Thursday, August 21, 2008

Managing Continuous Database Integration with Red Gate. Part I. "The Bitching"

Red Gate tools will do whatever you can imagine you would need while developing, deploying and maintaining a database-backed software. The products are great but unfortunately marketing types clearly took over the company.

I have never seen so ridiculously confusing pricing and licensing policies - we've spend few weeks in negotiations and still it is unclear how what they sell is mapped to what we actually need. And why we have to pay additional $2500 to use a command-line of the package for which we've already paid $1000? The "Red Gate market segmentation" translates from Redgate Marketuanian as "marketing department job security".

Even if you went through an extortion a purchasing transaction the frustration is far from over. The installation application is a wreck of the functionality. Site would tell you that for our task we need the SQL Comparison SDK, which is priced and marketed as a stand-alone application. But it is not available as a separate download - it is part of a SQL Toolbelt which is priced much higher. If you downloaded Toolbelt and installed only SDK you will end up with a single "Getting started" HTML page, no DLLs. Duh!

2 comments:

Simon Galbraith said...

Michael,
We've just changed the way our SDK is presented to customers and I'm sorry that it is confusing. I'd love to speak to you directly to understand what you've found confusing so that we can prevent others getting as annoyed and frustrated as you are. I don't know where you got the price of an "additional $2500" - if you were to buy all 10 tools in the toolbelt, including the SDK, it would cost $1600 and as someone upgrading it is likely that you would receive some sort of significant discount depending on what and when you bought (our website has a special form for this). We do try to be transparent and clear so it is a little unpleasant to hear that your experiences led you to the opposite conclusion. Never the less I'm really grateful since there is no more useful feedback than that which you didn't want to hear.
The company was founded and is still run by two of us - Neil Davidson (developer) and me ("Redgate Marketuanian") - there has been no take over or similar. Believe it or not the recent changes to our SDK presentation were a development led intiative - we marketers have just not kept up with the changes. All of our SQL tools are in just one download, this decision was to make it easier for our customers (e.g. one EULA for 10 products etc). The SDK is particulary challenging as a "product" because the SDK allows you to access the engines of SQL Compare, SQL Data Compare and SQL Packager. We can't offer a download of just the "SDK" since these products need to be installed too. (This is not an excuse, if you found it confusing that is our problem and our challenge to fix).
Thanks for taking the time to write about this. If you'd like me to look into this personally then please let me know (simon.galbraith(at)red-gate.com).
Simon Galbraith
Joint CEO
Red Gate Software

Michael Goldobin said...

Now I feel obligated to respond with a special post.


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