The inspiration for this blog post was a recent conversation with a prospective client. They were exploring open source software solutions and professional services for the first time. This is a fairly common and recurring conversation with individuals and enterprises exploring open source for the first time. They generally find Percona through recommendations from colleagues, or organic Google searches. One of the most common questions Percona gets when engaging at this level is, “How does Percona’s software compare with << Insert Closed-source Enterprise DB Here >>?”
We’re glad you asked. Percona’s position on this question is to explain the value of Percona in the open source space. Percona does not push a particular flavor of open source software. We recommend an appropriate solution given each of our client’s unique business and application requirements. A client coming from this space is likely to have a lengthy list of compliance, performance and scalability requirements. We love these conversations. Our focus is always on providing our customers with the best services, support, and open-source technology solutions possible.
If there were a silver bullet for every database, Percona would not have been as successful over the past 10 (almost 11!) years. We know that MongoDB, MariaDB, MySQL Enterprise, MySQL Community, Percona Server for MySQL, etc., is never the right answer 100% of the time. Our competitors in this space will most likely disagree with this assessment – because they have an incentive to sell their own software. The quality of all of these offerings is extremely high, and our customers use each of them to great success. Using the wrong database software for a particular use-case is like using a butter knife to cut a steak. You can probably make it work, but it will be a frustrating and unrewarding experience.
Usually, there are more efficient alternatives.
There is a better question to ask instead of software vs. software, which basically turns into an apples vs. oranges conversation. It’s: “Why should we partner with Percona as our business adopts more open-source software?” This is where Percona’s experience and expertise in the open-source database space shine.
Percona is invested in ensuring you are making the right decisions based on your needs. Choosing the wrong database solution or architecture can be catastrophic. A recent Ponemon study (https://planetaklimata.com.ua/instr/Liebert_Hiross/Cost_of_Data_Center_Outages_2016_Eng.pdf) estimates the average cost of downtime can be up to $8,800 per minute. Not only is downtime costly, but re-architecting your environment due to an errant choice in database solutions can be costly as well. Uber experienced these pains when using Postgres as their database solution and wrote an interesting blog post about their decision to switch back to MySQL (https://eng.uber.com/mysql-migration/). Postgres has, in turn, responded to Uber recently (http://thebuild.com/presentations/uber-perconalive-2017.pdf). The point of bringing up this high-profile switch is not to take sides, but to highlight the breadth of knowledge necessary to navigate the open source database environment. Given its complexity, the necessity of a trusted business partner with unbiased recommendations should be apparent.
This is where Percona’s experience and expertise in the open source database space shines. Percona’s only investors are its customers, and our only customers are those using our services. Because of this, our core values are intertwined with customer success and satisfaction. This strategy trickles down through support, to professional services and all the way to the engineering team, where efforts are focused on developing software and features that provide the most value to customers as a whole.
Focusing on a business partner in the open source space is a much more important and worthwhile effort than focusing on a software provider. Percona has hands-on, practical experience with a varying array of open-source technologies in the MySQL, MariaDB, and MongoDB ecosystems. We’ve tracked our ability to assist our customer’s efficiencies in their databases and see a 30% efficiency improvement on average with some cases seeing a 10x boost in performance of their database. (https://www.percona.com/blog/2016/07/20/value-database-support/). The open source software itself has proven itself time and again to be the choice of billion dollar industries. Again, there is not one universal choice among companies. There are success stories that run the gamut of open source software solutions.
To summarize, there’s a reason we redirect the software vs. software question. It’s not because we don’t like talking about how great our software is (it is great, and holds it own with other open source offerings). It’s because the question does not highlight Percona’s value. Percona doesn’t profit from its software. Supporting the open-source ecosystem is our goal. We are heavily invested in providing our customers with the right open source software solution for their situation regardless of whether it is ours or not. Our experience and expertise in this space make us the ideal partner for businesses adopting more open source technology in place of enterprise-licensed models.