Based on the title, you are probably expecting this to be another blog from someone slamming Oracle Corporation for high prices and unwelcome sales tactics. Instead, this blog is not about the business practice concerns customers have with Oracle, but to overview why the current trends with Cloud computing should make the migration from Oracle to SQL Server a no brainer.
I spent over ten years in the Oracle channel working for software license resellers, consulting services firms, and an Oracle VAD. Although I’ve heard plenty of negative feedback regarding Oracle’s pricing policies and business practices, I do know many companies that have been better off by using Oracle’s products to run their businesses. I think everyone would agree that a company that in their last fiscal year did $37.5B in annual sales and has 132,000 employees is impressive. I’ve indirectly worked with hundreds of talented Oracle employees, and know they do an outstanding job supporting customers. Oracle’s leadership has done many things right to achieve years of incredible company financial success.
However, in technology, past financial success is no guarantee for future sustained growth. Times change, technologies change, practices change, and businesses change. That’s how we named our company, and the times are certainly changing again.
This recent Barron’s article lists the approximately three hundred thousand jobs that could be lost by leading technology firms such as HP, EMC, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, IBM, Cisco, and others. The article talks about the shifting cloud landscape, and the impact to employee staffing needs at these once market share heavy mammoth firms. Heraflux’s Founder and Chief Architect David Klee refers to this time of migrations in the technology industry from data center to cloud as the legacy bubble burst. Of course not every organization will completely abandon all on premise hardware infrastructure and software to move to Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, or other cloud providers. Although, even with a mix of on premise and hybrid cloud environments for organizations, these technology giants are looking at their sales forecasts and realizing the need to make some staffing adjustments.
So why, given the industry changes, is it time to move from the Oracle Database to SQL Server? Here are a few of the reasons that 2016 is the year to finally migrate:
- Oracle Cloud – I’ve watched Oracle customers for years deal with the changes to product packaging, pricing, and the impact of new technology acquisitions. Like most well run companies, Oracle leadership has used new products to influence customer decisions and investments. Since Oracle’s takeover of SUN, we’ve all witnessed the push by Oracle sales to drive the expensive Exa-converged infrastructure to customers. Now since Oracle is trying to make up lost ground to Azure or AWS, the stated new direction is for customers to move everything to Oracle’s Cloud. With every Oracle “alarm” to have customers adopt the latest and greatest products, many customers have not been satisfied after writing big checks for what should have been the next great Oracle solution. Do not let a move to Oracle’s Cloud be another revenue drain, and tough lesson learned. If you are an Oracle Database customer, you should not have a short memory on failures of past implementations (RAC, Grid, etc.), and look at the cloud shift as an opportunity to move to SQL Server.
- Oracle Standard Edition 2 – In the past, Oracle shops have used Standard Edition One and Standard Edition as options to avoid the huge expense for the Oracle Enterprise Edition database. In December 2015 Oracle Corp announced it will no longer offer Oracle Standard Edition 1 (sold for approximately $5K per processor) or Standard Edition, and now only offers Standard Edition 2 (for approximately $17K per processor). Many have speculated on social media discussions about Oracle’s motivation for this change. Whether it’s to incent more Oracle Cloud adoption, or to create net new license demand, Oracle is no longer offering a supported low cost database solution for customers. Microsoft SQL Server continues to be a lower cost, but equally capable alternative to the Oracle Database. SQL Server’s licensing model is also much less complicated versus Oracle, and fits much better for virtual commodity hardware environments. I encourage you to view Heraflux’s webinar with PernixData, “Lowering SQL Server Licensing Costs” available on Heraflux.com. It is an outstanding look at how optimizing hardware can reduce SQL Server software license expense.
- VMware virtualization – Oracle Corporation and VMware Corporation spend significant time and energy “discussing” whether or not the Oracle Database is supported while running virtualized on the VMware vSphere platform. VMware’s stance is that the Oracle Database is fully supported on their platform, and within Oracle license compliance when the appropriate architecture model is adhered to. Oracle’s stance for licensing on VMware is the hosts that the Oracle VMs could migrate to and run from must be licensed. Oracle uses VMware’s presence as justification to argue that all hosts in the VMware environment, regardless of the VM’s ability to run on those hosts, should not only be licensed, but are subject to having the supportability questioned and the configuration audited. The challenges Oracle Corporation creates for VMware shops is detailed in this article “What does an Oracle audit look like? This one certainly wasn’t pretty” (from PCWorld).Regardless of our views on Oracle’s licensing and support semantics for VMware, it is clear that Oracle has no plans to encourage their customers to implement a VMware environment (and given this is an over ten-year issue, it does not seem like Oracle is going to change). Although Microsoft has a competitive hypervisor with Hyper-V, the licensing and support for SQL Server in a virtual environment (VMware or Hyper-V) is clear and consistent. If you are a customer that already has a large investment in VMware, why wouldn’t you want to move your Oracle Databases to SQL Server instead of continuing to fight for support policies with Oracle that are not likely to change? Again, a conclusion on whether Oracle is right or wrong with their policies for VMware is not really the issue. Customers have to accept risk of possibly no technical support and a license audit if running Oracle on VMware. Is it necessary for your organization to be ready and willing to challenge the FUD?
These are the roadblocks that people commonly identify when looking at an Oracle to SQL Server migration, and information on what Heraflux can do to address concerns:
- Cost to re-license with SQL Server – Heraflux can assist with architecture planning, SQL Server edition selection, and estimate the requirements for outside services support given expertise on existing staff. We can identify the amount of time for ROI breakeven on the migration, and show potential total savings (staffing, hybrid cloud, etc.) from an Oracle to SQL Server migration plan.
- Migration plan and tool selection – We can provide estimates on the amount of time required for the migration, and what tools will be necessary to move or transform the data.
- Actual migration – The Heraflux team can provide support for the actual data migration, go-live, and post go-live performance validation.
- Target platform validation – We can validate that the target infrastructure and database instance is configured for maximum performance and availability, while determining if the target platform can scale to your organization’s needs.
- Managed Services – Our team can provide short or long term support, and mentor SQL Server or Windows best practices to DBA staff.
People need to remember that change is constant in IT. Whether it is a change of HP Blades to Cisco UCS, NetApp to Pure Storage, or Oracle PeopleSoft to SAP, there will always be migration costs and a learning curve. Moving an Oracle Database to Microsoft SQL Server is not a new concept, and numerous organizations have made the successful change. We look forward to working with many customers in 2016 to finally migrate from Oracle to SQL Server and relieve the unnecessary past headaches with a solution for Cloud ready times.