I just finished reading an article in Info World. The article is called
Don’t get hooked on expensive vendors. It’s funny but when first started to look at the new features that SQL Server 2008 has I thought for sure that there were going to be some pretty upset vendors. See there are companies where they have spent years and millions of dollars developing added software to work with your SQL Server so that you can do things with your database that SQL Server would not do nativity. Let me give you an example (and I think this is the big one)…
Prior to SQL Server 2008, backup data compression could only be achieved using a 3rd party product. There were a number of companies that offered a backup compression tool. One of these was Red Gate; you also had Lite Speed and some others as well. The product that I have used the most since the release of SQL Server 2008 for Backup compression has been HyperBac. So I will use this as my core example.
I have had some chances to talk to people from Microsoft and in some of these conversations I have asked them why are they going after this market and why now. If we step back and look at this, Backup Compression has been something we have needed for years, It was not an SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2k5 but I am sure they could have added it if they wanted to. The answer that I received from Microsoft employees was really one that I thought was a good one. It is my understanding that they just want to add the core technology to the product that the majority of the users will use. So in this case, Microsoft must have figured that it is time to add backup compression. This means that the research that Microsoft has done has shown that most of the customers that use SQL Server need backup compression. The person I was talking to went on to say, that Microsoft in no way was trying to take away from anyone’s product. They wanted to add what the majority of what the users needed, but they did not want to completely go after a product. So I go back to my Example:
Hyperbac offers features above and beyond just compressing your backups. One of these features is the ability to link to one of your backup’s by using linked servers and you can actually query a backup. That gives you the ability to restore or replace records that may have been updated without running an actual restore. There are a number of other features that are there, but this is just the first one that comes to mind. This entry is not so much a product review but an example.
One thing that was mentioned in the is software companies now are using a drug dealer type approach of selling the product, you know the first one is free but the next one will put you in the poor house? I am not sure if I can see it the same way that they do. I do see where they are coming from, but from working with vendors I have really found that the upkeep prices are not that bad, as long as you stay active with you maintenance. I was working for a company at one time that did not want to pay the maintenance and we were not allowed to upgrade or get support for a backup compression tool for a couple years. When it came to the fact that we needed it the vendor required us to get caught up in Maintenance. Well before owning my own company I am not sure that I liked that idea. I can tell you know that these vendors are working hard to compete, they are adding features and they are pushing to fix any bugs that may be there. Many of the vendors that I work with have great support. It’s funny I call my cell phone provider to add a feature or ask about my bill and I am stuck in endless hold with someone on the other end who I know is just going to make it worse. I have not had that problem with my 3rd Party Vendors.
I guess in short what I am trying to say is take it a little easier on the vendors. There are some great tools out there and if you look you can really help yourself make your job a lot easier. If you are interested in my product review on HyperBac that can be found here.