Microsoft to Microsoft and Oracle to Microsoft

We thought that, instead of writing about some deeply technical issue in this blog, we would answer a couple of the first questions that we get asked by prospective new customers. Those questions are “What are your most common use-cases?” and “Why wouldn’t we just use Microsoft’s or Oracle’s solutions?” These are very good questions.

The answer to the question on our most common use-cases is very simple: our two most common use-cases are replicating data between two (or more) Microsoft SQL Server database instances and replicating data between Oracle and SQL Server. Considering that both Microsoft and Oracle have replication solutions, it is interesting that these two use-cases still seem to be such a problem for many mid-sized and enterprise database users.

Let’s look at the first of these use-cases: replicating data between two (or more) Microsoft SQL Server databases. After all, Microsoft has their own replication solution, so why would you a company need a third party product to move data between two SQL Server databases? Here are three reasons that we hear from Microsoft users about why they choose to work with HVR:

  • Cost – full SQL Server replication is only available on SQL Server Enterprise Edition – if you don’t use this edition, you need to upgrade to be able to replicate between SQL Server instances. If that’s the case, many users opt to look for the best available replication solution, not just the Microsoft option.
  • Flexibility – SQL Server replication lacks flexibility in a couple of important areas. For example, it takes an “all or nothing” approach to snapshot replication, doesn’t support transformation between databases and doesn’t allow multiple replication streams from a single database instance.
  • Downtime – SQL Server replication is great when it is up and running. But when it isn’t, it locks the log to prevent it from being truncated. This can be a problem if replication is down for an extended period because the transaction log will continue to grow until the server runs out of disk space.

In the Oracle to SQL Server use-case, the most obvious option from one of the vendors is Oracle GoldenGate. Oracle GoldenGate is a very powerful replication solution but is very costly and lacks strong capabilities in areas like the initial data load and compare/repair capabilities (both of which are available from other Oracle offerings at yet an extra cost).

Also, due to its lack of a comprehensive graphical user interface and the point-to-point architecture, it often leads to a complex topology that can be difficult to set up and hard to manage. HVR on the other hand provides single-stop-shop end-to-end replication capabilities in a point and click architecture with an easy-to-use graphical user interface, at a reasonable cost.

There are two main reasons why many users are wary of the native Microsoft and Oracle replication options, in addition to the functional challenges and cost considerations: avoid vendor lock-in

  • Vendor Lock-In – buying database software from industry giants may be a fact of life but does that necessarily mean that you should lock yourself into these choices when choosing a real-time data replication solution? At HVR, we think the answer is no. Working with an independent – and therefore database neutral – company like HVR, ensures that our functionality works consistently across all databases and that no one database is favored above any other whether that’s in terms of functionality or timing of releases.
  • Ease of Doing Business – let’s face it, it’s been a long time since either Oracle or Microsoft had a reputation for being easy to do business with. While both companies provide very professional support, it can still be hard to get timely responses from them and harder still to get access to the second and third-level experts that you may need to solve really challenging problems. At HVR, we pride ourselves on our accessibility and our ability to get our experts engaged in solving customer problems quickly and effectively.

In a database world dominated by major industry players, there is still room for small, specialist vendors like HVR to help even the largest companies solve their data replication problems. That’s why organizations as diverse as Lufthansa and the US Coast Guard choose our replication solution over products from much larger vendors.

We invite you to talk to us and decide for yourself if HVR is the right replication option for your organization.

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About Mark

Mark Van de Wiel is the CTO for HVR. He has a strong background in data replication as well as real-time Business Intelligence and analytics.

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