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EnterpriseDB finds its Postgres feet against Oracle

EnterpriseDB has changed the way it sells and operates, making it a viable competitor to Oracle, as well as MySQL.

In June 2008, EnterpriseDB named Ed Boyajian, former Red Hat executive, as its CEO. At the time I had lost interest in EnterpriseDB and wondered why someone with Boyajian's pedigree would go there.

Well, I had the chance to talk with Boyajian today and I'm starting to see his interest in EnterpriseDB. In particular, I believe Boyajian brings EnterpriseDB precisely what it needed: sales-level execution and strategy to complement the product-level execution and strategy it already had done well.

What, specifically, does this mean? It means moving to an inside-sales model. It means growing the open-source database business in the same way that Boyajian helped to grow Red Hat's Linux business: starting with non-mission critical applications and growing into mission-critical applications within accounts over a multi-year engagement.

And, critically, it means emphasizing its drop-in Oracle compatibility as a way to immediately cut Oracle costs for non-mission critical applications, rather than going for the expensive, sales executive-driven rip-and-replace sales strategy.

I worried that MySQL would get buried in Sun in the short-term, affording open-source competitors like PostgreSQL (upon which EnterpriseDB is based) the chance to leapfrog it in accounts. The concern was, I think, misplaced, as EnterpriseDB's problem wasn't MySQL. It was its own strategic focus. (MySQL, for its part, has done quite well under Sun's banner, as The Register points out, and is getting creative with how it drives MySQL sales.

Boyajian seems to have turned that around and is now seeing business accelerate, particularly in transaction-heavy database applications where MySQL has traditionally not been as strong as PostgreSQL (and Oracle). In other words, EnterpriseDB is now poised to succeed alongside MySQL, not despite it or because of it. Additionally, with pricing at a fraction of the cost of an Oracle license and performance on par with Oracle, it's not only MySQL that will see competition from EnterpriseDB.

The database market just got some new competition with EnterpriseDB's renewed momentum. I think it's going to last.