EnterpriseDB: not the IBM news

Philip Howard

Written By:
Published: 28th April, 2008
Content Copyright © 2008 Bloor. All Rights Reserved.

Large quantities of newsprint (and its electronic equivalent) have been devoted recently to IBM's investment into EnterpriseDB but of much more interest are the product announcements that the company made towards the end of last month.

Historically, EnterpriseDB positioned itself as an Oracle replacement based on the PostgreSQL open source database. However, the company has (belatedly?) realised that such a stance has meant that it has missed opportunities with companies that did not previously use, or want to replace, an Oracle database. The company has therefore re-structured its product line and marketing.

There are now three major offerings: PostgreSQL, which is the standard version of the database, for which EnterpriseDB provides support, value added services and so forth; Postgres Plus, which is still fully open source but has additional components such as parameterised installation tuning (depending on the use and workload), connection management (you can reuse open connections), DBA monitoring and distributed memory caching; and Postgres Plus Advanced Server, which is the equivalent of the old EnterpriseDB product that includes a number of further features such as (more) advanced DBA monitoring and workload profiling as well as optional Oracle compatibility features (which have been considerably extended in this release). These are collectively known as the Postgres Plus Family.

In other words, the company not only wants to be in the Oracle replacement business but also wants to compete for general-purpose open source database implementations.

Apart from the Postgres Plus Family there are two further products worth discussing: Postgres Studio and GridSQL. The former is aimed at developers and DBAs, with a visual database designer and an integrated debugger; further facilities to support developers will be announced in due course.

GridSQL was originally announced last August but EnterpriseDB has now open sourced it as a part of Postgres Plus. What it does is to provide a shared nothing parallel architecture, with partitioning, for fast query processing. It is not a competitor to Oracle RAC not least because it does not have high availability features, though the company could move the product in that direction. Perhaps more interestingly, it represents a potential competitor to Greenplum if somebody was to take this technology and develop a special-purpose data warehousing offering around it.

And while on the topic of data warehousing here's an interesting question: if EnterpriseDB's main claim to fame is that you can run Oracle applications without change against Postgres Plus Advanced Server; and if Dataupia makes the same claim with respect to data warehousing, then can you run Dataupia against Postgres Plus Advanced Server? Nobody knows the answer because nobody has tried it, but it raises intriguing possibilities.

To return to EnterpriseDB: this is a major release, not just in the product re-positioning but also in the new features (the surface of which I have only skimmed lightly) that the company has introduced. Given PostgreSQL's superior transaction processing capabilities when compared to MySQL, and the relative lack of market noise from Ingres (at least at present), then EnterpriseDB should be able to make significant market gains in the months to come.

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