LINUXWORLD - EnterpriseDB releases PostgreSQL distribution

EnterpriseDB has released a new of the PostgreSQL open-source database

EnterpriseDB has released a new distribution of the PostgreSQL open-source database, hoping to expand the use of the software and compete better with MySQL.

The distribution, called EnterpriseDB Postgres, bundles the most recent version of PostgreSQL with 12 of the most widely used add-ons for the software, including tools for cryptography, security, full-text searching and replication.

By offering all the software in a single file that's easy to install, along with a new community Web site for developers, EnterpriseDB hopes to attract new users to the open-source database, said Derek Rodner, the company's director of product strategy.

EnterpriseDB's own product, EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, is built on top of PostgreSQL but is not open source. The company sells its software with add-ons it has developed to provide compatibility with Oracle's database. Those add-ons are proprietary and not part of the new distribution.

Expanding the user community around PostgreSQL could help EnterpriseDB to gain more customers for its own product, which so far has about 125 customers. Just last month it announced that Ticketline in the U.K. had switched from PostgreSQL to its EnterpriseDB Advanced Server.

"What we're trying to do is ride the tide of PostgreSQL. It has been around for more than a decade and it's considered to be a rock-solid database that's ready for mission-critical OLTP applications, but in some senses it has suffered because it doesn't have a company behind it like you have with MySQL," Rodner said, referring to the open-source database market leader.

One question now is whether the PostgreSQL community will embrace the new distribution. EnterpriseDB managed to upset some PostgreSQL supporters last month when it suggested in a news release that its own software was superior to the open source product on which it is based. Joshua Drake, who works for the PostgreSQL support company Command Prompt, called the suggestion "cow dung."

But Magnus Hagander, a member of the Swedish chapter of the PostgreSQL community, said on Tuesday that he thinks the distribution will be well received.

"I personally welcome it, and I think the majority of the community will," he said via e-mail. "It appears to be a completely open-source offering basically bundling together different popular community projects. This will help users who are unfamiliar with the different PostgreSQL parts to get started."

Jay Lyman, an analyst with The 451 Group, said the improved packaging and 10-minute installation time EnterpriseDB is claiming are impressive. "Still, MySQL is the open-source database of choice for many developers and that will likely continue," he said.

EnterpriseDB Postgres is all open source, with each piece retaining its original license, which in most cases is the BSD license. The only piece that EnterpriseDB added is the installer itself, Rodner said. The distribution will be available for all the platforms that PostgreSQL supports, starting with 32-bit and 64-bit Linux, and Windows.

Also Tuesday, EnterpriseDB released an add-on product for EnterpriseDB Advanced Server that lets companies run a business intelligence application across a cluster of low-cost database servers, instead of using a data warehouse on a single large server, which it says is more costly.

Called GridSQL, the software is available in beta and expected to be generally available in the fourth quarter, when pricing will be announced, Rodner said. It's designed for use with business intelligence software from the likes of Business Objects and Cognos, Rodner said.

Database grid technologies, like Oracle's Real Application Clusters, are typically used to boost performance in OLTP (online transaction processing) applications or for back-up and disaster recovery. GridSQL is optimized for OLAP (online analytical processing), a common part of business intelligence.

The product will open new markets for EnterpriseDB but also bring it new competitors such as Greenplum, Lyman of The 451 Group noted. Like EnterpriseDB, Greenplum's database uses a "shared nothing" architecture to run business intelligence queries across a pool of low-cost servers.

EnterpriseDB is showing GridSQL at the LinuxWorld show in San Francisco Tuesday, where the product announcements were made.

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