July 13, 2005 4:00 AM PDT

Database vendors eye open-source effect

In what's become almost a yearly ritual, the big three database suppliers--Oracle, IBM and Microsoft--are prepping major product releases meant to steal away one another's customers.

But unlike previous competitive cycles, this time around the entrenched suppliers are eyeing the threat posed by a growing number of open-source alternatives, particularly on the low end.

Market leader Oracle fired its latest salvo on Monday when it released Oracle 10g release 2, an upgrade to its "grid" database that adds better security and management.


What's new:
Oracle, IBM and Microsoft are releasing major upgrades of their databases with advanced features, as a handful of open-source companies try to enter the low end of the market.

Bottom line:
The entrenched database vendors are focusing on automation, simplicity and management features to stave off competition from upstart open-source companies.

More stories on databases

IBM's response is code-named Viper, the next major edition of its DB2 database, due in the second half of next year.

The company intends to begin an "open beta" program in August or September for Viper, which is now being tested with a small number of customers, according to an IBM representative.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will make its delayed SQL Server 2005 database generally available on Nov. 7.

Combined, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft last year garnered more than three-quarters of the dollars spent on corporate databases, according to market researcher IDC.

But despite the big three's commanding presence, several upstart database companies are making a go at the relational database industry, counting on open-source products and business models to lure away customers.

Open-source database company MySQL reports that its revenue doubled last year, to about $25 million. Meanwhile, since the beginning of this year three companies--Pervasive Software, EnterpriseDB and GreenPlum--have launched commercial database businesses around the PostgreSQL open-source database.

Locked up?
The entrenched players are not suffering massive revenue loss to these open-source start-ups. Oracle, in fact, highlighted database and database add-on sales in its strong fourth-quarter earnings report last month.

But the effects of open-source pricing and products are already being felt, according to Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"The pressure is on and is starting to build up," Yuhanna said. Established database vendors "will be lowering prices in large deals, probably offering more discounts just from the pressure of open source."

Typically, open-source companies charge corporate customers for

Page 1 | 2


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Open Source DBs innovate, not only commoditize
I think it is shortsighted to see open source products only as a mean to commoditize software. Open source software is often better and/or more innovative than closed source offerings because they have a much larger community behind them. Examples are PostgreSQL, probably the most reliable ORDBMS (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.postgresql.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.postgresql.org</a>), and db4o, the open source object database (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.db4o.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.db4o.com</a>), that has put native object-oriented persistence back onto the map by means of being open source.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Incomplete quote???
"We think the market is so mature, and frankly the products so overpriced and complex, it really is a market," said Andy Astor, CEO of EnterpriseDB, which launched in May.

"... it really is a market,?????"
Posted by (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MySQL hasen't reached into the enterprise world yet due impart to it's lack of features. However, the next version (5.x) promises a lot, but not all, of those features. I know that these "other" DBs don't really have all the bells and whistles of some of the commercial apps, but for me I don't use them anyway.

I will stick with MySQL. It's just easy to setup and use. Has lots of support and is getting all the features that make a good enterprise class DB.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of the paragraphs in the article is "One of the major planned features for Viper is the ability to store and index XML documents natively, rather than having to reformat, or "shred," XML documents into a relational database. Viper will have a feature called range partitioning, which is designed to let programmers write more specific, and faster, database queries."

Before this paragraph and after there is no mention of Viper. None. Which company is this product coming from, anyway?
Posted by Jim Satterfield (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I believe they said it was the codename for the next version of DB2.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
MySQL does not scale uh?
Well, Sabre still use it just fine AFAIK, not to mention Wikipedia. Heck, if it can handle the load at Wikipedia, it is fine for my humble requirements.
Posted by quasarstrider (439 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You nailed it ...
When people understand that, the database war is over.
Below 10% of users will ever need any of the features the big 3 offer. and if a feature is really needed, Open Source databases will integrate it within a few months.

The only thing really missing for PHP / MySQL is a friendly, easy to use Integrated Development Environment and that's a great opportunity for commercial developers, since open source generally focuses on core functions rather than user friendliness.
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.