Sun Picks EnterpriseDB to Backup PostgreSQL Support in Solaris
Published: August 10, 2006
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
EnterpriseDB, one of the many companies that is trying to make a living selling commercial support for an open source relational database management system, announced this week that Sun Microsystems has tapped it to offer the level three tech support for the embedded PostgreSQL database that Sun wove into the Solaris 10 06/06 update to its Unix.
That update, which started shipping in the middle of July, is the first of Sun's Solaris distributions to include a relational database as part of the distro. Sun announced last year, as it was in the process of open sourcing Solaris, that it would offer an integrated, open source database for Solaris, and hinted further that it may eventually end up offering more than one. So PostgreSQL could be the only or the first of many databases offered by Sun with its Unix. It seems pretty obvious that MySQL is the dominant commercialized database out there, but Ingres is also recently open sourced and spun out of CA, making it also a good fit for an open source Unix platform that has its roots in California hippie computer culture. (Ingres and Solaris have roots back into the University of California at Berkeley.)
When Sun announced the PostgreSQL integration in July, it also said that it would charge a considerable amount of money--at least relative to support costs for Solaris 10, which is freely distributed on X86, X64, and Sparc servers with four or fewer sockets. Relative to the licensing and support costs for closed source databases that are popular on Unix boxes, Sun's fees are modest. Specifically, Sun is charging $1,596 per socket for business-class support and $3,996 per socket for premium support for a one-year contract. You can get a 10 percent discount if you sign a three-year contract. Support for Solaris 10 itself is charged separately. If you just want basic security patch support, it costs $120 per socket per year, with 8x5 business class support costing $240 per socket per year and 24x7 premium support costing $360 per socket per year.
Sun has a lot of smart database nerds, of course, but it is not an expert PostgreSQL development and support organization, and to deal with the intractable problems that Solaris-PostgreSQL shops will undoubtedly get themselves into, Sun needs a partner for level three tech support--the real tough problems. And EnterpriseDB, which has created a variant of PostgreSQL that can run applications written for Oracle databases, is one obvious partner Sun could chose for such back-end support. Neither Sun nor EnterpriseDB divulged what slice of the support money that Sun is collecting will end up in EnterpriseDB's hands.
Pervasive Software, which started offering commercial support for PostgreSQL a year ago on Windows and Linux platforms, was one obvious such partner Sun could have chosen. But on July 25, Pervasive announced that it was getting out of that business, saying that there was a wealth of support available from the PostgreSQL community. It is hard to say whether or not Pervasive's John Farr, who is president and CEO, was sugar-coating the situation, but I think it is a pretty good guess that in a world where MySQL is a data center name (not quite a household name), peddling PostgreSQL support is no easy task. Perhaps Sun should have simply acquired Pervasive and thereby kept all the PostgreSQL money?
Sun could have also partnered for PostgreSQL support with Greenplum, which has created a massively parallel implementation of PostgreSQL called Bizgress MPP and which has partnered with Sun to launch a data mining appliance based on the "Thumper" X4600 Opteron-based data servers that were announced last month.
Under the agreement, EnterpriseDB is providing Sun with level three tech support for its customers and is also training Sun tech support people so they can do a better job supporting the software themselves.
Sun, Greenplum Create Opteron-Based BI Appliance
Solaris 10 6/06 Update Ships with PostgreSQL, ZFS
Pervasive Commercializes PostgreSQL Database for Linux, Windows