International florist FTD Group has selected database software from new start-up EnterpriseDB, which is built on the open source PostgreSQL database.
EnterpriseDB is trying to poach customers from Oracle with the promise of lower licence fees and compatibility with Oracle applications.
The firm remains tiny compared with Oracle, and had only about 100 paying customers in April. But the FTD Group win, which follows deals with Sony Computer Entertainment and Vonage Holdings, could help persuade other big companies to bet on its software.
Jason Weiss, software architect at FTD said the florist had not pulled out any of its Oracle databases. But when it moved an external reporting tool from its main production system to a database server of its own, it decided Oracle was beyond its budget and chose EnterpriseDB.
The EnterpriseDB licenses were about one sixth of what FTD would have paid for Oracle software, he said.
FTD processes orders of flowers through 200 distribution centres and about 20,000 US retail florists. The reporting tool, based on Oracle Reports, allows the distributors to generate reports about their orders automatically from FTD's ARGO shipping administration system.
FTD updated the reporting tool in December last year, but a surge in requests on Valentine's day brought performance problems that dragged down performance on the main ARGO production servers too.
The flower firm turned off the reporting tool to generate reports manually as a short-term solution. As a longer term measure, FTD decided to put the reporting environment onto a separate server.
"We're an Oracle shop so we went to them, got a quote and laughed, because it wasn't even close to being in the budget we were looking for," Weiss said.
"I'm very pro-open source, I've used MySQL and PostgreSQL. The selling point with EnterpriseDB was the Oracle compatibility layer they have on top of it," he added.
Weiss also estimated that FTD saved about $100,000 (£50,000) in licence and support costs by going with EnterpriseDB. The Enterprise Edition of Oracle's database carries a list price of $40,000 (£20,000) per processor, while a Premium licence for EnterpriseDB Advanced Server is $5,000 (£2,500) per processor.