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SQL Server adoption: Preparing for a heated race with Oracle

Are companies moving from Oracle to SQL Server? What are the greatest upgrade hurdles? Who will upgrade first? How long must you wait for third-party support? So many questions and so much upgrading to be done.

To shed light on upgrade issues and anticipated trends, we've asked Edgewood Solutions' Jeremy Kadlec and Greg Robidoux to highlight findings from their SQL Server 2005 Adoption Rate Analysis. The survey, run between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15, asked nearly 500 IT professionals for their thoughts on SQL Server adoption.

After you've read the Q&A, e-mail us to let us know about your adoption plans, and take our poll to tell us if you would switch from another DBMS to SQL Server.

Jeremy Kadlec, Edgewood Solutions

Greg Robidoux, Edgewood Solutions

 Do you think that we will see a significant shift from Oracle to SQL Server 2005 in larger shops?
One survey finding that came out of the woodwork was the comments related to other platforms, specifically Oracle. So many remarks were made that we added two sections about other platforms, not originally planned for the survey and analysis. Based on the data, we do believe that SQL Server 2005 is going to give large organizations a new, more cost-effective DBMS option compared to Oracle, which has been the mainstream selection. Time will tell the final results, but with the significant improvements in SQL Server 2005, Microsoft's SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle and the latest TPC-C findings, this will be a heated race. Few DBAs and developers are ready to switch from another DBMS to SQL Server 2005. What hurdles are holding them back?
Switching database platforms is not a simple undertaking. It requires buy-in and approval from several groups. The level of effort to switch is substantial, so offerings from another database platform must be compelling enough to offer benefits beyond the initial undertaking. Based on SQL Server 2005 feedback, many respondents are considering the switch over time. This number may grow substantially when organizations publish their migration findings. How long will DBAs and developers have to wait for increased third-party support?
It appears as though the majority of upgrades with third-party products will be conducted within six months to one year. By then all vendors should be able to fully support SQL Server 2005.

SQL Server 2005 adoption resources

SQL Server 2005 Learning Guide

To be or not to be an early adopter

More about Edgewood Solutions

 Nearly half of all companies with fewer than 100 employees plan to upgrade in the next three to six months, the most aggressive of all company sizes. Why do smaller companies seem more likely to upgrade sooner?
Based on our observations of micro (one to 100 employees) vs. large organizations (5,000+ employees), we generally believe several factors impact the adoption time frame. Micro organizations typically have:

  • Fewer servers, databases and data, which make the upgrade easier to plan and implement.
  • Fewer individuals to coordinate with for approval, scheduling and final implementation.
  • Less stringent uptime requirements and more flexibility to adopt new technologies.
  • DBAs cite five main concerns about working with SQL Server 2005: The new release won't work with business applications, third-party support isn't there, there's risk in migrating to the "unknown," it may not be stable and reliable, and bugs. Is there one area that stands out as the most critical?
    The one risk trend we saw across all organizational sizes and personnel roles related to bugs. We believe this concern is based on the vast new feature set and the need to properly test business applications. This is because 77% of respondents have a medium to medium-high confidence level in Microsoft's internal SQL Server 2005 testing. But while perceived risks seem related to bugs, the perceived benefits all revolve around new features in SQL Server 2005. So we believe respondents know the value of SQL Server 2005 and are going to perform due diligence when adopting. Security is considered one of the greatest benefits of upgrading to SQL Server 2005, but many survey takers say "immature security" is one of their biggest concerns. When will security benefits be fully realized?
    SQL Server 2005 offers a great deal of security benefits. The secure-by-default paradigm, new with SQL Server 2005, is a significant shift from earlier versions. We think that IT professionals see this and other security benefits (schema, password policies, etc.), but they will not fully realize them until SQL Server 2005 is used in production, tested by a threat like SQL Slammer and business keeps running as usual. How will DBAs and developers have to adjust to the new SQL Server 2005 interface, which some fear will be challenging to use?
    We think the biggest concern is the significant shift from SQL Server 2000's Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer to the SQL Server 2005 Management Studio. The adjustment will take time. IT professionals will need to start using the tool and getting acclimated to the interface and functionality. We have heard many DBAs and developers say that they did not like the new interface and preferred the SQL Server 2000 tool set because it's familiar. Over time, they have grown to like the interface and many of its new features. Only 13% of respondents are ready to upgrade immediately. What makes them more prepared?
    The factors would be the time and initiative taken by respondents, the promotion of the Community Technology Previews (CTPs) and the availability of the free eLearning courses from Microsoft. These respondents deserve a great deal of credit for their initiative and Microsoft deserves a pat on the back for the volume of educational materials available to the SQL Server community.

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