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Open-Source Databases: The Next Step in Modernization

Linton Ward
Linton Ward, Distinguished Engineer, OpenPower solutions-Photo by Jason Griego

For most enterprises, however, a few distinct considerations are weighed with that decision. For instance, fee-based technical support is available with some popular OSDBs, and IBM recommends that clients work with an ISV that provides support. The argument for purchasing a support contract for an OSDB isn’t all that different from making the case for, say, hardware support for enterprise systems. It’s insurance should something go wrong. A database won’t “break” like hardware can, but having support for your OSDB gives you access to technical expertise as needed.

Some OSDBs also come in an enterprise edition (again, at a cost). These OSDB versions may include proprietary extensions that are designed to enhance security.

While the world at large may equate “open source = free,” you have a business to run. Allocating budget dollars to ensure security and acquire access to technical know-how is always worth the cost.

Beyond that, getting started with an OSDB comes down to what you need done. What types of relevant skills are present in your IT department? Do you have the server capacity to create an LPAR so you can host an OSDB in your Power Systems environment, or would you need to purchase additional hardware?

Ward points out that a relational OSDB could make sense in an IT environment where database administrators (DBAs) and developers are most comfortable working with traditional representations of data. He adds that small IT shops, which still predominate in the IBM i space, might find it most convenient to implement OSDBs through a Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) option.

This spring, IBM announced a new DBaaS toolkit on Power Systems optimized for OSDBs, including MongoDB, EnterpriseDB, MySQL, MariaDB, Redis, Neo4j and Apache Cassandra (bit.ly/2wiruW7). The new platform, which is built on OpenStack, is intended to allow DBAs and developers to smoothly deploy a fully configured private cloud with automated provisioning for OSDB services. Users benefit from an efficient cloud delivery model while maintaining oversight and control of resource allocation and secure data policies.

Modernizing Data Platforms

So, data has changed. Databases have changed. And the need to modernize is renewed.

“It’s not the first time we’ve used the word modernization, but it’s different in some ways because of what’s going on in the marketplace,” says Ward. “There’s a full-on transition to this modern data platform that extends the traditional relational database and provides greater capabilities to reach consumers and end points more easily within the whole internet infrastructure. It’s been incubating over the past decade, but now it’s all over the place.”

Neil Tardy is a contributing writer to IBM Systems Magazine. Neil can be reached at ntardy@msptechmedia.com.

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