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Re: Myth of the database independent applications (Was: Are you using PL/SQL)

From: Mladen Gogala <>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 23:10:04 GMT
Message-ID: <>

On Thu, 24 May 2007 16:18:07 -0400, Serge Rielau wrote:

> The market drives standardization.
> If vendors of do not agree on standards then the market abandons the
> fractured interface. That is exactly what is happening. One reason why
> apps are written in Java and abuse DBMS as mere file systems is that
> vendors have not been able to keep SQL standardized. This is not the
> first time this happens and it won't be the last.

Actually, application vendors are driving that standardization, not the consumers. Application vendors are those who are trying to make the database into an off the shelf commodity. So far, the application vendors have not been really successful in their endeavors.

> The very fact that deep exploitation of the DBMS is preached as a
> "requirement" drives the app vendors away. Why would an app vendor want
> to be held hostage by any specific database vendor just to get a
> performance improvement that Moore's law will fix for them in short time
> anyway?

Because the competing vendor who does write an application using a specific database software will outperform those who do not and Moore's law is not really counted on in the corporate IT.

> Why would customers put themselves into a position where the vendor can
> dictate the support price upon next renewal because the customers cannot
> threaten to change the supplier and the vendor knows that all to well.

Customers rarely can threaten a supplier. I was driving Chevy Cobalt before moving to New York City. Both the car dealer and me knew that cars are expensive and it would be a major expenditure for me to buy the new ones just because I am unhappy with some detail. Throwing away an application system is a major undertaking that would require changing how the company does business, retraining and conversion of the application data from one application system to another. The most successful application systems (SAP, Peoplesoft/Oracle, JD Edwards, Lawson) are all tied up to a specific major database which they recommend to the customers. I heard of no SAP customers ever converting to JD Edwards or vice versa.

> The premise of SQL was and is that it's the DBMS' job to optimize. It is
> not the app developers job to write e.g. EXIST instead of IN to achieve
> performance.

Actually, I believe that is application developers responsibility. Application developer can not distance himself from his application and not care how it performs. Application developers usually write applications for specific platform, until we reach the same state of maturity as reached by file systems. System services to open or write files will function equally on all file systems and there are very few companies that sell file systems (Symantec/Veritas and HP/Polyserve being the only ones I know of). Unfortunately, databases have not yet reached that level of maturity, but the field is increasingly leveling.

> If vendors cannot agree on a procedural language then the customers
> cannot be blamed for refusing or at least minimizing its usage.

Customers? No, customers are not the ones driving the market here. Application vendors are. Buying PeopleSoft was a response to SAP's experimentation with their own database and claiming "database independence".

Received on Thu May 24 2007 - 18:10:04 CDT

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