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Survey Shows 60 Percent of Organizations Plan Database Upgrades in 2010-11

Database developers may be more in demand for the next year or so, judging from a new survey of 450 organizations worldwide about their database deployment plans.

That’s because more companies may be forced into infrastructure upgrades to remain competitive after 2-1/2 years of a severe economic slump, according to survey results released today by Information Technology Intelligence Corp.

The ITIC 2010 Database Deployment Trends Survey, conducted in December 2009, found that approximately 56% of respondents plan to upgrade or expand their database systems in the 2010-2011 timeframe.

Laura DiDio, principal at ITIC, said in an interview that "much of the developer activity will center on building custom applications – particularly in the legal, healthcare, financial and insurance verticals.

"When it comes to mainstream developer activity, the survey found that many ISVs are focused on extending the management and security capabilities of SQL Server 2008 to provide more granular functionality," DiDio said. "There is also a lot of activity around building extensions and increasing the integration between SQL Server and other mainstream line of business server-based applications."

During this time of increased upgrades, the ongoing wars among the Big Four database vendors (Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Sybase) are likely to escalate, according to an ITIC blog posting on the survey's findings:

"Anytime a company decides on a major upgrade, there's always a chance that they may switch providers. The DBMS vendors know this and will do their level best to lure customers to their platform, or at the very least get a foot in the door."

That may be good news for Microsoft-centric developers because the survey found that while most companies don’t change vendors during an upgrade, Microsoft SQL Server was the top choice for organizations that did switch platforms during the last three years: "Database defectors chose to migrate to SQL Server by a two-to-one margin over the nearest competitor, Oracle."

Generally speaking, DiDio said, "the survey respondents expressed enthusiasm and high regard for the continual feature/function and performance enhancements in SQL Server. They also gave Microsoft high marks for providing excellent documentation and development tools for the platform."

However, DiDio said, independent software vendors will be challenged by "the inherent degree of difficulty in building, testing and debugging third party or customized applications to run on the newest version of SQL Server 2008."

DiDio said other challenges faced by developers include:

  • Trying to get third-party application providers to support the newest versions of the market leaders SQL Server, Oracle, IBM’s DB2 and Sybase in a timely fashion.
  • Designing redundancy for SQL Server applications -- many third-party applications do not yet support the SQL Server 2008 mirroring capabilities. Developers have to build workarounds and then make sure that the code works and seamlessly interoperates with the rest of the environment. This is extremely design and work intensive, consuming precious manpower and R&D resources.
  • Many third-party applications lag at least one version behind the latest version of the database. Developers have three choices: to try and pressure the specific ISV to hurry up and support SQL Server 2008; to build custom extensions to the application; or wait for the ISV to provide support.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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