EnterpriseDB circles local database buyers

Start-up mixes open source and proprietary business models

Database buyers will soon have another number to dial with the open source PostgreSQL-based EnterpriseDB outlining its plans to enter the local market.

The New Jersey-based EnterpriseDB began as a low-cost alternative to the big four database vendors, specifically targeting Oracle compatibility.

After opening an Asia Pacific regional office in Hong Kong, EnterpriseDB now has its sights set on Australia and New Zealand and plans to open an office in Sydney in a few months.

In Sydney to visit customers, EnterpriseDB president and CEO Andy Astor believes the company's flagship product of the same name is capable of hosting about 80 percent of Oracle applications without any modification.

"I've seen for too long database technology unable to talk to each other," Astor said. EnterpriseDB is built on the open source PostgreSQL database but itself is not open source and includes proprietary Oracle compatibility and management tools.

"Open source is a development model, not a services model."

That said, Astor takes pride in having 18 PostgreSQL contributors on EntepriseDB's payroll who contribute code back to the open source version.

In addition to licensing its proprietary add-ons, EnterpriseDB also offers enterprise-grade support for the vanilla PostgreSQL database.

Back in March 2004, Astor surveyed the open source database landscape and concluded PostreSQL was the most "enterprise ready". He said it was a lot of work to achieve "deep compatibility" with Oracle, but because it has the lion's share of the database market it was decided compatibility was necessary.

Nearly three years and $US30 million of venture funding later, Astor now claims EnterpriseDB to be returning sales "in the millions of dollars".

"There is no upfront licence fee and the subscription costs are lower than proprietary databases," he said, adding EnterpriseDB is licensed per socket.

A confident Astor claimed the industry is about to witness the "disruption of the Oligopoly" in the database market and estimates 80 percent savings over five years compared with Oracle.

"At Vonage they are using PostgreSQL as an intermediate between MySQL and Oracle," he said.

One EnterpriseDB customer is Sydney-based open source consulting firm Customware.

Customware's chief technologist, Robert Castaneda, said when the company started in 2001 it used mostly open source software but has now consolidated its databases on EnterpriseDB.

Customware's clients include Johnson&Johnson, Sony Australia, and Macquarie Bank.

"EnterpriseDB is not expensive and take a lot of complexity out of database management," Castaneda said.

Castaneda is also confident of not being locked into EnterpriseDB, which can import and export data to and from PostgreSQL without modification.

Customware's business is focused on integration along with people-to-people communication with Wikis.

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