IBM puts Oracle to the sword with EnterpriseDB

Big Blue isn't sitting still while Oracle buys Sun: instead, it's ensuring it builds Oracle compatibility into DB2 via a partnership with EnterpriseDB.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay
2 min read

IBM is going on the offensive against the pending merger of Sun Microsystems and Oracle.

IBM announced Wednesday that it nabbed 100 of Sun's and Hewlett-Packard's customers last quarter alone for its high-end servers and mainframes, with half the deals worth over $1 million each, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The bigger news, however, may be IBM's partnership with EnterpriseDB, the commercial backer of the open-source PostgreSQL database, to embed EnterpriseDB's Postgres Plus Advanced Server technology into IBM's DB2 9.7 database product. EnterpriseDB's technology basically allows applications written for the Oracle database to run on EnterpriseDB's PostgreSQL...and now IBM's DB2.

In other words, through this partnership with EnterpriseDB, IBM has gained the ability to easily migrate customers from Oracle to DB2--seamlessly, painlessly, freely.

This is obviously big news for EnterpriseDB, having the opportunity to work with IBM, but it's also big news for IBM, providing a nice off-ramp from Oracle and an on-ramp to the IBM DB2 highway.

This isn't, of course, the first time the two have worked together. IBM is an investor in EnterpriseDB and has been tracking the open-source database market for some time. This is the first time, however, that the two have banded together to target Oracle.

Expect sparks to fly.

I asked Ed Boyajian, CEO of EnterpriseDB, about the effects of the partnership on Oracle, and its acquisition of MySQL (in buying Sun):

IBM and EnterpriseDB have a shared interest here--to preserve customers' right to choose their database solutions, whether they're making a closed-source decision (DB2 vs. Oracle) or an open-source decision (MySQL vs. Postgres Plus). Oracle's moves aim to limit those choices; our intention is to promote them.

It remains to be seen whether Oracle will bury MySQL post-acquisition, but one thing is clear: the database market just became even more interesting. Arvind Krishna, vice president of database servers and development at IBM, said in a statement that "clients are increasingly taking advantage of DB2 to lower costs while improving the performance and reliability of their business applications."

That may have been the case before. With Oracle-compatibility built into DB2 via EnterpriseDB, IBM has positioned itself to make it happen now.

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