Oracle recently unveiled its new database 11G, the first major refresh of its database management system in over three years. Larry Ellison’s company took the opportunity to boast about how it has been made smaller and greener, but rival database vendor EnterpriseDB was less complimentary and has accused Oracle of ignoring customer concerns regarding data migration.
According to Steve Bale, head of EMEA at EnterpriseDB, “Oracle is not listening to their user base, but is listening to those large customers making the most noise.”
Yet Bale readily admits that Oracle is not bad at recognising customer requirements, as it “focuses on the areas where its user group focuses them on.” However he feels this means Oracle sometimes misses out on important demands from the market.
"The database market as a whole seems to be vexed about the difficulties of data migration,” Bale says. “Its an expensive thing to have to do. Oracle, I would claim, is not listening to the market in this case. I assume they are responding to their user group.”
He points to a study from research firm Vanson Bourne, which recently reported that more than three-quarters (79 percent) of UK businesses find data migration projects inconvenient and disruptive to the business, as they impact core production IT systems.
EnterpriseDB meanwhile has developed an Oracle compatible database, says Bale, to ensure that people can migrate their data seamlessly. Certainly, last year Sony Online Entertainment, which operates an online gaming network, opted to replace its Oracle databases with EnterpriseDB, initially for back-office applications such as billing systems, but moving into front-end customer facing applications as well as basing new games development on open source platforms. The rival database company more recently signed up FTD, a US-based large floral business that owns interflora.
“The reason why people talk to us in the first place is that they can see they can save suitable amounts of money,” says Bale. “That said, once we are in the door, we have to prove we have the support services and features to support and run their business. The plan is to then tempt them to move the entire infrastructure to EnterpriseDB.”
The company sells an Oracle-compatible, PostgreSQL-based database for businesses. In the past, it has been argued that that open source databases simply could not match the capabilities and functionality of the DBMS offerings from the top three commercial players (Oracle, IBM and Microsoft). Indeed, many argue that it could take as long as a decade before open source databases can meet the business intelligence and data warehousing demands of most large enterprises.