EnterpriseDB is releasing an upgrade to its database software next month, hoping to lure customers away from Oracle with the promise of lower licence fees and compatibility with applications written for Oracle's database.
EnterpriseDB's Advanced Server database is based on the open-source PostgreSQL database, which it sells with added tools and features for enterprise customers.
Version 8.2, which was released for testing on Monday and is due for final release next month, includes compatibility with Oracle's OCI (Oracle Call Interface), a proprietary API (application programming interface) used by Oracle's database.
The addition of OCI means more applications written for Oracle will run with few or no changes on Advanced Server 8.2, including packaged software from vendors such as SAP AG and Oracle's PeopleSoft division, said Derek Rodner, EnterpriseDB's director of product strategy.
"Essentially, any application that runs on Oracle is a candidate for migration to EnterpriseDB," he said.
In contrast, the current version of EnterpriseDB allows easy migration only for applications that use standard database interfaces, such as ODBC and JDBC, he said.
The new product could allow EnterpriseDB to steal some business from cost-conscious Oracle customers that are open to products based on open-source software, said Raven Zachary, a research director at The 451 Group.
"If you look at the size of Oracle, even if they get only a small fraction of their customers it's still a lot of money," he said.
Companies are unlikely to switch wholesale but may test the waters by substituting a few Oracle servers, said Jay Lyman, another 451 Group analyst.
Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., commented via e-mail: "EnterpriseDB is built on top of PostgreSQL which is a proven enterprise DBMS for decades and therefore has reliability and robustness, besides offering good overall performance and scalability.
"All customers that are looking to save money on database management should look at EnterpriseDB, along with other open-source databases such as MySQL and Ingres," he said.
EnterpriseDB faces challenges too, however. It is still relatively small and signed its 100th customer only recently, admits Andy Astor, its president and CEO. Nor is it profitable yet, although it has exceeded all its customer and revenue targets, Astor said.
Its small size could make some large enterprises wary. "They're still somewhat at the stage of proving themselves," Lyman said.
Pricing for version 8.2 will remain unchanged; the software is priced at US$5000 per processor for a premium support plan, or $1500 for basic support, according to EnterpriseDB's web site.