Debunking Open-Source Database Myths

1 - Debunking Open-Source Database Myths
2 - Myth: There Is a Lack of Tools, Resources for DBAs
3 - Myth: No Third-Party Tools or App Support
4 - Myth: Not Created for DBAs
5 - Myth: They Aren’t Really Low Cost
6 - They can’t scale to enterprise needs
7 - They are difficult to use
8 - They are not as secure as proprietary solutions
9 - Migration is next to impossible
10 - They lack the capabilities of commercial solutions
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Debunking Open-Source Database Myths

Open-source database technology has a strong foothold in the data center. eWEEK helps debunk some of the most common open-source database myths.

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Myth: There Is a Lack of Tools, Resources for DBAs

This is no longer the case. Recent analysis from Gartner has found that the availability of tools and resources for open-source database management systems is on par with those for traditional relational DBMSes. The Gartner report notes: "Open-source RDBMS products have matured in the availability of DBA [database administrator] skills, availability of DBA tools and near-equality of RDBMS functionality."

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Myth: No Third-Party Tools or App Support

As the popularity of open-source database technology grows, so has the number of third parties integrating their software with these solutions. The Gartner report said: "Third-party and in-house applications can increasingly be used on open-source RDBMS, which can now therefore be used to replace existing internal commercial RDBMS choices."

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Myth: Not Created for DBAs

The use of new technologies, combined with increasing management demands, is changing the role of the DBA. Today, database administrators are responsible for more databases, with 72 percent of respondents saying the number is rising. Open-source databases let DBAs build the kinds of tools they need for the job. Postgres, for example, has pgAdmin, a database design and management system. Created by one of the core Postgres developers, pgAdmin is available for anyone to use. It’s one of many tools created by the community and vendors to support open-source users.

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Myth: They Aren’t Really Low Cost

Even a commercially supported version of an open-source database costs a fraction of traditional proprietary solutions because of their open-source-based pricing model. Pricing starts at a much lower point. And many have subscription-based models.

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They can’t scale to enterprise needs

Many of today’s open-source database solutions include the performance, security, and special tools—including resource managers, partitioning, linear read performance scaling and locking—enterprises need to support their increasingly robust and mission critical applications.

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They are difficult to use

Open-source database technologies have matured to include a feature set and resource base nearly as rich as those for proprietary solutions. Enhancements for commercially based solutions also include advanced functionalities that make open-source solutions as secure and easy to manage with equal performance. Open source solutions also benefit from a rich development community that supports innovation, exploration and knowledge-sharing. And in the case of Postgres, the SQL-standards base make it intuitive for DBAs coming from other backgrounds.

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They are not as secure as proprietary solutions

There is nothing about open source software that makes it less secure. And in fact, the better-managed open source projects often have fewer vulnerabilities than commercial products because of strict review and testing. Transparency also helps by giving many people access to the code base and therefore having many more eyeballs looking for potential problems. What’s more, an ecosystem of additional layers of security has proliferated around open source projects. As a result, organizations have a range of options for increasing security.

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Migration is next to impossible

To be sure, migrating databases is no small effort. However, migrating from a commercial solution to an open source database is not impossible and there a number of guides in the community that help. And it does not mean DBAs cannot continue to use their skills and tools. Postgres, for example, is SQL standards based and is therefore familiar for many users.

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They lack the capabilities of commercial solutions

According to Gartner’s "The State of Open-Source RDBSMs, 2015" report, open-source DBMS functionality is nearly on par with commercial solutions. More specifically, Postgres was born from the same research as Oracle and DB2 and contains comparable enterprise class features such as full ACID compliance for outstanding transaction reliability and Multi-Version Concurrency Control for supporting high concurrent loads.

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