Recently, I published Compatibilty wars - can EnterpriseDB take on Oracle and win? to examine EnterpriseDB's move to take advantage of Oracle halting support of Itanium-based systems. Sean Doherty, EnterpriseDB's VP of Business Development, reached out to me to present his company's response. Since I think that he makes a number of really good points, I asked his permission to publish it in full. Thanks for reaching out, Sean.
I read your blog this morning, and it was full of very good, useful information. I want to clarify a few things, and also expand on some of your thoughts so that your readers have a clearer understanding of what we do, how we do it, and when and why it makes sense for them to consider an alternative.
First and foremost, EnterpriseDB is the enterprise PostgreSQL company. Our business today is far broader than Oracle compatibility. Many of our customers are long-time PostgreSQL users who are expanding their PostgreSQL footprint with our help and support. While that often comes at the expense of Oracle, the focus is on expansion of use more than Oracle replacements or migrations.
With that said, we continue to grow our business very successfully with Oracle migrations. Our Oracle compatibility technology, now entering its 7th generation with the launch of Postgres Plus Advanced Server 9.0 this month, is but one of many important features in the database that make us a viable alternative to expensive proprietary RDBMSs. And, because Postgres Plus Advanced Server is built on PostgreSQL, we can provide this enterprise-class database for about one-fifth the cost of other proprietary databases.
Your blog does raise a great question that Oracle in pushing on customers: which investment and partnership should a customer protect, their software vendor (Oracle) or their hardware supplier (HP)? Oracle pricing practices and customer control have frustrated many who turn to us as an alternative. And, with the acquisition of Sun and their entry into hardware, it is becoming increasingly clear that Oracle is applying many of the same tough business tactics to grow their Sun server business. Dumping support for Itanium is a perfect proof point. This is changing the way customers will respond to Oracle dominance even further and will probably lead more of them to find alternatives like EnterpriseDB. The fact that we have Oracle compatibility just makes it that much easier and less risky for customers to consider a migration.
Frankly, I don't think it will end there; just look at Oracle's position with Linux and in particular the lack of support for RHEL 6 and now 6.1, and their increased push for Oracle Linux to their customers. Anyone who thinks they are not trying to own the whole stack is not watching closely enough.
We are a solution for customers meant to augment their use of Oracle, where Oracle isn't necessary. We do that in a way that gives the customer a considered, predictable and safe migration path from Oracle to Postgres Plus Advanced Server, and these are the steps we take:
- Identify the best migration candidates. Our Oracle Migration Assessment is a tool that we use to identify the best candidate applications for migration. The best candidates are typically 'home-grown' applications, applications using Java or C (Pro*C or OCI) or ODBC. Once we analyze the application, we score it (1-10, with 10 being the easiest to migrate), and create a comprehensive report for the customer that explains what our next steps will be.
- Create a plan and begin migration. Our Oracle Migration Factory is where we can do the application migration remotely for our customers. We scope each engagement based on the number of databases we migrate and what their scores were in the Oracle Migration Assessment. This is where, in your article you referred to the work-arounds when there isn't compatibility, we fix any gaps in compatibility for certain applications, and then deliver the migrated application to the customer.
- Repeat. Just like we saw with Unix to Linux migration over the last decade, it's a process that customers will get comfortable with, and as their comfort grows they will migrate more. Linux was first used to replace Unix for file and print servers and web servers. Then, customers replaced database servers. As comfort grew, they moved into the datacenter and mission critical workloads. This same migration evolution is happening with database. Customers typically start with new applications, then migrate non-mission critical, departmental applications. As their confidence grows, they migrate more.
You see Dan, it's not just having Oracle compatibility. It's giving the customer a real path to go from point A to point B. We provide them that path, and now we are proud to be partnering with HP to provide that path to HP's customers. Finally, have you noticed over the last decade the price of hardware (even big hardware) has decreased basically at a Moore's law pace? I'd ask your readers how much their Oracle costs have decreased over the last ten years--especially the last few as we've navigated through a financial crisis not seen in over 70 years. There are alternatives, and we are enthusiastic about our future.
If Oracle takes the time to respond, I'll publish their comments here.