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Open Source Databases Fight Growing Pains

Is enterprise adoption of open source database servers on the rise? They are certainly making headway but are facing challenges, The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription required) reported yesterday.

The Journal points out what most enterprise database server geeks already know and that's the fact that they still account for a small slice of the $21.6 billion (Gartner's forecast for 2008) database server market. IDC database guru Carl Olofson told WSJ that mostly midsized companies that don't need some of the higher end features of enterprise database servers tend to be the users of open source database servers.

Pointing to virtual call center provider LiveOps, the issue that faces these companies is, as they grow, will these databases be able to scale to handle their growth?

"While open source databases have been widely deployed for Web-tier applications, there has been minimal adoption in the enterprise application tier, and adoption for enterprise applications is at this time limited to certain specific application workloads," writes 451 Group analyst Matthew Aslet, who released a report last month on the impact of open source databases on enteprises.

The 451 Group report says there has been minimal adoption so far of open source databases at the enterprise application tier. In order for that to change, enterprises will expect to see improved service and support and improved functionality.

With next week's MySQL Developers Conference slated to take place in Santa Clara, Calif., all eyes will be on what's next for the company now that it is a part of Sun Microsystems. Mårten Mickos, CEO of MySQL is expected to reveal where he sees Sun taking the open source database developer.

Indeed 451 Group's Aslett suggests that observers should not be too quick to write off the future of open source databases in the enterprise. "The adoption of open source software for non-mission-critical applications and new projects will continue," he writes, "and we expect to see open source databases gradually surround proprietary database deployments."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/09/2008

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