Printers, Ink and the Pricing Gotchas of Database Replication Products [New E-book]

  Photo Credit:  Dave Licensed under CC BY 2.0



Do you ever feel like your parents’ personal tech support representative when you call them?

“Hi, Pops. How are you doing?”

“What? I can’t hear you. My Bluetooth is acting up and my Internet is broken again. Can you come by next week and have a look at them?”

It’s nice to know that your family will always need you. But do you ever find yourself trying to explain to them...

...things about our industry that are truly inexplicable?

“You know that little printer I got for free when you helped me buy my computer last year?”

“Sure, Mom. How’s it working?”

“Well, it ran out of ink. So I carefully took out the thingees and went down to buy new ones. Here I thought it would cost about ten or fifteen dollars, you know? I found the model numbers on the shelf and it added up to $60 to replace the thingees with the ones I needed! I called the clerk over to double-check that I had the right models and she said I did. The old ones lasted me only a few months. Why is ink so expensive?”

“Well, Mom, the printer comes with cartridges designed to get you through just a few months. The new ones you bought should last much longer.”

“They’d better, or we’ll need to find another printer.”

Then she asks your favorite question:

“Why didn’t they let me know when they sold it to me?”

You patiently remind her that her generation started the whole thing when it gave away razors and sold expensive blades, or when it made you pay tax and tip on the full amount of buy-one-get-one at a restaurant. And don’t even get started on the cable bill. They’d have let you know at purchase time what you were in for, if it had occurred to you to ask the right questions.

Sometimes there’s fine print, but sometimes you just need to ask the right questions to find the hidden costs. And there’s always something that you forget to ask or that it never even dawns on you to ask.

Now, you’re probably not going to purchase database replication software for your parents, but you may someday have to purchase it for your organization’s business-critical databases. Just like buying the ink cartridges and the razor blades and the restaurant BOGO, getting a low- or no-cost license to a database replication product may be more nuanced than you think.

You may have to ask the right questions and read between the lines so that you’re not caught off guard by follow-on costs that come out of nowhere months or years after you’ve received your license.

Getting to the real costs of database replication software

Start with these questions:

  • What are the maintenance and renewal fees? Anything with moving parts or more than one line of code requires maintenance, upgrades and updates eventually. How much will they cost you? Plus, you may get the first six or 12 months free, but what does the product cost you after that?
  • How are those fees calculated? On what costs are they based? On the $0 you’re paying the first year, or the sticker price you would have paid for the licenses ordinarily?
  • Do I need to upgrade to the latest version of software? Suppose you get a huge discount on the tool but need to pay to upgrade your database to a version that works with the tool. You might have done it sooner or later anyway, but is it within your budget to upgrade two products simultaneously?
  • How much will I have paid at the end of one year? Two years? Five years? Pencil out your expenditure over time, and take into account the features most important for successful replication during your database migrations and upgrades. After all, you don’t want to end up like Dr. Hackenbush in “A Day at the Races,” do you? Do you?

More questions to ask about database replication pricing – New e-book

Start with those questions, and have a look at part 3 in our e-book series, “Simplify Your Database Migrations and Upgrades.” We’ve filled it with the kinds of questions to ask and issues to consider when you’re contemplating database replication products for your organization.

Read it right after you repair your father’s Internet.