At the heart of good database management is the ability to facilitate innovation

The growing appeal towards open source

John Pocknell
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Whilst full automation is on the horizon, tools available in the open source world have the potential to provide real benefit to both the DBA on the ground and the business as a whole. In this article, John Pocknell explains how the appeal of open source is only growing stronger.

Open source software has come a long way since Linus Torvalds created “The Linux kernel” in 1991, to the point where Google’s open source Chromium forms the majority of the code in Google Chrome, the most popular web browser in the world.

Consequently, a growing number of businesses are eying open source software to power business-critical applications in finance, CRM, HR, e-commerce, business intelligence, analytics and more.

As proprietary licensing has become more complex and costly, and businesses’ needs have changed, open source systems have emerged to meet these evolving demands. Since open source software is in the public domain, there is little chance it can become unavailable.Therefore, open source databases, such as MySQL and PostgreSQL, are looking far more attractive for both the C-Suite and DBAs, particularly in long-term projects that rely on tools that are easily accessible.

The power of open source

The resistance to open source database management systems (OSDBMS) amongst enterprise organizations is diminishing as CIOs and senior IT managers become more aware of its low costs and reliability in comparison to proprietary relational database management systems (RDBMS), especially with the advent of better management functions and support. According to Gartner, by 2018, more than 70 percent of new in-house applications will be developed on OSDBMS, and 50 percent of existing commercial RDBMS instances will have been converted or will be in process.

SEE ALSO: Why enterprises are flocking to open source

Due to open source software being publicly accessible, a network of developers are able to modify and fix bugs in real-time without any time delay, a luxury unavailable to the closed software networks. In addition, programmers can hone their skills by working on the biggest open source software programs in the world – whether that be Facebook, Google, or LinkedIn, developers can share knowledge, innovate solutions and contribute to stable, functional products.

“DBAs are in charge of what…!?”

As database technology blossoms from on-premises environments to the cloud and DBaaS, DBAs face an increasingly fragmented landscape of database monitoring. It is nearly impossible to be an expert in traditional, NoSQL, relational, non-relational and open source platforms simultaneously, yet the need to have a constant, homogenous handle on a changing, heterogeneous environment continues to grow, especially as organizations run more and more databases.

Naturally, organizations turn to corporate IT to own the databases and to DBAs to manage them. A survey by Unisphere Research, which assessed how many database platforms (from a number of different vendors) each DBA is responsible for managing, found that over 69 percent are managing more than one database platform.

Looking ahead

The balancing act is difficult enough in small environments, let alone in large ones, hence why the automated approach is growing ever more appealing. The less hands-on work that an individual DBA has to perform on a particular database server, the more efficient the operation can be as a whole. Plus, automation frees up DBAs for higher-value tasks that can provide a more efficient way for enterprises to manage their network.

SEE ALSO: Open Source: The not-so-secret to success

DBAs need the tools at hand to ensure they do not become overwhelmed. At the heart of good database management is the ability to facilitate innovation and reduce the amount of time and resources dedicated to oversight and administration. Take Oracle’s latest strides in the realm of autonomous databases: a robust monitoring tool which allows DBAs to get a wide view of database health and automate performance analysis to identify and fix problem servers.

Whilst full automation is on the horizon, tools available in the open source world have the potential to provide real benefit to both the DBA on the ground and the business as a whole. With an increasing number of projects set to contain huge amounts of open source, the remaining C-Suite stuck in proprietary software should waste no time in making the transition to the open source world to realize true business benefits.

open source

John Pocknell

John Pocknell is a senior product manager at Quest Software based out of the European HQ in Bracknell, UK and is responsible for the strategy and roadmap of the Toad portfolio of products worldwide. He has been with Quest Software since 2000, working in the database design, development and deployment product areas and continues to evangelise Toad to customers throughout Europe, the U.S. and AsiaPac. John writes many blogs and papers which are published on the Toad user community, Toad World.

John has worked in I.T. for over 30 years, most of that time being based in Oracle application design and development.  He is a qualified aeronautical engineer, with over 10 years as a Business Development manager provisioning I.T. consultancy services and implementation of Quality Assurance systems to ISO 9001.

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