Cloud database vendors: What, us worry about Microsoft?

SQL Server Data Services not inspiring panic in the competition

Web database vendors claim they aren't worried by Microsoft's just-announced SQL Server Data Services offering, saying their services are sufficiently established, different, and/or better than Redmond's to enable them to thrive when SSDS is released -- according to the current schedule, in the first half of next year.

There are more than a dozen services jockeying in this new field, which some are calling Database 2.0, and others are calling Database-as-a-Service.

They target Web-focused startups or small-to-medium-sized businesses by promising database features at a lower price than a standard relational database such as Oracle or Microsoft's SQL Server, and/or easier management than a free, open-source database such as MySQL.

SQL Server Data Services, or SSDS, promises the same features and qualities, along with tight integration with Microsoft products and technologies and, for good and bad, Microsoft's guarantees on security and uptime.

Some services are backed by vendors nearly as formidable as Microsoft. SimpleDB and S3 from Amazon.com is the most obvious, though there is also GoogleBase from Google.

Little guys, getting by

But how will smaller, lesser-known vendors compete against the expected Microsoft onslaught? Some, such as Intuit, say they already enjoy a large customer base. The software vendor, better-known for its Quicken and QuickBase personal and business finance software, has run the QuickBase SaaS service since 2000. It claims more than 225,000 paying customers, including XM Radio, Google, JetBlue Airways, Bank of America, Southwest Airlines and more.

Their target users are not exactly the same, either. SSDS users are expected to be mostly Web developers. QuickBase users, meanwhile, tend to be non-technical business users, who either rent apps from third-party vendors to manipulate the stored data or build them themselves without any programming skills, according to Bill Lucchini, vice-president and general manager of Intuit QuickBase.

QuickBase helps users "create data entry forms, reports, alerts, manage user access, and more." he said. Microsoft's "offering might be interesting to some IT departments but it will be far out of reach of business users or consultants who are driving the future of SaaS apps."

Chris Basham, president of Trackvia, agrees.

"The single biggest need in databases today is giving non-developers an easy way to interact with a database," said Basham, "and this is what Trackvia is better at than any other product out there."

The US startup launched last year. It claims about 2,000 paying users today, about double in eight months, including many that use it as the back end for their Web site.

Trackvia has grown, Basham said, because of its easy-to-use interface and speedy performance, especially relative to competitors.

Microsoft claims SSDS is similarly simple to use. But because it uses SQL Server 2008 as its engine, Microsoft will be able to keep exposing more and more features until it nearly matches SQL Server 2008. But Basham says his firm can keep pace, noting that Trackvia is close to updating its user interface and adding relational fields into Trackvia so that it becomes "a true relational database."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Eric Lai

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

Secure and Save before time runs out with Bitdefender Exclusive Clearance Offer! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?