February 4, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Sun floats open-source database idea

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compete with Oracle's products. Second, McNealy has criticized Oracle more than once for not updating its pricing method for new processor designs that employ multiple processing engines, or cores, on each chip.

In December, McNealy knocked Oracle for charging a license fee for each core rather than for each chip, as Sun would prefer. On Wednesday, McNealy added that the move effectively doubles the price for customers upgrading to Sun's dual-core UltraSparc IV chip and would put a $50,000 price tag on Oracle running on Sun's forthcoming eight-core Niagara processor.


"You have to be careful when you create that kind of pricing umbrella," McNealy said Wednesday. "Open-source alternatives start to look very, very interesting."

Although asked to comment for this article, Oracle didn't on Thursday.

Open-source software, in contrast to proprietary software such as Oracle's database, may be freely seen, modified and redistributed by anyone. The fact that it's available for free has made it popular with customers in many cases, despite the absence sometimes of companies that provide certification, technical support and other hand-holding.

Sun has placed open-source software squarely at the center of its strategy to attract more programmers to its technology--chiefly its prized Solaris operating system, a move it hopes will attract more experimentation, customers and alliances with other computing companies.

It's one of many bold moves from the company, which is trying a wide variety of new initiatives to reclaim its visionary status, attract new customers and avoid further revenue declines. The company also is betting heavily on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor, novel software pricing and selling discrete amounts of computing power.

Open-source options
Starting a database project from scratch would be difficult, but there are potential partners in the increasingly mainstream open-source database realm. McNealy's slide listed MySQL, a prominent and widely used product that's gaining higher-end features, and PostgreSQL, which was employed in the short-lived Red Hat Database product.


Asked whether Sun planned a partnership with an open-source database supplier, Schwartz said, "We'll certainly be talking about that going forward. Right now we don't have anything concrete to talk about."

A MySQL representative said MySQL runs on Solaris but found no evidence of a deeper Sun alliance. PostgreSQL core team member Josh Berkus said he hasn't heard of any plans for Sun to rebrand his database, but he did start talking this week about better support for Solaris now that it's open-source software.

There are other open-source databases, such as IBM's Cloudscape and Sleepycat's BerkeleyDB, but those aren't general-purpose

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5 comments

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Don't discount Cloudscape
Sure Cloudscape is owned by IBM, but its now open sourced.
Cloudscape is a general purpose DB, albiet a Java DB which would be perfect for Sun.

Keep in mind, it will allow Sun to offer something that will not **** off Larry. ;-)
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cloudscape?
If IBM created Cloudscape and released it to the OpenSource community, how do you think they compare it to their commercial DB2 product? Why would they give away a product that can compete with DB2? Why should we not discount a redundant product from IBM that was never intended to generate profits? Have you seen the Derby perfermance statistics? Besides Derby/Cloudscape are tied directly to Java. It is not a product that has the wide-reaching market of Oracle or MSSQL, or even MySQL. It sounds to me like it needs a Java environment just to exist, so it will never be able to compete at the same level as more common db systems.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
No Thanks - Already have PostgreSQL
Which is free and covers the bases. If things outgrow
PostgreSQL, there's always Oracle. But this adds nothing that
developers don't already have.
Posted by (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why not upgrade to FSP instead?
You write "If things outgrow PostgreSQL, there's always Oracle."

<p>

Perhaps a better upgrade path would be to FSP (Fujitsu Supported PostgreSQL)
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://fastware.com.au/docs/FujitsuSupportedPostgreSQLWhitePaper.pdf" target="_newWindow">http://fastware.com.au/docs/FujitsuSupportedPostgreSQLWhitePaper.pdf</a>
which I believe has Fujitsu's extremely scalable "Extened Storage Manager"(ESM) to provide extremely heavy I/O, many-way SMP, etc; with PostgreSQL's parser,planner and executor for SQL compatability.
Posted by (12 comments )
Link Flag
Another option - One$DB as Sun DB
Heres why:

- It fulfils all criteria

- Is licensed under the LGPL ----&gt; free for free as well as commercial apps

- Its in Java (also J2EE certified)

Have a look at:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.daffodildb.com/one-dollar-db.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.daffodildb.com/one-dollar-db.html</a>

Cheers,
Ladi
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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