E-Handbook: When a DIY database management system design is the best fit Article 1 of 4

Applying DIY polish to customized DBMS apps

Do-it-yourself comes in many forms. We typically associate DIY with home ownership. There's even an entire cable network devoted to DIY. Homeowners know all too well the importance of maintaining and improving their home the DIY way, sometimes by choice -- but sometimes not by choice when a licensed plumber, electrician or carpenter is too expensive or unavailable. That's when the right tools are a homeowner's best friend.

Database managers increasingly find themselves confronted with a similar kind of DIY dilemma. Examples abound of do-it-yourself implementations, modifications and customizations in areas like neural networks, hyperconverged systems and data security systems. But that approach is only now becoming commonplace with database management systems.

When creating and customizing a DIY database management system design, there are times when a one-size-fits-all proprietary DBMS may not be feasible. Factors include application, usage, access privileges, process simulation, data definition, assimilation, flexibility, the cloud, support costs, vendor lock-in and IT expertise availability.

As you'll read in this handbook, a marketing analytics manager, frustrated that he couldn't find an adaptable DBMS, took some courses offered by a software manufacturer that helped his team quickly develop a prototype database dedicated to his company's marketing needs. In another instance, a software consultant and trainer created her own DBMS so she could seamlessly add, enhance and archive business applications.

Do-it-yourself doesn't necessarily mean vendor independence, however. The methods typically used in building a DIY DBMS app can include any combination of homegrown, off-the-shelf and open source tools, which to some degree wear the imprimatur of vendors.

This handbook takes a micro and macro view of DIY options in database management system design. First, we examine the mindset of business users who decided to reach into their toolboxes and build DIY DBMS apps. Next, we report on a survey that captures the growing trend toward open source database tools. Finally, open source database software accessibility is being called into question as some database vendors play defense and move away from the open core model. 

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