Survey Says Java Developers Like Open Source Databases
June 5, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
EnterpriseDB, which offers a commercialized version of the open source PostgreSQL relational database management system, recently polled the 12,000 readers of the Java Developer’s Journal to get a sense of their likelihood of deploying open source databases. If you think such databases are not going commercial, you are wrong.
According to the survey, more than half of those polled said that their companies had already deployed an open source database or were more likely to deploy an open source database over other possible applications such as ERP, CRM, or office automation software.
“Open source databases are leading the third major wave of mission-critical enterprise open source deployments,” says Andy Astor, chief executive officer of EnterpriseDB. “Linux and its variants first demonstrated the tremendous advantages open source software brings to enterprise IT. Our partner, JBoss, and others next enjoyed widespread adoption of their open source middleware platforms. As the survey results demonstrate, database software will be next.” But, there is not a lot of money in this. According to a recent report by Forrester Research, all commercialized open source databases added together comprise about $300 million in sales, and Forrester doesn’t expect it to hit $1 billion until 2008. Last year, the entire relational database market accounted for around $14 billion in sales worldwide.
The question we need to ask is what percentage of information stored in databases is inside open source databases, and how is that changing, since open source databases are not about vendor lock in and generating huge sales and profits. Money doesn’t matter except inasmuch as it allows organizations to create support organizations.
Still, just like Linux and middleware, open source databases have their challenges. According to the survey sponsored by EnterpriseDB, the lack of customer and technical support for open source databases, a lack of familiarity with open source software in general, and the very high cost of migrating from proprietary to open source software are inhibiting the adoption of open source databases. As has been the case with many revolutions in computing, the new applications will use the new tools, and the legacy applications will remain unchanged unless and until they become economically or technically untenable.