Open Source Database - The right choice?
Companies cite many reasons to choose an open source database - usually centered around the lack of license fees or flexible support pricing that scales up or down with your utilization. These are very valid reasons that help reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) and increase your return on investment (ROI). But, is that enough?
We contend that there is a much stronger reason to consider an open source database. The business model for most open source companies is based on annual support subscription revenue. What this means is that they only make money when you actually use their product.
Sounds reasonable enough, but consider the amount of "shelf-ware" that many companies own. They purchase software that is never installed or never fully utilized. The proprietary software vendor doesn't mind since they already made a large license sale. Ongoing maintenance and support is just the icing on the cake for that proprietary software vendor.
Commercial open source vendors do not have that "luxury." They need their products to work and add value for your environment. This is the only way to guarantee ongoing use (and associated subscription revenue) and expansion of the use of those products within an organization. They essentially become a partner in your success, because their success is dependent on your success. This is a very important concept.
Features, functionality, and quality of support can vary greatly between both commercial and open source database products. You really can't assume that one is better than the other since every environment has unique requirements and success criteria. It is important to consider what is really needed for your environment based on your business goals. By focusing on what you need in a product (versus every feature that you might possibly want but may not ever use) it is easy to move beyond "good enough" and find products that satisfy your business requirements.
If your database requirements are satisfied by an open source product, then the ability to avoid large capital expenditures, the ability to run on commodity hardware, and the ability to lower your TCO become a bonus. You can take those savings and apply them to new solving business problems, or you can use those savings for other business needs. This provides a lean operating model that can help your business become more competitive. Who wouldn't like to be able to deliver more business value with a flat or declining IT budget?
Is an open source database right for you? Only the analysis of your specific needs, goals and budget will help determine the answer. But, in many cases that answer is 'yes.' It makes sense from a business, technology, and economic perspective.
Please contact us for more information or to discuss this with one of our open source database experts.
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