Hey Dan,

Great response! Thanks for chiming in.  Let me address some of your points.

"Cherry-picking individual features from one database to compare them, then
cherry-picking from completely different database when counter-points are
raised is not exactly a technically sound (or fair) way to do comparisons."

You're certainly right, but that's not I'm doing.  I believe the only direct
feature comparison I made was to MongoDB, which falls into the same class of
database as U2.

Besides, the discussion isn't purely about technical capabilities (though
they certainly matter and U2 has been sluggish with new feature development)
as much as it is about the overall value proposition.

I'm not trying to be a troll, or incite the folks that love U2, or call out
Rocket.  As a long-time U2 user, I'm simply making an honest and blunt
statement that I  would not pick U2 as my database on a new product, and I'm
curious to hear if others can argue in favor of U2 given the rise of lower
cost, popular alternatives in the same niche.

I think it's extremely hard to argue in favor of U2 give its price tag and
underdeveloped ecosystem.

For *me personally*, when I'm contemplating which technology to use on a new
project, some of the things that are very important are:

1.) Mainstream adoption.  If I have a wacky problem with U2, I basically 2
places to go: Rocket support or this list.  That's it.  You can't overlook
the beneifts of using mainstream technologies.

http://www.google.com/trends?q=rocket+u2%2C+unidata%2C+mongodb&ctab=0&geo=all&date=ytd&sort=2

Again, when I was working with U2 full-time, we were consistently finding
core bugs in U2 that hampered business, and it would be months on end
without any progress from IBM.

(If you don't believe me, try using some of the SQL features in the latest
build of UniData.)

2) Ecosystem and accessibility.  Are there APIs, language bindings, and
libraries available, or am I limited?

I brought this up on another thread -- what if I need to parse JSON in
UniBasic, or I want to generate a PDF document?  There simply aren't a
wealth of UniBasic libraries available like there are in Java, Ruby, .NET,
etc.

This can be partially addressed by making U2 more accessible from modern
languages or at the very least, provide better guidance and resources to
help the users create their own.  Right now all we have is UniObjects, which
is kinda crappy.

c) Cost. U2 is expensive for what you get.  That might have been justified
in the 90s, and 2000s when theren't were viable MV alternatives.  But now
there are alternatives.  Free ones.

It's easy to say that "U2 has been around for a while, so it must be
reliable and enterprise grade."  But I can't tell you how many times I've
had to take my UniData system down and run "guide" because of database-level
corruption.  Anecdotal yes, but so are your claims against MongoDB.  I
believe Foursquare still uses it, and I'm going to venture a wild guess that
their load is far greater than any single U2 customer's.

I also don't buy the case for writing your business logic in what is
basically a hamstrung stored procedure language.  This isn't necessary to
get the benefits you're describing.  As long as you properly tier your code
so that your business logic is separate from your presentation layer, it
doesn't matter where the code lives physically.

SQL access in U2 has been a pain point for me in the past, but maybe I was
doing it wrong or things have changed lately.

The idea of using U2 as in in-memory cache is an interesting idea.  I wonder
if anyone has done that in production.

Anyway, thanks for the excellent and thorough response, Dan.  You make some
great points and you're an extremely bright guy and Rocket is very smart for
bringing you aboard.  I look forward to seeing what's coming, but as it is
right now, U2 just isn't an option for me.  You've got your work cut out for
you, though, as the competition is moving fast. :-)

Cheers,

-Rob

On Thu, Jul 14, 2011 at 11:03 AM, Daniel McGrath <
dmcgr...@rocketsoftware.com> wrote:

>
>
> _____________________________________________
> From: Jackie Burhans
> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:55 AM
> To: Daniel McGrath; Dave Peters
> Cc: Vinnie Smith
> Subject: RE: Post
>
>
> Very thorough response. Minor edits below in red. One suggested cut noted
> like this {xxx}
> One question--can you and Dave give some thoughts to conferences you might
> like to attend over the coming year. I'll talk with Susie about funding for
> that.
>
> Jackie Burhans
> Director, U2 Partner Enablement
> Rocket Software
> 4600 S. Ulster Street **Suite 1100 **Denver, CO 80237 * USA
> Tel: +1.720.475.8016 * Fax: +1.617.630.7392
> Email: jburh...@rs.com<mailto:jburh...@rs.com>
> Web: www.rocketsoftware.com/u2<http://www.rocketsoftware.com/u2>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daniel McGrath
> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 8:07 AM
> To: Jackie Burhans
> Cc: Vinnie Smith
> Subject: FW: Post
>
> Morning Jackie,
>
> I wrote this last night after reviewing all the messages to take a list of
> points out of them. Are you able to review it and see if you are okay with
> it or if there is anything you want added, changed or removed?
>
> Thanks,
> Dan
>
> From: Dan McGrath [mailto:danmcg...@gmail.com]<mailto:[mailto:
> danmcg...@gmail.com]>
> Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:27 AM
> To: Daniel McGrath
> Subject: Post
>
> Hi all,
>
> I have been reading all these posts, but I haven't had time to really
> respond until now.
>
> First, let me introduce myself to those who don't know me already. I've
> just moved to Denver and started working as a Product Manager for U2 with
> Rocket Software. Prior to this I worked as a Systems Architect for a
> financial institute where we used UniData, UniVerse, *SQL, .NET, PHP,
> Windows & UNIX among other technologies. While I don't read Techmeme, I do
> read a lot of tech sites and I am somewhat active on Q&A sites (see my
> StackExchange profile: http://goo.gl/iLsPJ - Short link because the long
> one is UGLY). I've probably attended > 10 conferences in the last year
> alone, including the World Computer Congress, so I do try to get out amongst
> what is happening in the industry as the whole.
>
> There have been many valid points and issues raised in this discussion. At
> this point I think I should clarify: If you compare U2 to the feature list
> of all the other databases out there - aggregated - it would lose. Replace
> U2 with any database in the previous statement and it would also be true.
> Cherry-picking individual features from one database to compare them, then
> cherry-picking from completely different database when counter-points are
> raised is not exactly a technically sound (or fair) way to do comparisons.
>
> Obviously, U2 will not cover EVERY use case. As was said earlier:
> "Always...use the right tool, for the right job...one size doesn't fit all,
> etc., etc. "
>
> Another point is that when comparing U2 to other mature technologies, such
> as MsSQL, don't compare it based on experiences with applications written on
> top of U2 from 1980. If you want to do that, please compare it to similar
> applications that where originally written for SQL-86. Not that I discredit
> those U2 apps. Not by a long shot - this is the first positive point I raise
> for U2 for why I would pick it.
>
> 1) Applications from 1980 are still healthily running today on the latest
> Linux, UNIX & Windows 7 systems and still with support. If I was investing a
> lot of money into an 'enterprise' system, I don't see why you would overlook
> that fact. You want to guarantee that you can keep your system running for
> the next 10, 20, 30 years, even if you don't have the money to re-architect
> in between; not many others give you that.
>
> So, when comparing U2 applications, let us be real here. We are not exactly
> talking telnet anymore (
> http://www.rocketsoftware.com/u2/u2/products/datavu/resources/datasheets/datavu-datasheet.pdf
> ).
>
> So, if I was building an Enterprise grade solution that required 24/7
> uptime, automatic data encryption, replication, ACID compliance I have some
> other interesting reasons to use U2.
>
> 2) You can modify your business logic and change your data schema(ta) all
> while your system is online with almost no impact. Due to how the tables are
> structured (essentially hash tables) modifying the schema can have no impact
> to as little impact as the overhead of written the extra data. It does not
> need to go an restructure the entire table to apply the change. Down time =
> money lost. People have come to expect 'maintenance windows'. I've worked
> with an Internet Banking system that had an SQL driven front-end that
> interfaced with a U2 driven back-end. Changes required on the back-end? No
> problem, Bob's your uncle (or your dad, as per a person I met recently...)
> We only needed outages when changing something related to SQL.
>
> Then comes performance, as others have mentioned before.
>
> 3) U2 allows you to denormalize the data until your denormalizing thirst
> has been quenched - while still being able to effectively handle it. Not
> that I am advocated being silly here. Following some basic rules you can
> denormalize away join tables and STILL structure your data in a relational
> manner. If you really wish, you can even access it via SQL with a schema
> tool automatically creating fake join tables so it can be cleanly handling
> in the SQL world as well.
>
> Something that is overlooked when comparing databases is the application
> engine that ties in with it. Some people choose to then compare this
> application engine to .NET, Erlang or whatever happens to be the flavor of
> the week. This is a fallacy as this isn't what you should be using it for.
>
> I'll bring up a classic example where U2 trumps when used appropriately.
> During earlier days of StackOverflow (since this was brought up earlier by
> Rob), Jeff Atwood pondered about how they could automatically run background
> tasks that they didn't want run at the time of user interaction to their
> website (
> http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2008/07/easy-background-tasks-in-aspnet/).
> Most people in the U2 world would wonder why that required an entire blog
> post. It has its own app engine!
>
> 4) Create a PHANTOM, have it sleep and wake as required and do whatever it
> needed to: QED. U2 makes things easy. While it can be fun to think up novel
> ways to perform certain tasks, really, they shouldn't require you to be that
> creative in the first place. U2 gives you flexibility ON your database
> without having to think, without needing excessive pieces floating around.
>
> U2 allows you to have your Business Logic in your database. After all, what
> happens more often, re-writing a front end or completely replacing your data
> source. If you said data source, I put it to you that you either have an
> unusual use case, or you are doing it wrong.
>
> 5) By allowing your business logic to reside with the database, you make it
> easier to enforce your business logic no matter how many different
> front-ends you want to hook or no matter how many different systems you want
> to integrate to. U2 gives you a way to get your business logic defined,
> readable and running with minimal fuss.
>
> At this point, I'd like to address some points from the non-technical side.
> After already being in over 5 hours of meetings with users this week, with
> at least another 4 hours tomorrow, I would like to respectfully disagree
> with the statements about users not talking to us and us not listening to
> users. Do we want more feedback from a wider audience, of course!
> Constructive feedback, insights, oversights, all welcome and encouraged.
> Drop us an email, find us on twitter (http://twitter.com/RocketU2), come
> start a conversation on LinkedIn (
> http://linkedin.com/groups/Rocket-U2-3997577) or even FaceBook if that's
> your preferred method (http://www.facebook.com/RocketU2).
>
> The other issue is around licensing. Yes, we are a business. I like eating
> and having a roof over my head and our customers like having a company that
> can still over support and spend money on R&D, so unfortunately, we cannot
> just give away all our software for free. Yes, there are changes that can
> make licensing better. Yes, we are working on additional licensing options.
> If our current licensing arrangements prevent you from working with us,
> contact us! We don't bite. If there is something we can do to enable you to
> work with us, it is in our best interest to find a solution too.
>
> Okay, back from the non-technical interlude, let's talk about flexibility
> anything. It has already been alluded to in a previous email, but I'll state
> it again.
>
> 6) Not only can you use U2 in a relational manner, complete with SQL
> access, but since its core data structure are hash tables, if you want to
> use it just as a key-value store look no further. If you want to run it is a
> key-value store in memory (aka Memcache), mount a RAMDisk and place the file
> there. Voila. No need to configure separate systems, as flexible as you want
> it to be. You can even replicate from it to multiple other servers if you
> want. Want it encrypted too? Done!
>
> "I know I sound like a MongoDB fanboy, but I think it's a straight-up U2
> killer. I challenge anyone to find an area where U2 beats it."
>
> Sorry, but as great as MongoDB is, you just cannot compare it with the
> maturity of U2. Are you suggesting that a CTO/CIO would put his job on the
> line and run their core banking system or their manufacturing plant or their
> major distribution centers on MongoDB? It just isn't appropriate.
>
> http://mashable.com/2010/10/07/mongodb-foursquare/ &
> http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3487456/mongodb-are-reliability-issues-significant-still
>
> As another side note, we are actively scaling up our teams. I'm a new hire,
> someone else started just before me, we have another starting very soon and
> are active looking to fill a variety of other new roles, so rest at ease,
> Rocket Software is investing in the R&D of these products and there are many
> exciting things coming down the pipeline.
>
> This isn't a "we are going to do everything you say", but it is a chance to
> definitively say what you want, why you want it and how to product could
> improve to make it a more attractive offering to you. So, enough of me
> typing. I put David Jordan's previous post to you all.
>
> "If Rocket asked you what you want, what would you say"
>
> Feel free to respond here or if you prefer, email me at u2as...@rs.com
> <mailto:u2as...@rs.com>; your thoughts & opinions are valuable to us.
>
> _______________________________________________
> U2-Users mailing list
> U2-Users@listserver.u2ug.org
> http://listserver.u2ug.org/mailman/listinfo/u2-users
>
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