The Blue Elephant Makes its Move
Posted by: badanov
Our involvement with PostgreSQL has been mainly evolutionary over the last seven years, from the first time we tried to install that base software onto a Pentium 166 computer running RedHat 5.1 to the deployment this blog atop a P4 running FreeBSD 6.0 as well as other of our customer's websites and data.
PostgreSQL is a hard sell to businesses primarily because of its small install base and sheer number of users and it is free software. Also, Pg is considered a database that is at once too complicated to use and too robust for most common tasks, such as for web sites.
PostgreSQL's primary rival is an actual open source business, MySQL. The MySQL database has been a success since very, very few web hosting compoies do not offer the MySQL database for their web customer's dynamic applications.
Our little one man show only offers PostgreSQL for our web customers primarily because of software licensing problems. Last year when we tried to assist a buddy's website, we took a second stab at MySQL and discovered some very uncomfortable things about it, mainly the portability of its files and how closely the setup looked like the old dBase dbf format.
As we mentioned, PostgreSQL has product recognition problems robust database software such as Oracle doesn't have. Oracle is backed by a huge corporate footprint, armies of sales and support staff and annual sales running into the billions of dollars. Its software has evolved much the same way its open source free cousins have, but with many more features that corporations can use.
Here in Oklahoma City when jobs are offered for databases, Oracle is usually the only database product. When we were interviewing for IT positions mentioning our experience with PostgreSQL in business applications didn't merit any attention.
One of the advantages that PostgreSQL has is that it scales up to heavy hardware unlike many other database software offerings. Oracle, IBM's DB2 and SAP, all commercial databases, scale up well to multiple processors, and that man be a real advantage to such deployments as high availability, when a company loses hundreds of thousands of dollars for every minute a database deployment doesn't work.
All the commericial databases also have varying programming interfaces whereby a company wishing to move to a different and more robust database can do so without having to rewrite existing applications, which is another advantage.
This news that a European company is muscling in to Oracle's enterprise business is good news for us, if we lived in Europe, but good news nonetheless.
And it is easy to see how it is good news for European enterprises with per processor licensing running up to $40,000 per.