Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Open source databases: the looming tsunami?

A couple of blogs came across my reader today. The first was by Allan Packer, starting what looks like a series of blogs where he asks the question bound to get him a lot of hits: are proprietary databases doomed?
With the combination of essential features, improved performance, robust support, and compelling price, OSDBs today bear a striking resemblence to Linux a few years ago. Many believe that the wave looming on the horizon is a tsunami.
On the same day in my Dzone database search RSS feed I encountered a link to Brian Hurt's blog, Postgres for the win! (I just noticed it's a 2006 entry, so I guess it's been re-discovered :)).

Brian is doing some serious work with PostgreSQL, and PostgreSQL is succeeding for him
At this point, the only complaint I have is that Postgres is doing so much with so little that I’ll never get cool hardware to play with. I’ll be stuck with cheap low-end boxes forever. Sigh.

The next person who claims “Postgres is slow” is going to get an earful from me. Maybe Postgres 7.0 was slow, I don’t know- but I know for damned sure that Postgres 8.1 isn’t.
If you read Brian's blog, you'll see PostgreSQL is succeeding for him not just because it is fast and can scale, but because he has access, in terms of documentation, community, and the source code itself. It's open-ness gave him the ability to figure out how to solve his problem.

What's my take on this? Well, I think it may happen sooner, or it may happen later, but at some point, the open source databases are going to be just fine for a majority of users. And if you can get enterprise level support, well, all the better!

1 comment:

Emilian Bold said...

I dunno, I think opensource DBs are quite the norm. At my previous corporation I worked for we only used MySQL and Postgres. We had no proprietary DB in the department.

Actually I was the one that introduces Postgres and the nice thing was that I heard a few months after I had left that the machine that was running it had crashed (motherboard error). They had no problem with the DB, just took the hard-drive out and moved it to another PC.