Two Open-Source Databases Add Enterprise Appeal

Two new versions of the most popular open-source databases, MySQL and PostgreSQL, this month will deliver yet more features to make enterprises happy.

Two new versions of the most popular open-source databases, MySQL and PostgreSQL, this month will deliver yet more features to make enterprises happy.

Marc Fournier, president of PostgreSQL Inc., a support company for PostgreSQL, told that he was packaging up the last release candidate for PostgreSQL 8.0 Thursday evening. It will ship by next week, he said.

The biggest deal for enterprises in the newest version is full native Windows support, said Fournier, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The 8.0 version will compile with the native Windows compiler and will run on Windows without the need to emulate, thus providing better performance.

"It tends to perform better," Fournier said. "The old way, youd have to emulate the Unix environment on the Windows box. Emulation throws in more processor works, slows down performance—the whole works. Natively, there are no emulations. Performance will be improved, as will stability."

For its part, MySQL AB will likely have a beta of its long-awaited Version 5.0 ready for download by months end, according to a company spokeswoman. Version 5.0 will feature key database features long craved by those with enterprise-class needs, including triggers, stored procedures and views.

The MySQL community has been downloading and using the alpha version of 5.0 for some time as it is, the spokeswoman said, as is typical for MySQL iterations.

Both products are poised to enjoy what Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research, refers to as open-source databases coming of age. "Open-source databases are certainly moving up the chain," said Yuhanna, in Santa Clara, Calif. "[Open-source is] being adopted by more customers and enterprises."

Indeed, a recent Forrester survey of 140 large companies in North America found that more than 52 percent of firms use or plan to use MySQL DBMS. Forrester predicts that 30 percent of enterprises will use open-source databases in production by 2008. The key driver for increased adoption is cost savings, Yuhanna said.

Plus, open-source databases are easy to use, in some contexts, since they have fewer features and functionalities and tend to be less resource-restrained. "You have the flexibility to manage them in a more effective manner," he said.

/zimages/3/28571.gifWith MySQL Version 4.1, MySQL aimed to put a toe into big vendors turf. Click here to read more.

Yuhanna recently issued a research note, "Open-Source Databases Come of Age," in which he predicted that innovations in automation, security, unstructured data management, availability and integration will cause open-source databases to work their way ever deeper into the enterprise within coming years.

Application support will fuel the move: Forrester foresees more enterprise package applications, such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management), supporting open-source databases in the next two or three years.

In addition, in the near future, according to Yuhannas note, more open-source databases will move to support semistructured and unstructured data and will pick up the ability to perform advanced data searching.

Yuhanna also predicts that open-source databases will pick up advanced automation of administrative tasks, including performance tuning, backup recovery, archiving, replication, patch deployments and upgrades.

"There is no doubt that open-source products continue to raise the bar with expanded feature lists and advanced capabilities that previously only commercial DBMS vendors offered," Yuhanna wrote in his research note.

The preview version of MySQL 5.0 can be downloaded here. PostgreSQL can be downloaded here.

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