Editorials

Vendor Lock-In, Database Lock-In and Lots of Database Platforms

I was reading a great post about the different things going on with database platforms, talking about the notion that companies will typically have multiple database platforms.  There have been posts on SSWUG about that in the past (and I’m sure in the future as well), specifically that there are so many platform options and the pros and cons of some fundamental database approach decisions.

The other thing that was in this post that both surprised me, and seems to make a lot of sense, is that companies don’t tend to change database platforms once they are deployed.  I suspect the same is NOT true of the hosting environment; you can fairly easily move a web site or change many other aspects of a cloud or on-premise solution but the database seems to be a relative anchor in the environment.  I agree with the post; it’s just too risky to take a chance on moving.

Here’s a link to the post.

I think this is more and more leading to vendor lock-in as well.  And YOU may be the vendor in some cases for on-premises solutions.

If you consider how strong your own tools are, or those of the platform provider of choice, it’s easy to see that the choices you, your company or your clients are making, is beyond critical.  Automation tools are nearly completely custom at the providers, customization of how you roll-out tools, how you scale, how you respond to any types of attacks.  All of those things become woven into the fabric of how your company runs.

DBAs, in particular, have an important role to play in the architecture choices that are being made by those we support.  This isn’t a “DBAs are better than everyone else” thing, it’s just a fact that databases are one of the anchors in a provider solution selection.   For this reason alone, it’s very important to help teams in their selection of a database technology, to make sure it can be supported and to try to keep tabs on what exactly is going on with those you support.

The role is shifting – where it used to be a performance and table/database architecture (and of course administration) resource that we collectively provided, now it’s changing to something that is key to how the company will lock in at a given provider choice and specific technology choices.

No single database platforms at companies, vendor platform lock-in, databases as a choice that “sticks” in terms of who is relied on to provide it, and the fact that many times teams may not recognize the impact of their tool choice – these all add up to an incredible opportunity to provide extremely important guidance and thought process to the people we support.

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