Learn About Open-Source Databases

Date: Oct 27, 2022

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Abstract: Technologists have to balance productivity with cost and complexity every day, and with the growing popularity of open source databases, technologists in charge of database platforms are facing greater challenges.

In the latest SolarWinds Survey, nearly one-third of tech experts surveyed said they were responsible for more than 300 databases in their organization. The majority of respondents said that more than half of their organizations' databases are business-critical.

The open source model is one of the current mainstream trends in the Chinese database market. According to the "2021 China Database Industry Research Report" released by iResearch, the open source model not only enables R&D personnel to avoid repetitive development of basic programs by openly sharing source code, thereby improving the "efficiency" of database product development, but also promotes product technology innovation. Very helpful. The open source community can gather global resources to the greatest extent, and provide a space for communication and discussion for developers, thereby accelerating the birth of innovative ideas.

According to the "Open Source Ecological White Paper" by CAICT (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology), China's open source projects will show explosive growth in 2021. Chinese enterprises are actively investing, and many high-quality open source projects have emerged in the fields of operating systems, databases, and middleware. project. With the increasing recognition and acceptance of open source technologies, 88.2% of enterprises in China have adopted various forms of open source technologies in 2020.

While commercial platforms still dominate, especially for enterprise-critical applications, open source databases are on the rise. To avoid risking internal systems, few enterprise IT teams were previously willing to use open source data platforms or start-up database management systems. Times have changed, and we are now entering a new era of data platform mashups, but there are some important principles to keep in mind, such as making sure to investigate all options before deciding whether to adopt an open source platform.

No one can resist the temptation of free, and you are no exception

Open source databases have many advantages, the most prominent of which is undoubtedly free—no one can resist the temptation to be free or cheap. Since there is no license fee that comes with commercial software (which is often expensive), IT budgets are not limited by contract money. And cost-saving IT departments have tremendous flexibility to experiment and move quickly based on market demands.

Since the open source community does not grant licenses based on what they pay, small businesses can also gain access to innovative features like multinational corporations. And start-ups and other smaller companies have an advantage over larger companies—there are fewer layers of management involved in reinterpreting and prioritizing the factors on which rapid decisions are based, so these companies are often able to make decisions faster decision making.

Whether or not an open source database should be adopted depends on the price/performance ratio. A business might choose a business tool that is efficient and ready to support to save them thousands of dollars a year. If the tool works, even a six-figure license fee may not be sky-high, and when the tool doesn't work, there is a direct recovery under contract.

Plus, you're not alone in adopting an open source database. According to the SolarWinds Survey, 43% of technologists say they are currently using MySQL or MariaDB. Additionally, 18% said they plan to adopt MySQL, MariaDB or other open source database platforms within the next three years.

At the same time, enterprises are looking for open source databases or at least weighing the pros and cons of open source databases for basic database applications. They have ready-made expertise in database management, and many businesses ultimately decide to wait until better tools become available before adopting open source database platforms in key locations.

Investigate your options

Before using an open source database, database specialists should research why and when such a platform would be most beneficial to their organization. When initially researching whether to use an open source database, we tend to focus only on the performance and workload capabilities of the platform, but that's not enough.

It's really hard to find time to study these issues. The SolarWinds Survey Report found that database professionals are responsible for a variety of platforms for more than 300 databases. Just keeping so many databases up and running, solving problems, and "fighting fires" already requires them to work overtime.

In fact, the report also found that maintenance accounts for the majority of database professionals' days: one-third of surveyed tech professionals said they spend most of their day on maintenance. This undoubtedly leaves them even less time to research open source database platforms or perform any analysis that might improve productivity and save costs.

form monitoring thinking
Technologists can save maintenance time with the right automation and monitoring tools. Database monitoring tools can anticipate problems before they become serious and can also respond to various alerts in real time; automated systems free them up to focus on proactive database performance management. Monitoring tools run in the background, leveraging the ability to manage large numbers of databases simultaneously, while database professionals can improve their skills, innovate, and research their open source options.

Based on my decades of experience, companies with a monitoring mindset are far more successful than those without a monitoring mindset. Best-in-class businesses, when they get a new database platform, will also be sure to put in place monitoring measures to make sure it doesn't fail without them noticing before considering it for production use. These businesses prevent platforms from "doing wildly" and taking up all the processing cycles on a given server, which greatly helps technologists continue to add more functionality.

Open source databases have become a trend. But before deploying a database, be sure to investigate your options in detail (remember: wrong choices can have serious consequences), and then be sure to deploy automation and monitoring systems when deploying a new database platform. Throughout the process, deployment rules should be developed based on clear business goals, while keeping politics out of the equation.

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