Open source database enters crowded field

Start-up company EnterpriseDB Tuesday announced the general availability of its open source database software, hoping to make its mark in what has quickly become a competitive field of open source products.

Called EnterpriseDB 2005, the software is based on the PostgreSQL open source database. It has been in beta testing since mid-May and is ready now for production use, EnterpriseDB announced at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

The software is free for development use and "low-volume deployments," and priced at up to $5,000 per CPU per year for round-the-clock support, said the company, based in Edison, N.J.

EnterpriseDB says it aims to compete with MySQL, the open source database leader. It is also taking on Pervasive Software, which released an open source database based on PostgreSQL at the start of the year, and Greenplum, another PostgreSQL-based database that positions itself mainly for business intelligence applications.

In a separate announcement at Linuxworld, Dell Monday said that it will now sell and support the MySQL database, along with the JBoss application server and some other open source products. Dell also becomes a reseller of the MySQL Network, MySQL's subscription support service.

The open source vendors all compete against Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, which dominate the $7.8 billion per year relational database software market.

In general, the open source products tend to offer less sophisticated features at a lower price. Analysts say they are unlikely to steal much business from the established vendors in the near future, but the open source products apply pricing pressure and can help customers negotiate better deals.

Since EnterpriseDB is based on PostgreSQL, which has been under development for many years, the database already supports enterprise features such as views, functions and triggers. The company says it has improved the performance of PostgreSQL, and added compatibility with Oracle's database, which means many applications will run without modification, according to the company.

The database is suitable for update-intensive and Web-based transactional applications, EnterpriseDB said. The product comprises three parts: the database engine, a console for developers and administrators called EDB Studio, and EDB Connectors, for accessing the database from most programming environments.

The software runs on various Windows and Linux releases, as well as Sun's Solaris and Apple's MacOS X. It's available for both 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

The free license for the software includes Web-based technical support. The company also offers three tiers of paid licenses. A Silver license, for $1,000 per CPU per year, includes a software update and patch service, unlimited e-mail and Web support, and telephone support during business hours. A Gold license, for $3,000 per CPU, adds faster response for e-mail support and telephone support around the clock. A platinum license, for $5,000 per CPU, adds a perpetual software license, a designated technical account manager, indemnification against intellectual property lawsuits and on-request production tuning, the company said.

EnterpriseDB has hired three long-time PostgreSQL developers, Alvaro Herrera, David Cramer and Jonah Harris, it said Tuesday. They'll continue to work on the open source codebase and also develop features for EnterpriseDB 2005.

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