Pervasive releases customised version PostgreSQL database

Pervasive Software, best known for embedded databases aimed at medium-sized businesses, is making the leap into the enterprise with a customised version of the open-source PostgreSQL database.

Pervasive Postgres, available for trial immediately and set for final release next month, is a way for enterprises to take advantage of high-quality, commodified open source-software while escaping some of the limitations of the far better-known MySQL AB's MySQL, Pervasive said on Monday. Pervasive is the first big player to give its backing to PostgreSQL, while MySQL is supported by hundreds of companies, including SAP Aktiengesellschaft, Novell and Embarcadero Technologies.

What PostgreSQL does have is some enterprise features MySQL currently lacks, such as views, triggers, stored procedures, and grid security, the company said, making it easier to port existing applications from offerings like Oracle or DB2. "Pervasive Postgres will be the most advanced and consumable open source alternative for mainstream business applications," said Pervasive Chief Executive Officer David Sikora, in a statement.

Another plus is PostgreSQL's BSD licence, Pervasive said, which allows royalty-free use in a commercial setting - commercial MySQL users must purchase a licence. The upcoming Pervasive offering will be based on PostgreSQL version 8, the first to provide fully native Windows support. PostgreSQL 8.0 and MySQL 5.0 are both set to arrive this month.

As with other open source business models, Pervasive will offer the database for free and charge for a range of support packages, ranging from US$99 to US$4,999 per year per server. Pervasive technicians will be available for five-day engagements to migrate customers from Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL and other databases, and the company will offer custom development, tuning and training services.

Besides services, the company promises a full suite of integrated software and a roadmap for future improvements, beginning with automated installation and simple administration tools. All its improvements will be contributed back to the PostgreSQL development community.

Pervasive's move is important for PostgreSQL, which until now has had no major corporate leadership, according to industry observers.

"By offering commercial support and services, Pervasive can only help to grow the PostgreSQL market," said Gavin Sherry, an Australian PostgreSQL contributor and consultant. "They have joined a group of major software vendors, including Fujitsu, Software Research Associates and Red Hat, who see an excellent future for PostgreSQL," he said.

The trial software is available from the company's website.

Open-source databases are following a similar path to Linux in the enterprise, according to industry observers, starting from low-end uses and moving up gradually into more important parts of the business. No single company controls an open-source project, and development is shared amongst enthusiasts and employees of various companies. In theory, and increasingly in practice, this development model can provide a low-cost, commodified replacement for much enterprise software infrastructure, analysts say.

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