IDS EE: Batteries excluded ?
Just want to to follow up a recent discussion that took place on c.d.i.. The discussion was about the possible benefits of the new IDS compression technology that has been introduced by IBM in IDS 11.50.xC4.
The pros and cons from a technical perspective have already been made by various people in the discussion. The thing that I want to emphasize on is an alarming change in IBM's license politics regarding IDS that I'm seeing during the last two or three years . A great strength of IDS in the past has been that it has been delivered with 'batteries included'. That means that at least in the Enterprise Edition (IDS EE) of the product almost all advanced technologies have been included and were ready to use. This is no longer true as IBM tries to charge an extra fee even in the IDS EE for features like:
- Data Compression Technology
- MACH11 SDS (Shared Disk Secondary) Nodes
- LBAC (Label Based Access Control)
- Warehouse Feature (SQW)
For an IDS Express Edition none of the above features will be available even if you want to pay for them. For the Workgroup Edition AFAIK only the Warehouse Feature is available. But I'm not talking about those stripped-down versions of IDS as they include several other restrictions in functionality and resource usage that will make things even more complicated and intransparent. There is a good article about the feature restrictions in the various IDS flavours on IBM developerWorks. However it doesn't seem to be up to date anymore as the Compression and Warehouse feature is missing.
The point I want to make is that IBM's license politics is getting more and more similar to the hardest competitor: Trying to charge an extra fee for every advanced feature !
This is not only annoying from a financial point of view. IBM's license politics hurts the spreading of the excellent IDS technology. Take a look at the wonderful IDS MACH11 technology. This is perfectly suited to create highly available and scalable database clusters. But even customers using IDS EE have to pay an extra fee if they want to deploy SDS nodes. There are probably a few large customers that are willing to spend the extra money. My guess is that the number of those customers is not higher than 5% of the total IDS EE customer base. So while making money at 5% of the IDS EE customer base, IBM prohibits the spreading of this technology at 95% of the IDS EE customer base.
This hurts the IDS business because a major part of the 95% would be able to benefit from the SDS technology. Good experiences would make IDS more attractive for upcoming projects at those customer sites. IBM would have probably more customer references and those would be very helpful to sell IDS into new accounts. So the bottom line is that while earning an additional fee at 5% of the customer base, IBM misses to seed the market with it's outstanding high availability technology.
What I like to see is a smarter license politics from IBM that doesn't try to mimic the competition. An Enterprise Edition should not be stripped-down version of a product. This isn't really smart.
An IDS EE version including all features would also be an excellent hook for an advertising campaign:
IBM Informix Dynamic Server - The database that comes with batteries included !
Ooh wait, I forgot that IBM doesn't want to waste the earned IDS money in a meaningless advertising campaign :-)