IBM may have lost out on buying Sun to Oracle, but it’s taking aim at Oracle in a different way today – database compatibility. EnterpriseDB which is a vendor best known for its commercial support of the open source PostgreSQL database, is licensing its Oracle database compatibility technology to IBM.
What that means is IBM DB2 version 9.7 users will be able (in many cases) to handle Oracle databases.
The EnterpriseDB technology is baked into their Postgres Plus Advanced Server product which is based mostly on open source technology, thought the Oracle compatibility parts are not open source. IBM is an investor in EnterpriseDB, and according to EnterpriseDB co-founder Andy Astor, the two companies have been working for the past two years on the Oracle compatability piece.
When I asked Astor about the importance of the IBM integration, he noted it’s a big milestone for databases.
“It marks the mainstreaming of compatibility and the next step towards true database standards. SQL standards worked perfectly well except that no one follows them,” Astor told me. “What we are delivering now is a renaissance of the ability of databases to be interoperable.”
It’s an amazing observation. While so much focus in development as a whole is around openness, database interoperability remains a challenge for many.
I don’t expect that existing Oracle user will now flock to IBM in droves, but the fact that IBM now has the EntepriseDB technology in place may well give some users pause and at least another choice.