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Computer "scientist"

Alex Clemmer is a computer programmer. Other programmers love Alex, excitedly describing him as "employed here" and "the boss's son".

Alex is also a Hacker School alum. Surely they do not at all regret admitting him!

FoundationDB proves your primary datastore is the worst place in your stack to bet on new tech

March 24, 2015

FoundationDB has been acquired by Apple. A notice on their community site explains that they have pulled download links, and their client libraries now return 404 on GitHub.

To database customers, this is a good lesson: assuming FDB did not coordinate with customers ahead of time, this instantly cost at least some FDB customers millions of dollars. It will be months of painful work to migrate, and now they must abandon the person-years of operational expertise they worked hard to accumulate.

Learn from their pain. The worst possible place to take a risk in your production applications is your primary datastore, and that is especially true if it is client-facing. If you incur catastrophic data loss, or if the company goes under, it might cost you your entire business.

This is just a simple example of a trend: trusting a company to handle all of your mission-critical client data is a huge commitment, and when you evaluate options, you need to be truly paranoid. You must ask hard questions, like will I ever lose data? Are the people trustworthy? How do I know, and what guarantees do I have? Your fate is in their hands.

To database makers, this is a cautionary tale: do not be that company. When companies trust you with something as critical as this, it is your moral imperative to be a good citizen. You would do well to go beyond goodwill, and make formal ongoing support a commitment for a couple of years out, at least.

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