Pervasive Looks to Open Source for Corporate Databases

 
 
By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2005-01-10
 
 
 
Embedded-database company Pervasive Software Inc. is breaking out of devices and into the mainstream corporate database market with the open-source database PostgreSQL.

The Austin, Texas, company on Monday rolled out Pervasive Postgres, which packages Version 8 of the community-maintained open-source database along with a bundle of connectivity drivers and management tools. A preview version of Pervasive Postgres is being distributed for free as pre-compiled binaries for Windows and Linux under an early access program.

Pervasive is positioning Pervasive Postgres as well-suited for corporate IT departments that build business applications on top of databases.

The PostgreSQL community welcomed the news. Pervasive is "definitely a welcome addition to our growing community of support companies, and with their years of experience with database internals, [we] look forward to the contributions theyll be able to provide to the community," said Marc Fournier, a PostgreSQL Project/Core Committee member.

Lance Obermeyer, director of products for Pervasive, said the company jumped on PostgreSQL to take advantage of what he sees as the next wave of corporations acceptance of open source: namely, in their databases. "[Open source] is ready for adoption in the corporate marketplace," he said. "Look at Linux—its being adopted in the very center of data centers. We think open-source databases are just behind that in the adoption [sequence]. We think PostgreSQL will follow that curve, just a few years behind."

Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna agreed. "Open-source databases are certainly moving up the chain," he said. "[Theyre] being adopted by more customers and enterprises."

The drivers, Yuhanna said, are cost savings and, perhaps counterintuitively, considering open sources reputation, ease of use. Such ease of use is attributable to the fact that open-source databases tend to have a more constrained feature set than databases from Oracle Corp., IBM or Microsoft Corp., he said.

"Just because they have lesser features and functionalities, they tend to be less resource-restrained," said Yuhanna, in Santa Clara, Calif. "You have the flexibility to manage them in a more effective manner."

PostgreSQL has a solid reputation as an enterprise-class database, but it lacks the mindshare of the most widely distributed open-source database, MySQL. Regardless of MySQLs greater visibility, however, Pervasive opted to hook its wagon to PostgreSQL because the company considered it a superior technology, Obermeyer said.

Thats Pervasives opinion, even considering that MySQL Version 5.0, now in alpha and expected in beta by months end, features enterprise-class capabilities such as triggers and stored procedures, Obermeyer said. "From a user perspective, particularly if youre in an IT environment with databases like Oracle and SQL Server and DB2 and whatever, youre used to [features such as] grid security, triggers and views," he said. "Application developers are used to a database that provides those basic features. PostgreSQL is ready for adoption because it has all those core enterprise features, so its easy for someone to port an existing application to PostgreSQL."

Click here to read about the upcoming Version 8.0 of PostgreSQL, which will feature Windows support.

What MySQL has, however, is a lush environment of third-party support, with almost 800 companies and counting, including big players such as SAP AG, Novell Inc. and Embarcadero Technologies Inc. For PostgreSQL, on the other hand, this is a rare acknowledgement by a large company, Yuhanna said. "PostgreSQL never had a big support vendor in place," he said. "Obviously, the Pervasive announcement will be a key focus for customers who are wanting improved support."

PostgreSQLs license is another reason Pervasive opted for it over MySQL, Obermeyer said. Whereas MySQLs license requires that users purchase a license when code is used in a commercial fashion, PostgreSQLs BSD license means that its free for any use. "From a customer perspective, thats an important thing," he said.

Pervasive will be selling annual support subscriptions that will include support, updates and tools. They will range from basic product updates at $99 per year to 24-by-7 live production support at $4,999 per year, per server.

The company is also selling migration services, which are five-day engagements that feature Pervasive professional services consultants who use Pervasive Data Migrator to move customers from Oracle, IBM, Sybase Inc., MySQL and other databases onto Pervasive Postgres. Pervasive will also offer professional services, including custom development, database optimization and tuning, and training for developers and administrators.

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