Rick Pleczko, CEO of Idera, took time out of his busy schedule to spend a few minutes answering some questions from me about his company, SQL Server 2005 and more. If you're in a large SQL Server environment, then you might want to take a look at some of the Idera tools and products.
Q: Idera has entered the SQL Server tools market and grown quickly. How have you been able to establish yourselves among DBAs this quickly?
A. We have actually been around a little longer than most people realize. The core team and products at Idera were formed from the SQL tools team at NetIQ Corporation. This meant that we started Idera with a large number of customers on day one. Our growth since then has really been due to our products and their ability to solve the real-world problems faced by SQL Server DBAs in the enterprise.
Q. You have made some acquisitions. Are you looking to do more?
A. Absolutely, we’re always looking for new ideas and products. If it makes more commercial sense to acquire a product rather than build it then we’ll do that. The key deciding factors are whether it fits into our strategy, how well engineered it is and if it gives us a time to market advantage over building it ourselves.
Q. What's different about Idera from the other SQL Server tool vendors?
A. I think the major difference is that we focus on the challenges that SQL Server DBAs face when they have to manage and administer tens, hundreds or thousands of SQL Servers in the enterprise. We engineer our products to scale and solve the really difficult management and administration problems – like managing backup and recovery or performance across 500+ servers. Other key differences would include the breadth of our product portfolio, the ease of deployment and use of our products, and our use of core ‘DBA compliant’ Microsoft technologies.
Q. Is Idera looking to focus solely on SQL Server or will you be looking to develop products for other RDBMS platforms?
A. We intend to continue our laser like focus on SQL Server. It allows us to focus all our R&D efforts on building very deep products that meet the needs of SQL Server DBAs. It’s really hard to build multi-platform management and administration products in the database world. No one has been truly successful at doing it, they always have a core platform that they support best and the other platforms receive less attention. Plus the architectures of the database platforms are completely different as are the needs of their DBAs, so it’s pretty much impossible to build ‘one size fits all’ solutions.
Q SQL Server 2005 has been pushed back time and time again. How is that affecting your plans for new products?
A. We’ve been working closely with Microsoft on 2005 for a long time. We’ve already built support for 2005 into most of our products. The extra time just enables us to have even more features ready at launch time, so for us the delay actually has some benefits.
Q. One of your products, DTx, simplifies and eases the data migration task, a task that DBAs get for free in DTS. What advantages does DTx have over the basic Microsoft offering?
A. I don’t think it’s really a case of advantage or disadvantage per se. The two products approach the problem in different ways. DTS provides a powerful flexible environment for developing ETL solutions. DTx is a simple to use tool that provides a point a click solution for data transformation. It’s intended for DBAs who want to do quick data transformations without any scripting. We often refer to DTx as ‘DTS for dummies’, much to the chagrin of our engineers.
Q DTx being changed with SQL Server Integration Services in mind?
A. Not really, we’d rather keep DTx as the simple ‘point and click’ transformation solution for the busy DBA versus providing an alternative environment to Integration Services.
Q What challenges do you see DBAs facing in the future?
A. I think the three biggest challenges are growth, complexity and scrutiny. The number and size of databases and their transaction throughput continues to increase dramatically making them harder to manage. The database environment is becoming more and more complex to manage with the advent of technologies like .net and the CLR in the SQL Server world. Increased scrutiny as SQL Server becomes THE mission-critical platform for business applications, and has to meet the requirements for increased corporate governance driven by Sarbanes-Oxley et al, further stretches the DBA. The toughest challenge is managing this increase in responsibility and activity while budgets won’t enable additional headcount.
Q How do you think SQL Server 2005 will change the landscape of the RDBMS market?
A. I think it’s a major inflection point, like Windows 95 on the desktop or NT on the Server. It’s going to be really hard for Oracle and the others to beat the price performance model, scalability, development platform and the rich feature set of the SQL Server 2005 environment.
That's it for now, but if you have any other questions or there are some things you'd like to know about Idera or any other company or product, let me know in the forum for this interview (the "Your Opinion" link below) and I'll see if I can find out.