Open source database wars begin

By early next year Ingres will be physically separate from its old corporate parent, Computer Associates, and available under a popular OSI-approved license, rather than CA's.

Web 2.0 start-ups have a hidden vulnerability. They all rely on the same database, mySQL.

Now mySQL is a nice little database. But can it scale as these projects become "enterprise class?" And what of Oracle's buying key mySQL tools, like InnoDB?

Those are interesting questions, and Dave Dargo says he has an interesting answer -- Ingres. By early next year Ingres will be physically separate from its old corporate parent, Computer Associates, and available under a popular OSI-approved license, rather than CA's.

"We own our entire technology," he said, and "If you look at our feature set and that of Oracle, we’re like Oracle 10g." It's an "enterprise-class" database that doesn't charge the "Oracle Tax," as Dargo calls it.

Dargo is an interesting character to bring up the Oracle Tax, by the way. He worked at Oracle for 15 years. His last job was running Oracle's Linux program office. Life is full of irony.

Here is Dargo's pitch against mySQL. A lot of companies that switched from Oracle to mySQL in order to avoid higher renewal and support costs are finding that mySQL requires that they go through "the growing pains they went through 10-20 years ago, with closed source databases." Ingres will now eliminate that, he said.

It's a fascinating time in the database world. Oracle's roll-up of its former competitors is predicated on its being able to force migration and enforce high prices. As a direct competitor, and even through a CA open source license, Ingres was unable to compete as effectively as it would like. Now, as a truly open source product, Dargo believes it can.

Can it?

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