Open-Source Database Adoption May Be Linked to Economy

Open-source databases such as Ingres, MySQL and PostgreSQL may see increased adoption as businesses look to minimize costs in the wake of the economic downturn. However, there are other factors to consider in open-source database adoption besides economics, so open-source fans should not jump for joy just yet.

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At a time of economic struggle, it is always good to find a silver lining. For IT administrators, that silver lining could very well be open-source databases.

Business decision makers will be tasked to do more for less money, which may make open-source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL an attractive option. However, it is unclear just how much the economy will affect adoption.

According to Forrester Research, companies such as Sun Microsystems, Ingres and EnterpriseDB have reasons to smile.

"Based our research we were now expecting a 24 percent growth in the open-source database-new licenses, support and services-market in 2009, revised upward from an earlier 18 percent projected growth," said Noel Yuhanna, an analyst with Forrester. "This takes into account the current economic condition and market movement. Over the last month, we are already seeing a large number of customer inquiries asking about how to save money in databases, and some are looking at open-source databases."

Open-source databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL and Ingres have established good credibility in the market, and customers are finding great value from open source, he continued.

That's solid validation for a market that Forrester Research says stands to grow from $850 million-a number that includes licensing, support and services-to $1.3 billion in 2010. However, there are a number of issues that impact how much open-source databases will grow.

For one thing, there is the presence of Express Editions of popular proprietary databases such as IBM DB2, Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server. While open-source database adoption has grown alongside Express databases, a survey of more than 340 businesspeople by the 451 Group conducted in December 2007 found 19 percent were planning to increase their Express Edition database adoption over the next 12 months. That is more than double the number who said they planned to increase their use of open-source databases.