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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    4

    Which kind of database is the right choice for a Cloud Based PMS system?

    Hello,

    It's my first post here so please be kind

    We are a startup company that we want to create a new SaaS Cloud PMS (Property Management System) for small hotels and properties. Also we create a website for booking. The scope is to be able after our solution is well established to provide automatically personal suggestions to our customers.
    Since we are on the designing phase we want to create it with latest standards in dbms to be able to be expandable and support big data, analytics etc that it will give us
    a competitive advantage.

    We have received proposals from different Software Development companies that some of them have proposed different kind of databases.
    And my questions are the following:
    1) How we can choose between relational, non-relational databases or even graph databases?
    What factors should we evaluate while choosing?
    2) What are the extra cost of choosing a nonSQL database? We think that if we choose a more exotic "database" other than the SQL we would have
    problems finding locals to maintain and update our projects.
    3) Are there any companies that act like independent consultants that can consult us on the pros or cons and design the perfect fit for us
    for the database issues and the big data analytics?
    We have found some but most of them seem really big companies that will not deal with a small client like us.
    4) Is a database written on mySQL and have a Hadoop System comparable with a non relational database?

    Please let me know since we are "newbies" on that any other concerns that we should have while deciding.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    It isn't possible to give good advice for these kinds of questions without a lot more insight into what you've covered in class. Is this for an IT/Computer Science class, or is it a business class? Very different levels of experience and insight would be expected from a business major versus a computer science major.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
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    May 2014
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    4
    Pat thank you for your answer. This i actually a real business case.

  4. #4
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    Ok, you have an extremely unique perspective for someone who manages properties or even software development companies. Unless you plan to write the code yourself (which is a fool's errand for a manager), these details are better left to the people who will use them directly. Let's see what I can do to help...

    How will your PMS be different than the ones that already exist? What features and benefits will your system offer that aren't readily available from one or more of the other PMS systems which already exist? This really needs to be your primary focus, since this will determine the feature set needed which will in turn govern much of the design and implementation of the final product.

    What legal jurisdictions do you plan to support? It is surprising the complexity that comes from the need to support the often conflicting Property Management laws in different jurisdictions. Cloud based products need to be able to support many (if not all) legal jurisdictions, and especially in healthcare and housing this is both challenging and expensive due to oversight requirements.

    In order to create the most cost effective package, the questions that you raise really need to be handled by your application design team. You are trying to do work comparable to choosing appliances before you determine which property you purchase or which building materials you'll use before you know what work needs to be done. You are getting the steps out of order, and that will limit your choices and eventually cost you a lot of unnecessary money.

    To address your points in sequence:

    1. From your perspective it does not matter which database engine your application architect chooses. As a user, you shouldn't need to care about details that far into the process.
    2. There is no difference in cost unless you plan to develop the system more than once. You will only use one database engine and will be paying either a fixed price for purchase or an ongoing price for maintenance... From your perspective there is no cost you can assign directly to the database engine.
    3. Yes, there are.
    4. Yes.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    4
    Pat very clear answer.
    As you understand I can't go public with the differences that our system will have from others, for obvious reasons.

    However I have to mention some points that will make our conversation and your precious help more accurate.
    1) The property management we will develop is specifically for the hotel industry,
    2) Our distribution channel it will be completely different from all the others
    3) The PMS will have also be connected with booking portals, and mobile application for end users
    4) We want the end users (tourist) of our clients to have a unique personalized experience while staying at a place, with specific recommendations based on his previous purchases, his preferences, his current location or destination location and his lifestyle.

    For all that reasons we want to create something that to be able to have a competitive advantage against present or future PMS systems, we believe the database architecture will play a significant role in that. That's why we want to see extensively our solutions.

    We are thinking between MySQL, Couchbase, and MongoDB. But we can't evaluate deeply the differences and see with whom we should go. Another very interesting solution (but very confusing for us) is Neo4j.

    What do think about those solutions?

    Also can you please let us know if you know any independent db and big data consulting firms, and if you have past experience doing business with anyone of them?

    On MySQL with Hadoop what do you believe it will be the difference, comparing with the others?

    Please feel free to ask me if you have any further questions.

  6. #6
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    The next question that comes to my mind is scale. Typically a PMS has an emphasis on the property, things like condominium or apartment complexes or at least MFDs (Multiple Family Dwellings). What you are describing sounds more like a CMS or GMS (Guest Management System), which does a similar task but with a radically different focus and completely different goals, requirements, etc.

    While it is good that you're interested in the underlying technology, you need to find a partner who can help you to build and more importantly maintain your software before you get into what platform it will run upon. In the same sense that you wouldn't be smart to dictate choices of materials to your building architect, you wouldn't be smart to dictate the choices of operating system, database, app or web server hardware, etc. to your application architect... Find good people who can implement your vision, then get out of their way... They will almost always amaze you!

    All of the major database players are experimenting with HADOOP and Big Data, but I don't know of anyone that has built a transactional system on it. HADOOP is being used for research and analysis, not for booking or accounting.

    From my perspective, Microsoft has the best overall grasp on "big data" because they make the Visual Studio tools to program around it, a data platform (SQL Server, Analysis Server, and other tools that will release this week) to query big data, and a platform (Azure) to manage big data.

    IBM offers a number of well integrated tools, and they can handle data of almost arbitrary size. If yoiu have the budget, IBM can help you build a solution!

    Many other vendors offer great tools for dealing with both Big Data and Relational Databases. Some are vertical market specific (like MUMPS in healthcare or Pick in a few industries).

    You really need to focus on finding the right folks to help you now instead of picking the tools that you want them to use. I have worked with databases for nearly forty years (I started working with data before I started driving a car). I still work with some data from mainframes that no longer exist, using operating systems that no longer run, and languages that few people have even heard of, but the data still lives on in both DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server.

    Don't get hung up on details like OS, database, etc. Focus on your current needs and your data, these are where you can add the most value to the system today. Five years ago, people would have directed you to PCs running applications. Ten years ago they might have directed you to a mini computer with terminals. Today they might recommend a tablet or a web browser... These things come and go and while they seem "whiz bang" and critically important today, they'll be an amusing memory in a decade.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
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    the problem is that to find the right partner you have to know to propose him the right architecture. At least the most offshore development center work this way.

    Thank you for your help, appreciated.

  8. #8
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    I'm pretty sure that you're dealing with offshore companies that want to implement a design, not to help you create a design. These are probably good companies, but they seem to be a very poor fit for your current needs.

    Based on my experience, you need to hire a local architect who will sit with you and work out what your vision is and how they can/would implement that vision. You deal with concepts and the business end of your idea. You need an architect who can bridge the gap between your skill set and the skills of the folks that will actually "mount your idea on metal" and configure/program/whatever to make that vision a reality.

    Entrepreneurs and other business people need to work with people who speak both business and geek. Those people can handle the design issues, selection of the team or teams needed to make the designs work, etc. and while they are very expensive resources they bring much more to the table than what it costs to have them sitting at the table.

    You really need an application architect, not a bunch of coders or platform evangelists!

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  9. #9
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    Jun 2003
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    Toronto, Canada
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    Quote Originally Posted by FD3S View Post
    .... relational, non-relational databases or even graph databases .... extra cost of choosing a nonSQL database... big data analytics... Hadoop System ... non relational database
    In my view, the application as you describe it does not require anything beyond a simple relational (SQL) database, despite whatever buzzwords your potential implementers throw at you. And you're nowhere near "big data" or Hadoop territory. By the time you begin approaching the limits of MySQL you will have your own CIO on payroll, who will be able design appropriate expansion of your system.


    You probably should follow Pat Phelan's advice to hire an application architect to lay out two-three potential application and infrastructure designs, choose the one you like most and use it as the guideline when requesting and evaluating application development services.
    ---
    "It does not work" is not a valid problem statement.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    40
    Hi

    I have over 1,200 Data Models on my Database Answers Web Site.
    Here is one for Hotel Reservations that might give you some ideas on how to move ahead -
    Data Model for Hotel Reservations

    I am also developing a Cloud-based Operational Support Service for small hotels that you might find interesting.

    You can contact me directly on dba_requests@barryw.org.

    HTH

    Barry in London

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