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EnterpriseDB Brings Postgres Closer to Oracle - InternetNews.
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EnterpriseDB Brings Postgres Closer to Oracle

Commercial open source database vendor EnterpriseDB today released its latest version of Postgres Plus Advanced Server, aimed at offering more Oracle database compatibility. EnterpriseDB is one of the leading commercial backers of the open source PostgreSQL (aka Postgres) database.

The Postgres Plus Advanced Server is not actually open source, though. It builds on the open source PostgreSQL release and provides additional proprietary features designed to improve Oracle database compatibility.

In the new 8.3 R2 release, EnterpriseDB is adding more performance and scalability options. The new release comes as Oracle is in the process of acquiring Sun and along with it, its open source MySQL database and as EnterpriseDB itself is now benefiting from the an investment by IBM.

"What this release is really all about is adding features and functions that make the choice to come to Postgres as an alternative more attractive and viable," EnterpriseDB CEO Ed Boyajian told InternetNews.com. "Given the economy, we're seeing more companies challenge the business decisions they've made to deploy Oracle, particularly in the areas of new workloads and non-mission critical workloads."

Oracle did not respond to a request for comment about their competitive position against EnterpriseDB by press time.

Boyajian added that the new Oracle compatibility features in Postgres Plus Advanced Server are about lowering the cost, risk and time to migrate application from Oracle's database.

EnterpriseDB Chief Architect Jim Mlodgenski explained that the new release is actually the fifth generation of Oracle compatibility for the company.

"We've done all the easier things in prior releases and now are getting into deep Oracle behaviors," Mlodgenski told InternetNews.com. "One example is explicit transaction control."

Mlodgenski explained that the transaction control feature was inspired by EnterpriseDB client LA Times, which noticed there were certain Oracle behaviors that occur when an Oracle database writes rows to a database.

Moving beyond just providing Oracle compatibility, EnterpriseDB is adding new scalability features to their database. One of them is a feature called '"Infinite Cache," which is based on the open source memcached application.

Mlodgenski commented that distributed memory caches are common, though management from a system management and a database perspective is often difficult.

"What we did is we took the distributed memory cache that was sitting in front of the database and put it behind the database," Mlodgenski said. "This allows a simple SQL interface for developers that allows access to the distributed memory cache and now the system management overhead is handed by the database itself."

Mlodgenski added that Infinite Cache leads to a 10x to 20x performance gain for read application loads.

Performance also gets a boost with something called Asynchronous Pre-Fetch, which is a high-performance query solution. "Asynchronous Pre-Fetch makes more efficient use of your disk resources," Mlodgenski said. "What it does is tell the kernel ahead of time which blocks of storage you'll need. It's really good for reporting type applications where you'll be taking large chunks of data off the disk."

While the Infinite Cache and Oracle compatibility features are both proprietary features, that are now only for Postgres Plus Advanced Server, the Asynchronous Pre-Fetch feature will end up in the next open source PostgreSQL release.

Currently, PostgreSQL 8.4 is in its beta testing phase.

"Asynchronous Pre-Fetch is a feature that came from our customers and we did it through the community model and pushed it back to the PostgreSQL community," Mlodgenski said. "It's a great example of where we give something back."