Microshaft-logoAt my current day job, I work for a small technology start-up in La Jolla California. We offer web-based solutions for some of the nation’s top banks, and housing lenders. We also provide a database for “closing service” providers, so you can hire people like home inspectors, and exterminators at the best price when selling your house. It’s kind of like the “Orbitz” of the real estate closing market.

Any way, the company is only a few years old, and up until now we are running on a Microsoft BizSpark licensing plan. Now that we’re getting a little older though, and we are using more servers to produce our goods, we need a more robust licensing plan from Microsoft. I decided to go to one of my local VARs to work on some quotes, and what they came back with almost gave my boss a heart attack.

In this post I am strictly going to talk about Microsoft SQL Licensing. Just so you know though, the quote we got for SQL was on top of an already ridiculously high $107K three year quote for server licenses. Before I give you the quote I got for SQL, keep in mind this is only for two physical servers running SQL Enterprise.

So we got our quote from Microsoft, and it was roughly $183K for three years. Yes, for two servers it was almost $200,000! That is because at the time of this writing, they were quoting us based on the number of processors. One of the physicals servers has four processors, and the other has two. Bam! Bend us over for $200K!

On top of that, my VAR is telling me that next year Microsoft is switching to a per-core model of licensing. On my server with four procs, each proc has six cores! On the two proc box, each proc has four cores! Now my boss is starting to hyperventilate.

I’m sorry Microsoft, I know you’re just a mom and pop shop, and you’re just trying to make your way in this crazy world, but $200K is too much to pay for a database. The good news for us is that Microsoft SQL isn’t the only game in town. Good news for my company, I’m not afraid to think outside of the Microsoft box.

After getting that quote, the manager of our dev team and I started talking about moving to an Open Source database solution. First he said MySQL, but since they’re owned by Oracle now they have more strict licensing. I’m suggesting PostgreSQL.


Never heard of it? Here’s a description from their About page:

An enterprise class database, PostgreSQL boasts sophisticated features such as Multi-Version Concurrency Control (MVCC), point in time recovery, tablespaces, asynchronous replication, nested transactions (savepoints), online/hot backups, a sophisticated query planner/optimizer, and write ahead logging for fault tolerance. It supports international character sets, multibyte character encodings, Unicode, and it is locale-aware for sorting, case-sensitivity, and formatting. It is highly scalable both in the sheer quantity of data it can manage and in the number of concurrent users it can accommodate. There are active PostgreSQL systems in production environments that manage in excess of 4 terabytes of data.

Best of all, PostgreSQL provides all of their Enterprise features absolutely free under a Liberal Open Source License! With something like this we can lower our overhead, and use those cost savings to improve our bottom line.

We will have to no doubt do some serious coding changes to make sure our data is compatible with PostgreSQL, but I think in the long run, the cost savings of switching to open source will outweigh the work to get there.

What do you think? Move to an open source database? Stick with Microsoft and suck up the cost? What’s your argument for or against? Let us know in the comments.

-=El Di Pablo=-