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Floristry giant slams Oracle 'indifference', cosies up to EnterpriseDB

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International florist FTD is calling on fellow Oracle users to switch database vendors. It dumped the company in favor of EnterpriseDB in its latest project, after meeting with "indifference" from the enterprise giant.

Oracle is also being downgraded as a potential supplier on future projects at FTD - and could see itself replaced as the Illinois, US-headquartered company's incumbents database provider - after the giant missed the cut on price and customer service.

FTD has picked EnterpriseDB Advanced Server 8.1 over Oracle to power its $250m annual online marketplace, which supplies warehouses across the US, Canada, Ireland and UK with vital data on orders and for inventory management. FTD saved $100,000 picking EnterpriseDB over Oracle.

FTD software architect Jason Weiss told The Register that while Oracle departed from its $240,000 list price, its final $120,000 offer was three times more than he was prepared to pay. Worse, Oracle treated him like some schmuck.

"We are not a high visibility client so we are treated like anyone else. I didn't get any special customer service - they are indifferent to my account," Weiss said. "When someone comes in at a sixth the cost and 500 times the customer service that makes it very easy."

"I need someone who's going to step up and not just reach into my pocket book. I'd definitely reach out to as many Oracle users as possible to get this [EnterpriseDB] on your system and prove it out," he said.

According to Weiss, EnterpriseDB provided technical consulting before a deal was signed, which helped him prove the concept to management, who then signed off.

FTD is an Oracle shop - it uses its production database, application server and forms. After a Valentine's Day meltdown, the company turned to Oracle for a replicated system to offset the load placed by its online marketplace upon the main production database (which runs customer relationship management software and order fulfilment).

FTD warehouse customers - 45 per cent of FTD's business - were hitting the production database hard following the introduction of a vendor support system. This pushed the database to 20 times normal volume, causing chronic performance slowdowns for internal and external users.And system was shut down with requests for reports handled manually. With Mother's Day just six weeks away, FTD knew it had to get its act together using a replicated database. That was when it turned to Oracle, and shortly afterwards heard about EnterpriseDB.

"EnterpriseDB has given me a financial motivation to kick Oracle out of the building," Weiss said. "I spend more on Oracle licensing per year than I care to think about, and the level of support is not worth it."

He said he considers EnterpriseDB, based on the open source Postgres, a mature database and is thinking about replacing Oracle in FTD's existing infrastructure over two-three years.

The story is a dream for EnterpriseDB and other small database companies trying to take on Oracle, the number-one database provider. Database start-ups have proved they are able to undercut on price but business has proved harder to come by than many first thought.

Customers are not moving to start-up providers in the infrastructure layer just because they are cheaper than Oracle, which last week reported a 23 per cent increase in net income and 20 per cent growth in revenue for the year.

Start ups are focusing on customers' new projects while going the extra mile on services, or allying themselves with partners in areas like business intelligence for added value. In the FTD case, EnterpriseDB has a foot in the door with a customer who's now willing to consider usage elsewhere in their business at Oracle's expense.®

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