EnterpriseDB makes big strides in database world

Smaller-than-Oracle, bigger-than-MySQL is a perfect fit for some

VoIP provider Vonage is deploying an open source database from EnterpriseDB, complementing its existing Oracle and MySQL databases.

Vonage has already ported part of its ticketing system for managing customer support from MySQL to EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, says Tim Smith, president of Vonage Network. The software is running on T1000 and T2000 servers from Sun Microsystems using the OpenSolaris operating system — so far without any problems.

Vonage is also looking “fairly seriously” at moving its multi-terabyte billing records database from Oracle 9 to EnterpriseDB, Smith says.

Smith says he likes EnterpriseDB because it offers much of the power of Oracle, including compatibility with Oracle applications, but at the price of the open source MySQL. “Oracle is a sledgehammer. MySQL is a small hammer. We needed something in between,” he says.

Gaining a foothold in Vonage is the latest win for EnterpriseDB, which has been on a roll since launching a little more than a year ago. It says it now has about 45 customers using its database, which is a customised version of the PostGreSQL open source database optimised for high-transaction environments, according to Enterprise DB’s chief executive Andy Astor. Its list of customers includes Sony Online, which replaced Oracle databases with EnterpriseDB for core online gaming systems and Agri Stats, which swapped out IBM DB2 databases.

PostGres also counts about 15 partners, including Sun, which in early August selected EnterpriseDB to provide support for copies of PostGreSQL bundled into servers running Sun’s Solaris 10 operating system.

EnterpriseDB that month also won US$20 million (NZ$29 million) in financing, bringing the total amount of financing it has received up to US$28.5 million.

Due to its low support prices, which range from US$1 to US$5,000 per processor per year, EnterpriseDB competes with other open source database providers such as Ingres, MySQL and GreenPlum Software, which has also developed a custom version of PostGreSQL.

Due to its strong compatibility with Oracle applications, three-quarters of the deployments have been at companies that are heavy Oracle users, says Astor. “They are adding to their infrastructure, building new applications or even leveraging us as a second source,” he says.

That makes sense to Forrester analyst Noel Yuhanna, who says open source databases such as EnterpriseDB are making a lot of headway in organisations’ less-critical applications.

“A lot of enterprises are looking at open source databases. But they are wondering how they can minimise the impact on their applications to keep migration costs down,” he says.

EnterpriseDB goes a long way towards solving that problem, Yuhanna says, because more than 80% of Oracle applications can run “seamlessly” with EnterpriseDB.

Vonage’s Smith agrees. EnterpriseDB is “more or less compatible with Oracle”, requires minimal retraining for his Oracle database administrators and costs about one-fifth the price, he says.

Those savings gains, combined with competent performance and scalability, are why Vonage is seriously looking at moving its billing database, which stores billions of heavily-accessed call data records, to EnterpriseDB, says Smith.

“There are lots of small records,” he says. “We’re not too worried about the table size; we just want to be comfortable that we can hammer it [EnterpriseDB] with a load.”

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