's that is off a debased FoxBase corruption.

But if you are developing for an expected market of Fortune 500 instead of developing for mom & pop shops makes a difference.



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Jim P.

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TomThomson
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Jim P. (8/10/2013)
But if you are developing for an expected market of Fortune 500 instead of developing for mom & pop shops makes a difference.

I'm not so sure it does in every case: we delivered to very big companies, but they were wanting to install the system on many sites, and tens or hundreds of processor licenses for SQL Server standard edition is big enough even for a big company to look hard at the cost.

Tom

David.Poole
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I'd like to add something with regard to open source software.

1. community editions may be free and will get you started but once you get beyond a certain point you will want the commercial editions which are definitely NOT free.
2. If you need support then this is NOT free. In fact "professional services" can be very expensive.
3. If your open source choice is not something you would or could contribute something to then what is the benefit. I couldn't contribute to MySQL or PostGres code. I might add something to Hibernate or Solr at a push.
4. Open source projects seem to attract the masses. It used to be that only the big players could afford an MPP appliance and only they had "big data". Now that many people say they have "big data" projects such as Hadoop start to come to the fore.
5. Open source projects with some overriding governance seem to be the ones that survive. The rest fragments and die.
6. Very few people can afford to work for free. Businesses chasing free software from companies without a viable business plan are going to be left holding an ugly baby.

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P Jones
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As usual the answer is "It depends .... "
What other software and how much of it is the business using - if you're a Microsoft shop as we are, you could find an enterprise agreement covering all your software licencing including Windows, Office and SQL Server is better value.
chrisn-585491
chrisn-585491
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It depends.

We have small clients that can't afford SQL Server, DBA's and the infrastructure, etc... But their data can not be hosted on the cloud due to legal reasons. So do we absorb the cost and host their data and manage it? Yes, in some cases that works. But we could also put their data in OSS solutions and save them and us an large chunk of change.

I think the deciding factor is that today Microsoft really only cares about the enterprise clients feature wise and security wise. This opens the same door for solutions that Microsoft came through in the '90s when they started with SQL Server and cared about smaller organizations.
chrisn-585491
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1. community editions may be free and will get you started but once you get beyond a certain point you will want the commercial editions which are definitely NOT free.


This is not true of most OSS software. However if you get over your head you can hire professionals to help. (Just like the commercial software world!)

2. If you need support then this is NOT free. In fact "professional services" can be very expensive.


This is true of all software commercial or OSS. Or medical or legal services.


3. If your open source choice is not something you would or could contribute something to then what is the benefit. I couldn't contribute to MySQL or PostGres code. I might add something to Hibernate or Solr at a push.


You don't have to contribute code, you just use the software. Buck Woody uses many OSS packages as well as MS software, I doubt that he contributes code to all of them.

I use Linux, Python, pandas, postgresql, SQLite as well as Windows, VS. PS, C# and SQL Server. I haven't had to contribute any $$$ or code to OSS, but I have helped clear up documentation and offered feedback on features. And unlike Microsoft, many of the authors have responded to me and made positive changes.


4. Open source projects seem to attract the masses. It used to be that only the big players could afford an MPP appliance and only they had "big data". Now that many people say they have "big data" projects such as Hadoop start to come to the fore.


Oh! Those dirty "masses".

The masses don't give a !&@! about open or commercial software. Or "big data". But if I need to spin up a bunch of servers twice a year to crunch some demographics data, do you think I'm going to use Windows or OSS software on the cloud?


5. Open source projects with some overriding governance seem to be the ones that survive. The rest fragments and die.


This is true of commercial software too. I have lists of commercial software that I loved that is dead due to mergers, changes in leadership, corporate whims, etc...
At least with OSS, I can take the source and fork it, keeping the product alive.

6. Very few people can afford to work for free. Businesses chasing free software from companies without a viable business plan are going to be left holding an ugly baby.


Most OSS is written by developers for and by corporations. Even Microsoft does OSS development. I can get a job right now writing OSS and make the same or better money.

Please try better arguments next time...
Ray Herring
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A number of folks mentioned that additional tool requirements (e.g., SSIS, SSRS) would be a major factor in their decision.
I understand the rationale and I have applied it myself. However, the new licensing makes these "Free" tools pretty expensive. In both cases the server hosting the tool requires SQL licensing and many folks highly recommend hosting these tools on dedicated servers. Also these tools can be more processor intensive since they are often used to do a lot more data manipulation.

Additionally, if you adopt a strict reading of the CAL then you will probably be driven to Enterprise Edition for at least the SSRS and SQL servers.


So if you find yourself having to license an 8 core SSIS Server, an 8 core SSRS server and a couple of 8 core SQL servers you are looking at a pretty substantial investment.
chrisn-585491
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So if you find yourself having to license an 8 core SSIS Server, an 8 core SSRS server and a couple of 8 core SQL servers you are looking at a pretty substantial investment.


Also if you need encryption or auditing you will need Enterprise. So it's a big $$$$$$ commitment if you want the whole stack. And you are stuck and subject to the whims of your vendor...
Steve Jones
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chrisn-585491 (8/12/2013)
1. community editions may be free and will get you started but once you get beyond a certain point you will want the commercial editions which are definitely NOT free.


This is not true of most OSS software. However if you get over your head you can hire professionals to help. (Just like the commercial software world!)

2. If you need support then this is NOT free. In fact "professional services" can be very expensive.


This is true of all software commercial or OSS. Or medical or legal services.

...



chrisn-585491, very true, and good arguments.

David, I think you have some good reasons to be concerned, but a lot of them aren't necessarily different with commercial software. SQL Server has tended to not require as much in terms of professional services, but I'd bet that PostgreSQL doesn't either, if you are using it as a database as most people do. If you push the limits of the platform, sure, but in either case (MSSQL or PostgreSQL), you'll be paying for help.

Note that I didn't discount staffing costs. Moving to PostgreSQL (or any other platform), doesn't mean things are cheap and free. But it means that your cost for a developer year of time on an 8 core machine is $103,000. $100,000 for the developer (round numbers) and $3k for hardware. With licensing, that could be $120k for standard or $160k.

The difference goes down with more developers, but it's not always insignificant. The tradeoff is if your developers don't spend more time with an OSS platform than they do with MSSQL. On a single app/instance, it might not be simple. If you have 10-20 instances for various apps, the difference could be dramatic, if you have good developers/administrators.

There's no clear answer. However I'd consider other platforms, especially as tools mature that make it easy to write for multiple platform from more languages and IDEs.

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You have to be very carefull to read the EULAs of the OSS options as many will be free and are great for limited experience systems due to limitations although a lot have come a very long way. But just becuase there is a free version doesn't mean you're entitled to it. Recall a number of years ago MySQL went after a lot of companies using their software in a commerical capacity which the free version specifically outlines as against the use of the product and that you must in fact purchase a license.

The other issue is at some point OSS will hit a threshold for support and performance simply because a company cannot direct their needs against the project and thus getting a developer who has a high enough degree of experience and can make the software work and scale as needed does in fact add significantly to your budget. As well, keeping an experienced developer on staff can become problamatic and add to the cost even more so, especially once they have personally tweaked the code. To many people look at near term cost on projects to decide a path as opposed to TOC (total cost of ownership) which has in a large (not all) number of cases came back to bite folks in the end.



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