Feeds

IBM's EnterpriseDB stake: not what you think

Look out Oracle

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Ever since Sun anteed up a billion in cold cash for MySQL a couple months back, we wondered when the next shoe would drop. Recently, EnterpriseDB announced that IBM was one of several venture backers to fund its third $10m round of financing.

At first glance, this appears to be IBM's response to Sun. But it isn't.

Let's drill down a bit. With the enterprise database market pretty mature, new opportunities have emerged with new workloads associated with web applications. MySQL has drawn the attention because most websites start pretty modestly and needed a low cost/no cost engine to get going. As we've stated, both our blog and main websites are powered by free open source versions of MySQL under the covers. We don't pay for support because our application - essentially an embedded database inside a blog and content management system for a relatively low-traffic website (OK, we're not that tiny, but we're not Amazon or Yahoo either) - is rather pint-sized and rudimentary.

Now the big guys also offer free databases. IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle offer freebie "express" editions, but these really don't compete with the open source folks for one reason: the commercial express offerings are targeted solely at development or piloting, as they are typically limited to a single CPU and maybe 2-4GB of cache. Whereas with open source database, you'll get the whole enchilada regardless of whether you subscribe to support or get it free. The open source folks claim their subscriptions are cheaper than the incumbents.

That fact is important because, while there are lots of modest websites (like ours), there is also an explosion of data among popular consumer websites. That explains growing demand for server, storage, and it also explains the explosive growth of VMware. You need serious databases for these apps. Increasingly, MySQL, joined by EnterpriseDB and a revived Ingres are muscling their way in. They're not displacing the Oracle or DB2 systems running back-end OLTP systems, but they are clawing their way in to these new workloads.

EnterpriseDB and Ingres claim to be different creatures from MySQL, though, in that they contend they're more scalable. Specifically, EnterpriseDB has pursued the Oracle market, adding Oracle compatibility (e.g., PL/SQL, stored procedures, etc.) to its Postgres engine (a 20-year old spinoff from the original Ingres) to sell to Oracle DBAs running new workloads. In its third year of business, it has tripled its customer base.

Ergo, this deal is IBM dipping its feet gingerly into a back door challenge to Oracle, not MySQL. Ever since IBM held back on its own SQL database invention, allowing Oracle to grab leadership of the market, it has always responded by making DB2 cheaper. But it still plays second banana. Investing a modest chunk in EnterpriseDB is a way of having somebody else test drive a new strategy for carving a wedge inside the Oracle market, something that IBM has hungered for going back at least 20 years.

This article originally appeared in onStrategies.

Copyright © 2008, onStrategies.com

Tony Baer is the principal with analyst onStrategies. With 15 years in enterprise systems and manufacturing, Tony specialises in application development, data warehousing and business applications, and is the author of several books on Java and .NET.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.