Charlie Babcock of InformationWeek is reporting results of a Sun survey that finds PostgreSQL to perform just 12% lower than Oracle on similarly-priced hardware. Not bad.
The database, of course, is not "similarly priced." The punchline, therefore, is that customers who pony up seven figures for their Oracle databases may well find that $0.00 can deliver near-equivalent performance. If only CIOs were paid based on the savings they generate while still cranking out hefty IT performance, many IT professionals might find open source databases like PostgreSQL under their Christmas trees.
As an added benefit, they'd actually be able to afford to put other gifts under the tree, as well.
Now, let's be fair. Oracle provides more than just software. It provides excellent support and deserves a hefty plate of purchase orders. I'm just not sure it deserves orders of the magnitude to which it has grown accustomed.
We also shouldn't put absolute confidence in this benchmark (or others - they're notoriously skewed). But given PostgreSQL's reputation for being sluggish, this is a definite step in the right direction.