Can database lock-in be broken

It seems to be an Iron Law. As a database structure grows more complex the cost of shifting vendors becomes prohibitive. Free becomes expensive and expensive nearly free.

Uncle Larry Ellison of Oracle
Once again the folks at Ingres are out with a version of their open source, enterprise-class database -- Version 9.2 this time.

It's filled with nifty new features and buzzwords. Best of all you can download it right now.

Ingres is based on an implementation of PostgreSQL, which itself was first conceived under the code name Ingres. Moving data between the two is not terribly hard.

Still, the continuing difficulty which Ingres and mySQL have had in gaining market share (Oracle's dominance continues to grow) leads me to ask, once again, whether the lock-in of a database vendor can ever really be broken.

It's no longer a question of price, or really of value. Oracle is knocking the stuffings out of free and nearly everyone else -- save SAP, IBM and Microsoft -- have gone away.

Once a scaled enterprise goes down the Oracle road -- or down any road leading to Oracle -- the "Oracle tax" becomes like a rounding error, eminently fair.

You can argue all you want that this is unfair, but you can't argue with numbers.

Oracle has lost one-fourth of its value in the stock market's collapse -- but that's a fraction of what its rivals have lost. Widows and orphans have a friend in Uncle Larry (above).

It seems to be an Iron Law. As a database structure grows more complex the cost of shifting vendors becomes prohibitive. Free becomes expensive and expensive nearly free.