100% Microsoft?

  • Brad McGehee

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5272

    Comments posted to this topic are about the item 100% Microsoft?

    Brad M. McGehee
    DBA

  • SqlNightOwl

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2214

    I have a hybrid approach. First, I look for an MS only solution. There's a tremendous number resources available thru SQL Server Central, other web sites and blogs that can answer many questions. We're fortunate to have such a rich ecosystem of experts, MVP's and other professionals that enjoy demonstrating their knowledge and helping fellow users.

    After exhausting an MS only approach, I look into the tool vendors. Many of the tools available appear to consolidate build in features and make the existing features more accessible. I consider the reputation of the company and how their offering solves my need. I reach out to peers in the SQL community for their opinion on a specific product. I get unfiltered opinions about which products work and why.

    I don't think I could do my job as easily without SQL Compare, SQL Data Compare, SQL Prompt and the refactor product. (shameless plug for Red-Gate). There are other tools I've used but won't mention because this shouldn't break into a diatribe of Product X is much better than Product Z.

    I'm fortunate that if I can justify the tool then my boss is ready to make life easier for me. Having a supportive management structure is very welcome.

    --Paul Hunter

  • tgolonka

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 29

    Brad,

    The boss's objection was not to the possibility of data corruption, it was based on the expectation that introduction of a 3rd party into the relationship would give Microsoft all the excuse they need to relieve them of responsibility for support. Substitute IBM or Oracle for Microsoft and the song is the same.

    Tom G

  • Alex Fekken

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1109

    Perhaps the first counter-question to aks would be: have you ever really needed Microsoft support for a tough problem? Did they actually contribute to a solution or did they simply take you by the hand and walk you through the obvious checks and possible fixes that you had already tried yourself? Did you sue them because the problem wasn't fixed and how did that go?

    But regardless of that: what if Microsoft started selling, say, hard disks (like they sell mice and keyboards), would they be used to the exclusion of all others? What applies to software should apply to hardware as well, right? Because isn't hardware just as likely to contribute to data corruption, finger pointing and other issues as software, if not more so? So following the same line of argument one should us these Microsoft disks, regardless of how such disks might perform compared to others. And regardless of their price, capacity, life expectancy, suitability to be used in arrays etc. This example may not convince them (e.g. because Microsoft isn't selling hard disks yet), but it certainly shows the stupidity of the argument that 100% Microsoft is always better.

    Alex

  • Frank Hamersley

    SSC-Addicted

    Points: 450

    I agree the existence of this management behaviour! However (IMO) the very holding of this belief is feeble in the extreme ... and is a clear marker for a manager who knows they couldn't organise a beer in a brewery.

    Microsoft and most other major vendors don't care whether you have a mixed environment or not ... mostly <cynic> they just don't want to fix your "problems" unless obligated too (under a contractual obligation) or in their opinion (not yours) there might be brand damage if it is left un-addressed </cynic>. This is particularly the case now the security thing is sucking up most the discretionary oxygen vendors have to address customer use case problems.

    I once worked in a shop who had a platinum support contract, were poster pin-up spruikers for the vendor and was suffering a nasty operational risk/loss in a flagship product offering ... that was comprehensively analysed and documented and presented to the vendor for a patch ... and still they skirted around accepting any responsibility. Net outcome was apologies to impacted customers and various band-aid patches to code to keep it within manageable levels. Very unbecoming in a professional sense!

  • IceDread

    SSCertifiable

    Points: 5000

    Nope, I'm not 100% microsoft.

    Microsoft does not do 100% perfect solutions, their products comes with bugs. As can third party products do. Redgates prodcuts as a complement to ms products can for instance prove to be very handy and effective.

  • Jeffrey Irish

    Hall of Fame

    Points: 3688

    Brad,

    I will echo what others have said here, the conservative approach is going to trump many time saving solutions.

    Having said that, I enjoy those solutions that add something to a product that I use. As an example, long before SQL 2008 came out and included "intellisense", RedGate had SQL Prompt. SQL Prompt made my life way easier and I became more productive. Not to mention all of the fantastic hints and code guides. SQL Prompt it still by far favored by me over the Microsoft solution.

    We use other products as well, but just because they are not Microsoft provided solutions does not make them bad. Think about ways to consolidate usage reporting and such. There are scripts and reports and all of that sort of stuff that can be implemented, but why not buy something that offers the same capabilities? As long as it does not prove to drag performance down there is no harm.

    Regards, Irish 

  • TerryS

    SSCommitted

    Points: 1617

    I couldn't live without Idera's SQLsafe and Red Gate's SQL Compare and Data Compare. Does that answer the question? 🙂

  • jay-h

    SSCoach

    Points: 18802

    Back in the stone age (1980) there was a saying "no one ever lost their job for buying IBM". Basically it was a case of CYA even if it wasn't the best choice.

    That is part of the problem here I believe. There is so much concern (not unjustified) that somone will pass the buck that people play it safe even at a cost in performance.

    I admit that I've done some of the same. I overpaid for my home router from Verizon rather than putting in something else, so that when I have connection issues they can't fingerpoint somewhere else.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • JChrisCompton

    Default port

    Points: 1473

    I wanted a data compare tool and a schema compare tool.

    We never purchased because of 'business reasons'.

    I'm very happy that VS 2010 has both of these, it has already made my life easier twice in the last few months since I've had it.

    So, we are 100% MSFT, but we haven't had a choice.

    There are some products out there, especially ones I have used before (like toad) that I'd love to give a try and buy.

    If you wait long enough, MSFT will put what you need in their products - but I'm NOT saying we should have to wait 😀

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 715064

    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.

  • brad.ashforth

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 268

    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.

  • Ron Porter

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1008

    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.

  • jmoldover

    Valued Member

    Points: 71

    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.

  • Alan Vogan

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2483

    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.

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