Oracle: Open Source No Threat in Enterprise Database Space

The database vendor says doesn't fear open-source competition and it will continue to go to market with vertical industry solutions that solve specific business problems.

Oracle is holding its own in the open-source database space, while not seeing any competition in the enterprise database market from open-source companies, Bob Shimp, the vice president of Oracles technology business unit, told eWEEK July 31.

It is also not seeing increased competition as a result of Red Hats acquisition of JBoss earlier in 2006. But all of that does not mean that Oracle, headquartered in Redwood Shores, Calif., is becoming complacent or scaling back its focus on Linux and open-source development work, Shimp said.

"The open-source databases have been around for some 10 years and are applicable primarily in instances where there are highly partitionable small database applications, often caching or Web site catalogs with heavy reads and transactional processing," he said.

Oracle entered that specialized area of the market when it acquired Sleepycat Software and its Berkeley DB product earlier this year, Shimp said.

The Berkeley DB product is doing well in that space, Shimp said, adding that the most notable thing for customers was that nothing had changed, which was what the company wanted.

"We wanted to have the Berkeley DB product line complement our existing offerings to customers while making no changes that the community would even notice," he said, noting that the acquisition had helped Oracle reach smaller customers that it might not have been able to before, as well as contribute enterprise technologies to the community to help make those projects more easily available to enterprise customers.

"The end result has been a win-win for everyone, as we provide a lot more value to customers, and enterprises are adopting and adapting both types of technologies for running their business," Shimp said.

Berkeley DB is a popular and good technology for caching, middle-tier databases and embedded database applications, and "we have to compete aggressively in places like the embedded database business, which is growing rapidly," he said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead more here about how Oracle is "losing patience" with XenSource and VMware.

But Oracle is not seeing any of the open-source databases even remotely approaching the enterprise database market as yet, he said.

"There are just too many capabilities needed that they just dont compete in, and if you look at the general database market overall, you will find that other category—besides Oracle, IBM and Microsoft—this has continually shrunk over time as there were more capabilities being built into the enterprise database applications that they have to cover," he said.

But that means that industry players like Oracle have to constantly raise the bar and deliver new value "or you deserve to be overtaken by someone else," Shimp said.

Asked how Oracles relationship with Red Hat may have changed since Red Hat acquired JBoss, which Oracle was reported to have been considering buying, Shimp said there had been no change whatsoever.

/zimages/6/28571.gifWill Red Hat lose powerful friends with its JBoss buy? Click here to read more.

"There is almost no company in the software industry that you can name that Oracle doesnt both compete with and partner with, and our relationship with Red Hat is no different [from] those we have with Microsoft or IBM or [Hewlett-Packard] or anybody else. We have learned how to successfully manage those relationships and grow the business, and our Linux business is very strategic to us and we are going to ensure that it is highly successful, no matter what it takes," he said.

Next Page: Oracles open-standards philosophy.