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  • Paul Burgess

Summer Update and Observations - databases

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

As most of us are somewhere relaxing (I am at my place in Lake Tahoe) as we look to swing through COVID, wanted to take a moment around interesting sound bites this summer.

  • Snowflake Summit user event was full of enhancements and new capabilities - Probably the most productive engineering team in the world adding and enhancing capabilities, reviewing everything they are up to is broad and wide. Including:

  1. Better governance - masking, data lineage and more enhancements to govern data at the most granular levels.

  2. Better replication - not just the data, but also the inbound pipelines with automated client redirection

  3. Better price/performance - upgrading the underlying CPUs used like Graviton 3 and Intel Ice Lake compute environments.

  4. Better access - the idea of having external tables to on-premise storage environments to make getting data into Snowflake much easier + supporting the open-source Iceberg table formats.

  5. Better Development - all roads lead to Python as Snowflake works to integrate their $800M acquisition of Streamlit.

  6. Adding OLTP to OLAP - named 'Unistore' adding the ability to do more OLTP-centric workloads. In my experience, doing OLAP vs OLTP is hard, very different needs and using SAP HANA, IBM and others who have tried.

You can to all the information HERE. But as the stock has taken a hit, they seem to also be going thru employee turnover. BUT an organization growing like Snowflake, they need to better prepare the team to defend against burnout and because everyone is motivated by Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) with a stock that is way down - people will leave.

  • Oracle is planning layoffs. Oracle (ORCL) recently announced its plans to lay off thousands of employees and cut costs by $1 billion. The job layoffs came only weeks after completing its $28 billion acquisition of Cerner, which would give the business a stronger position in the healthcare technology industry. When you have stagnant top-line revenues and high margins - your path to greater profit is sadly this route. We have seen it all the time from IBM, OpenText and now again from Oracle.

  • Bain pays a premium for EnterpriseDB as the leading Postgres player - Bain is placing a big bet on open-source with this acquisition. From this press release, the firm has "more than 750 employees worldwide, the company currently serves more than 1,500 customers in 86 countries." What makes this organization interesting is how they are adding all the right components and capabilities to make open-source Postgres be a tier-1 platform - both on-premise and in the cloud. Will be tracking this firm as they take on the other Postgres-centric offerings in the market, but organizations are accepting open-source as a reasonable replacement to legacy players.

  • Databricks open sources Delta Lake - Databricks is open sourcing Delta Lake to counter criticism from rivals and take on Apache Iceberg as well as data warehouse products from Snowflake, Google Cloud, AWS, Oracle and HPE. As they contend with the growing pressure for an IPO, they need to grow in their relevance to justify their market value of $38 billion.

  • MongoDB has been growing and interesting. They seem to have smaller clients compared to the others - but they are hiring and growing. But - like Snowflake - their stock has taken a hit in 2022. This quote from this June 6, 2022 article says it all:

MongoDB is starting to up its game with analytics, but won’t replace Snowflake, Redshift, Databricks or any of the other usual suspects when it comes to performing highly complex analytics. Nor does it necessarily want to do so. The company’s focus has never been data analysts, but rather application developers. Going back to the first principle of operational databases, you want to avoid tying them down with queries requiring highly complex joins and/or high concurrency. And for MongoDB to succeed, it needs to enable those developers to build better apps.

  • What is motivating change - software going end of life/service/etc. Consider this:

  1. Microsoft SQLServer 2012 went end of extended support July 12, 2022 with SQLServer 2017 going end of 'mainstream support' October 11, 2022. LINK HERE

  2. IBM DB2 8.x and 9.x goes to 'Withdrawal of Continuing Support' on September 30, 2022 and v11.1 went 'end of base support' April 30, 2022. LINK HERE

  3. Oracle Enterprise Edition v12.1 'Extended Support' ends July 2022. LINK HERE

This is what we should all consider 'technical debt' but with everything generally based on SQL as a language, the task of migrating to open-source and/or cloud is not overly painful, It is time for organizations to make the pivot.


The path forward where innovation, platform and better business terms will are around cloud and open-source. An old client shared how 'a cloud content platform' is making it hard to obtain a programmatic exit strategy without paying them a large sum - so always make sure there is an exit path. But this also shows how these born-cloud, modern tech firms are taking chapters out of the 'lock in' of yesteryear (cough cough - Oracle).

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