New database vendor snaps up Aus clients

Database company EnterpriseDB has just unveiled its plans for Australia and already it has a handful of customers, including financial firm Bailey Roberts Group.The young company which pitches itself as a low-cost alternative to the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and IBM declined to name other Australian customers that have implemented its database.

Database company EnterpriseDB has just unveiled its plans for Australia and already it has a handful of customers, including financial firm Bailey Roberts Group.

The young company which pitches itself as a low-cost alternative to the likes of Oracle, Microsoft and IBM declined to name other Australian customers that have implemented its database.

Customers pay an annual subscription fee which includes support -- business hours for basic and 24x7 for premium -- indemnification and warranties. CEO Andy Astor didn't elaborate on prices other than to say it was a "fraction of the cost" of what Oracle charged.

EnterpriseDB's offering is based on PostgreSQL -- a freely available open-source database. The company adds proprietary tools and Oracle compatibility on top.

Asked which versions of Oracle EnterpriseDB was compatible with, Astor said it didn't get version specific. "We are compatible with most applications right on up through 10g. The reason we don't get specific is that you can never be 100 percent compatible. Seventy-five to 80 percent of applications we encounter are 100 percent compatible regardless of version," he said.

The database vendor has notched some wins from the bigger players, Oracle in particular. A key win has been Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) which is replacing Oracle with EnterpriseDB. SOE was looking at alternatives to Oracle including PostgreSQL, according to Astor. It chose EnterpriseDB because of its compatibility with Oracle, as well as the technical support provided, he said.

While EnterpriseDB likes to promote its Oracle compatibility it was the commercial support for PostgreSQL that attracted Bailey Roberts.

Stuart Douglas, IT manager at Bailey Roberts, said though the firm didn't have any problems with PostgreSQL it was better to be safe than sorry. "If a database server goes down and 20 people can't work that's very expensive."

Bailey Roberts is Wollongong-based financial advisory company that manages 375 client accounts with funds-under-management of over AU$80 million. Douglas said the firm uses EnterpriseDB Advanced Server version 8.1 to support its Web-based client management system. The system allows people to work from home, as well as support a number of financial advisers in Sydney with local clients.

Prior to the implementation of EnterpriseDB, Douglas would pore over the manual or trawl through PostgreSQL forums and mailing lists to fix any problems. Now the firm is commercially supported if anything goes wrong.

Douglas said they pay a basic subscription fee which gives them a licence for as many users as the firm wants, and support is included as well. "It's quite cheap. We pay [around] US$1,000 per year for a subscription which is not much for a database."

According to Douglas, the installation went smoothly with a few minor software modifications. All the syntax was (basically) the same because EnterpriseDB is based on PostgreSQL. "To move the data from one [database] to another took basically nothing. We tested for two weeks to make sure everything would work," he said.

Douglas happened across American-based EnterpriseDB through Google, however, new customers can take advantage of the enterprise database company's plans for Australia and New Zealand. The firm has an Asia-Pacific regional office -- based in Hong Kong -- but intends to open a local base in Sydney soon.

Roger Durn, EnterpriseDB Asia-Pacific general manager, said Fujitsu Australia Software Technology and consulting firm Customware have come on board as partners.

Astor said that Customware -- whose customers include Johnson & Johnson, Sony Australia and Macquarie Bank -- has standardised on EnterpriseDB. Previously it ran its internal systems on PostgreSQL.

Oracle declined to comment on EnterpriseDB or its compatibility claims.

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