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455 posts

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#272861 21-Jul-2020 10:23
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We have a client who had some local MS SQL hosted, desktop based software (health records) (Vendor1) and then moved to a online terminalservices hosted version (provided by Vendor1 as well) during lockdown, and then have moved again to a proper browser based cloud application (Vendor2).

 

When moving from local to hosted version of software (Vendor1) they provided a backup of their SQL db which was then moved to the hosted server.

 

They want to get an export of their data, ie the full Microsoft SQL database from the online hosted version to restore back to their local SQL server as a backup. This would allow them to run their desktop software connecting to their own SQL server again incase they need to check any historical records.

 

Vendor1 has said they are not licensed to the structure of the SQL database, so are refusing to provide an SQL backup. Obviously the data is theirs, and they are licensed to run SQL Express, but Vendor1 is still saying they can't have it.

 

Vendor1 has provided an export via CSV, which contains 100+ CSV files (export of the tables from SQL) and 10,000+ image files. Clearly manual cross referencing is impossible.

 

Is there any validity to this claim? Can you license the structure of your SQL DB?

 

It would make sense if the hosted database was multi-tenanted, but I don't think that is the case.


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BDFL - Memuneh
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  #2526430 21-Jul-2020 11:12
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They could claim the database structure is integral part of their IP - only the data belongs to the client... 





 

 

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  #2526431 21-Jul-2020 11:15
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In theory, yes. It would depend on the EULA or contract signed.

 

It wouldn't be a MS limitation, rather the vendor who built the schema (structure) for the database, as it would be proprietary information. Not unreasonable in my view.


 
 
 
 


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  #2526436 21-Jul-2020 11:17
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Again, IANAL - if you decide to go down the legal route, contact a technology-focused law firm.





 

 

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  #2526437 21-Jul-2020 11:18
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It's a thing, IIRC the DB Schema is IP and covered under copyright at the very least and terms of the license. Not sure I've ever seen/heard it proven in court tho





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  #2526450 21-Jul-2020 11:33
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Looking at this as an outsider, it seems wrong. If I'm understanding correctly, the customer supplied the company with a backup of the existing data, for use in a hosted version of the same product. It's therefore reasonable to assume that the schema would remain the same (or at least very similar). The customer is now requesting what is essentially an updated 'version' of the same thing it originally supplied, and is being told no.

 

While there is most likely something in the small print about it, I can certainly see why this has come as a surprise.




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  #2526494 21-Jul-2020 12:37
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Behodar:

 

Looking at this as an outsider, it seems wrong. If I'm understanding correctly, the customer supplied the company with a backup of the existing data, for use in a hosted version of the same product. It's therefore reasonable to assume that the schema would remain the same (or at least very similar). The customer is now requesting what is essentially an updated 'version' of the same thing it originally supplied, and is being told no.

 

While there is most likely something in the small print about it, I can certainly see why this has come as a surprise.

 

 

Yes this exactly. They want to roll back to running the desktop version (which they purchased many years ago) as an archive using their most current data set.

 

They still have a copy of the database on their own SQL server, it's just 4 months out of date with missing new patient data.


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  #2526498 21-Jul-2020 12:41
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Yes they may be a bit brassed off about only hosting for a short time, but if there was no term contract then that's on them.

 

If you don't have any luck through normal means, consider pulling out the big guns:

 

- Disputes Tribunal
- Contacting one of the Board members and asking for their help to resolve the problem.





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  #2526499 21-Jul-2020 12:43
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Delphinus:

 

Behodar:

 

Looking at this as an outsider, it seems wrong. If I'm understanding correctly, the customer supplied the company with a backup of the existing data, for use in a hosted version of the same product. It's therefore reasonable to assume that the schema would remain the same (or at least very similar). The customer is now requesting what is essentially an updated 'version' of the same thing it originally supplied, and is being told no.

 

While there is most likely something in the small print about it, I can certainly see why this has come as a surprise.

 

 

Yes this exactly. They want to roll back to running the desktop version (which they purchased many years ago) as an archive using their most current data set.

 

They still have a copy of the database on their own SQL server, it's just 4 months out of date with missing new patient data.

 

 

Are the versions the same? Newer versions may have schema changes meaning it's not compatible to restore without an upgrade.


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  #2526502 21-Jul-2020 12:49
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My reading of this is;

 

1) Originally the solution was thick client on premise connecting to local SQL server - Vendor 1

 

2) They moved to hosted/terminal services (ie thick client via RDP or similar) connecting to SQL server (on the hosted infrastructure) - Vendor 1

 

3) They have now moved to a proper web based client from Vendor 2 - connecting to what database? Is this the same database?

 

Given its a new web client it may not be the same database as its a new vendor. If its the same database then I'd say its fair game as you previously had access to the database (& schema)

 

If vendor 2 has new IP in there to support the web client then you'll need to read the fine print.

 

Ive come across some asset management systems which lock you out of the SQL database becuase they deam this to be proprietary. Make its difficult to integrate with outher systems.

 

 




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  #2526504 21-Jul-2020 12:56
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networkn:

 

Are the versions the same? Newer versions may have schema changes meaning it's not compatible to restore without an upgrade.

 

 

Would be minor step releases if anything, and client would be happy to pay for the upgrade if necessary.

 

 

 

tchart:

 

My reading of this is;

 

1) Originally the solution was thick client on premise connecting to local SQL server - Vendor 1

 

2) They moved to hosted/terminal services (ie thick client via RDP or similar) connecting to SQL server (on the hosted infrastructure) - Vendor 1

 

3) They have now moved to a proper web based client from Vendor 2 - connecting to what database? Is this the same database?

 

Given its a new web client it may not be the same database as its a new vendor. If its the same database then I'd say its fair game as you previously had access to the database (& schema)

 

If vendor 2 has new IP in there to support the web client then you'll need to read the fine print.

 

Ive come across some asset management systems which lock you out of the SQL database because they deam this to be proprietary. Make its difficult to integrate with outher systems.

 

 

Correct on 1-3, just the new web based client is using a completely new database. Definitely not the same database. Think of it like moving from Quickbooks to Xero. Different companies, different platform, different structure.

 

Data has been imported into the new web client from the CSV's provided. They just want piece of mind incase something was missed. Ie be able to access the legacy thick client hosted on premise.

 

 

 

At the end of the day, they already have the database schema that is being debated, hosted on their own server. It's just 4 months out of date.


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  #2526506 21-Jul-2020 12:57
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If there are no difference in the schema (hard to prove with hosting in different platforms and versions), I would say the provided is angling for a "migration service" fee here...





 

 

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Ultimate Geek


  #2526507 21-Jul-2020 12:59
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freitasm:

 

If there are no difference in the schema (hard to prove with hosting in different platforms and versions), I would say the provided is angling for a "migration service" fee here...

 

 

Definitely this. They have been dragging their feet for weeks. Missing files in the export etc etc.


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  #2526510 21-Jul-2020 13:10
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Does Vendor2 cloud based service even use a MSSQL server database?
You may have given them a MSSQL backup, but they may have imported this into some other type of database that better suits their cloud based application.




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  #2526512 21-Jul-2020 13:12
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djtOtago:

 

Does Vendor2 cloud based service even use a MSSQL server database?
You may have given them a MSSQL backup, but they may have imported this into some other type of database that better suits their cloud based application.

 

 

Vendor2 doesn't use MSSQL. Data was imported into Vendor2 from the CSV's provided by vendor1.

 

Only reason we want the MSSQL export is to continue running the legacy purchased software as it was being run up until March.


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  #2526513 21-Jul-2020 13:14
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I have no idea where it stands legally, but it's certainly not unheard of, nor is it necessarily about angling for extra fees. One of my former employers had the same policy, unlike the situation here however the databases were cloud hosted and the end users didn't/couldn't access them directly. If you stopped being a customer and wanted your data exported, you got pretty much what OP describes, a whole bunch of CSV's and associated asset files. At least part of the reason for that was the way the product stored things internally was.. esoteric.. and having exported CSV's and asset files was actually much more useful to the customers. (the CSV's and files were not straight dumps, they were very much generated).





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