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EnterpriseDB (which is the name of both the company and the product) is normally thought of, by those who have merely heard of it, as being yet another of the open source database vendors. However, this is not the case. As its name suggests, the company is focused on providing an enterprise-class relational database and it charges for its product and it charges for support and it charges for all the other things that you would expect an enterprise software vendor to charge for. Where it differs from the mainstream database vendors is that it a) charges a lot less and b) is based on open source database technology.
Specifically, EnterpriseDB is based on PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB is also a significant contributor to the ongoing development of PostgreSQL. However, it has also built additional capability on top of PostgreSQL which is, if you like, the secret sauce behind the product.
The first thing that EnterpriseDB has done is to introduce Oracle compatibility. The aim here is to allow Oracle applications to run against EnterpriseDB without change; so all of your PL/SQL, all of user defined functions and datatypes, all of your triggers and so on, will all run against EnterpriseDB without change. In practice, of course, this is not perfect. The company estimates that around 75% of its Oracle migrations (it also has customers that have migrated from SQL Server, DB2 and MySQL) have required no changes at all but there remains a rump of 25% that do need some changes, typically when these companies are using RAC or the OCI interface or other advanced Oracle features, though we can expect EnterpriseDB to address these issues in future releases.
The second thing that EnterpriseDB has done (and this it will be feeding back into the PostgreSQL community) is to significantly improve the performance of the database, quoting enhancements of between 50 and 200% to the point where the company reckons that EnterpriseDB is at least as fast as, if not faster than, Oracle. And, thirdly, the company has added tools for migration, browsing (to look at schemas, tables and so on) and management and monitoring.
Next, I should mention EnterpriseDB’s support, which is based in the USA, UK and Pakistan to provide true 24×7 coverage. In this context it is also worth noting that the company also provides professional support services for pure PostgreSQL users as well as training and other services.
Of course, EnterpriseDB does not have all of the bells and whistles of Oracle, though it did win the LinuxWorld Best Database Award in both 2005 and 2006. But then, not everybody needs all of those features. To quote Vonage (the VoIP provider), which is an EnterpriseDB customer: “Oracle is a sledgehammer, MySQL is a small hammer—we needed something in-between”. On the other hand, as I have already said, the price point for EnterpriseDB is much lower: Sony Online Entertainment estimates that it will save $1m per year by running on EnterpriseDB rather than Oracle.
To conclude, this looks like a significant play. The company only started seriously selling its product last year and it already has around 100 customers. Small beer compared to Oracle, of course, but with plenty of potential to grow.