SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, September 7, 2006--What's the Future of the Open-Source Database in the Enterprise?

SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, September 7, 2006--What's the Future of the Open-Source Database in the Enterprise?

In This Issue:
EnterpriseDB, an open-source database, provides a compelling motivation to try moving Oracle database shops toward open source. What will this challenge mean to traditional enterprise database shops that are using Oracle, IBM DB2, and SQL Server?

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September 7, 2006

1. Perspectives

  • What’s the Future of the Open-Source Database in the Enterprise?

2. SQL Server Watch

  • Windows Vista Details Emerge In Wake of RC1
  • Product Watch: Dundas Software and Sams Publishing

3. Hot Articles

  • Q&A: Optimizing Distributed Transactions
  • Feature: Bring Cube Data Into Focus
  • In a Nutshell: SQL Down Under, Vol. 18
  • Hot Threads: Reporting Services and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services

4. Events and Resources

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections Conference
  • Free 30-day Trial of CounterSpy Enterprise
  • Simplify SQL Server Management and Boost Availability

5. Featured White Paper

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  • Uncover Essential Windows Knowledge Through Excavator
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1. Perspectives

What’s the Future of the Open-Source Database in the Enterprise?
by Brian Moran, [email protected]

I rarely write a column that that has more to do with Oracle than SQL Server. In fact, I think this is the first time. However, I recently ran across an intriguing open-source RDBMS called EnterpriseDB Advanced Server that’s based on the PostgreSQL database. The most interesting aspect of this database, at least to me, is that it claims the ability to fully automate the conversion of an Oracle application to EnterpriseDB. Not “We’ll get it really close and then you do the rest of the work,” which is what most database conversion tools do. The EnterpriseDB website actually says “After the data and business logic has been transferred from the Oracle database to the EnterpriseDB database, the database application originally written for the Oracle database may be run on the EnterpriseDB database without any re-coding or translation.”

It seems that the native procedural language in PosgreSQL is called PL/pgSQL and that this language is designed in a way that allows for a full and complete migration from PL/SQL. A press release from EnterpriseDB offers more information about the newest version of their flagship product, which offers the automated migration capability.

A quick review of the pricing model shows that the product is free, and you can acquire various levels of service and support that range from "still free" to $1,000, $3,000, or $5,000 per CPU, depending on the level of support that you want. (Note that EnterpriseDB defines a CPU at the socket level, so a dual-core CPU counts as a single CPU.) Needless to say, that’s significantly less expensive than Oracle, and oh yeah—did I mention that the Replication Server product can allow the migration from EnterpriseDB back to Oracle again, supposedly in an automated, turnkey manner?

Personally, I’ve never thought that open-source databases had much chance of securing a large piece of the enterprise database market. I based my opinions on many reasons that I don’t want to defend or elaborate on right now. Instead, I wanted to think out loud about whether EnterpriseDB could change the way enterprise database customers experiment with open-source databases.

Consider the following scenario:

  • You work for BigGiantCompany and spend substantial sums of money on your Oracle investment every year.
  • You (like me) have a hard time seeing open-source databases ever being up to the challenge of replacing your core database investment.
  • You’re awfully busy and don’t have time to dabble with a long project to see if open source might work for you.
  • But, what if you found an open-source test that you could use for free in days or a week? In addition, the test uses a fully automated conversion tool that allows your existing applications to run with no change? And what if you could download that new database for free?
  • But, what if you found an open-source test that you could use for free in days or a week? In addition, the test uses a fully automated conversion tool that allows your existing applications to run with no change? And what if you could download that new database for free?
  • Let’s assume that you (a stubborn DBA, set in your ways like many of us are) still don’t want to test it? What happens when your boss, or your boss’s boss, says, “Hey, this should only take a few days to test and we’re going to do it before writing another seven-figure check to Oracle?”

Hmmm. Could that scenario open the floodgates to open-source experimentation and dabbling among Oracle-based shops that would otherwise have no interest or time to experiment and dabble with open source? I suspect it would. I also suspect that SQL Server, IBM, and other proprietary database shops would be more inclined to experiment and dabble with open source if they started reading lots of news stories about Oracle shops reaping huge savings. I bet the CFOs of those organizations would be interested, even if the DBAs weren’t. EnterpriseDB should be an interesting product to watch as it matures in the enterprise database market.

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2. SQL Server Watch

Windows Vista Details Emerge In Wake of RC1
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

On Tuesday, Microsoft finally announced its plans for shipping Windows Vista Release Candidate 1 (RC1) to more than five million people around the world. And in various RC1-related briefings, the company also talked about some of its plans for the final version of Vista for the first time.

Although Microsoft hasn't publicly committed to a date, it still plans to complete the final version of Vista on or before October 25, 2006. The term final, in this case, however, is a misnomer. Microsoft will certainly find problems with the so-called release to manufacturing (RTM) code between late October and the expected January public release, and will most certainly ship various hotfixes and other updates for the system via Windows Update during that time.

In a briefing last week, Microsoft Product Manager Chris Flores also hinted that the software company has a surprise of some sort in store for Vista customers. "We're not going to just sit around between RTM and the public release," he told me, refusing to elaborate. "We'll have a few surprises by January." (It's also worth noting that Microsoft will issue a major kernel update to Vista in Service Pack 1 (SP1) by the end of 2007 to bring the system's internals up-to-date with the Longhorn Server kernel. It's unknown whether Vista SP1 will also include major new user features.) Microsoft plans to schedule separate launch events for the business and consumer launches of Vista, although details of those events are in flux.

Microsoft also used the RC1 announcement to admit that recently published reports about the pricing of various Vista product versions are correct. Depending on the version, Vista will set customers back $89.95 to $399.00, a range that's identical to that of corresponding Windows XP versions. Prices for PC bundles, of course, will be significantly less. Various Microsoft representatives have confided that they now expect Vista Home Premium to be the volume version of the product. This version is roughly analogous to XP Media Center Edition and offers numerous digital-media advances. Please refer to "Windows Vista Pricing Revealed" on the SuperSite for Windows for more information about Vista pricing.

Regarding the timing of the release, Microsoft is confident that it can continue to meet its current schedule, although the company is careful not to appear overly optimistic. Various Microsoft representatives have noted in recent days that the initial reaction to RC1 has been largely positive but that the company will delay Vista further if feedback justifies it. It's hard to keep track of the number of times Vista has been delayed because the company originally planned to ship Vista in 2003.

If you're still waiting to gain access to RC1, the wait is almost over. Microsoft tells me that it shipped RC1 to testers and various close partners on Friday and that it will ship the build to MSDN, TechNet, and the Customer Preview Program (CPP) in the coming days. The company is also going to open the CPP to more customers, so users who didn't join for Beta 2 will be able to test the new version now. Microsoft expects more than five million people to evaluate Vista RC1, if magazine bundles are considered.

Following RC1, testers can expect a few more interim builds, but RC1 will likely be the final major milestone that's shipped to numerous customers. Microsoft still plans to ship Vista to its volume-license business customers by the end of the year—a slight rewording from its original November 2006 pledge—and to consumers by the end of January 2007. Amazon.com reports on its Web site that Vista will ship January 30, 2007, but Microsoft won't confirm that date. However, the company does admit that it will offer a coupon to customers who purchase XP-based PCs this holiday season so that they can upgrade to Vista at a discount price once it's released. Details of this plan remain sketchy.

As always, stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for the latest Vista RC1 information.

Product Watch
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

View and Analyze Geographic Data
Dundas Software announced Dundas Map for .NET (beta), a data visualization solution to help you view and analyze geographic data. Your data can be displayed using maps from within the United States or from around the world. Dundas Map for .NET is fully managed and includes full support for Visual Studio 2005 and 2003 and is available in ASP.NET and Windows Forms versions. For more information or to sign up for the beta program, visit Dundas Software on the Web or contact them at 800-463-1492.

SQL Server 2005 Integration Services Resource
Sams Publishing released "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Integration Services" by Kirk Haselden, development manager for the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) team. The book aims to provide you with real world solutions to real world problems. If you’re new to SSIS, the beginning chapters include "Setting up Integration Services" and "Basics and Concepts." For more complex concepts, you can drill down to chapters such as "Control Flow Services" and "Management Services." The 744-page book costs $59.99. For more information, contact Sams Publishing.

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3. Hot Articles

Q&A: Optimizing Distributed Transactions
by Microsoft’s SQL Server Development Team, [email protected]

Feature: Bring Cube Data Into Focus
Reporting Services gives you an inexpensive way to deliver Analysis Services data to business users. The powerful features in Reporting Services can let you customize your report delivery to give users drilldown capability and let them flexibly change data views to get the information they need in the format they can use best. In Craig Utley’s September 2006 article “Bring Cube Data Into Focus,” you’ll learn how to take the abilities of Reporting Services 2000 a step further by modifying a report so that it displays the measures on rows instead of columns, giving users a way to change their view of the data. Read this article today and post your comments here.

Pointing LAN and mobile users to different instances of an application database on different servers helped one organization improve performance for LAN users without major application or database changes. In his August article “Solving Merge Replication Performance Problems,” Gary Zaika tells you how. Read this article today and post your comments.

In a Nutshell: SQL Down Under, Vol. 18
SQLDownUnder is a podcast for the SQL Server professional community put on by Dr Greg Low. Show 18 is with Microsoft SQL Server Engine Team Program Manager Don Vilen. In this week’s blog, Kevin Kline gives you a teaser about this podcast, which covers one of his favorite topics. Read the blog and talk back to Kevin today.

Hot Threads:

  • Reporting Services: Moving Reports to Another Server
  • SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services: Cube Design Question

4. Events and Resources

SQL Server Magazine Connections Conference

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Attend the 2006 Cross Platform Data roadshows to learn about optimizing 64-bit database computing, business intelligence for SQL Server and Oracle, high-availability proof points for database computing, and implications of architectural differences between Oracle and SQL Server. Coming to 12 US cities in September and October.

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See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.

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