January 27, 2007

EnterpriseDB’s Oracle clone — fact or fiction?

PostgreSQL-based EnterpriseDB is attracting a bit of attention. Philip Howard, as he does of most products, takes a favorable view. Seth Grimes regards the company as dirty, rotten liars. The company suggests that Everquest gameplay* runs on an RDBMS. I find this inherently implausible, and hence am starting out with a skeptical view of the company’s marketing messages.

*As in character movement. The idea that character inventory is stored in an RDBMS I find vastly more credible. Ditto other less volatile aspects of character state.

Much like ANTs, EnterpriseDB is pushing hard on Oracle plug-compatibility. There are differences, of course. ANTs also claims performance superiority (due to lockless architecture, something which seems to be coming up more and more these days). EnterpriseDB, on the other hand, being based on PostgreSQL, at least has a chance of supporting non-tabular datatypes. That said, I doubt EnterpriseDB does much right now in the way of geospatial, text, and other specialty indexing. And if it does, I doubt it is Oracle plug-compatible in those areas, especially text. (Well, maybe geospatial, since everybody just seems to have a deal with ESRI anyway.)

And one thing’s for sure — neither of these products will be plug-compatible with Oracle on the admin side. Of course, that could be a GOOD thing …

Looking back, I guess I should have seen this wave of Oracle-compatible vendors coming. It isn’t really that hard to imitate Oracle. Basically, you need to write two interpreters — one for Oracle’s version of SQL (including any non-ANSI aspects), and one for PL/SQL. The rest is tuning. (And reliability, and administrability, and security …) The real question is whether these Oracle substitutes are industrial-strength DBMS on their own merits. And they (especially ANTs) are beginning to exhibit sales results that — assuming they’re not overly exaggerated* — suggest the answer might be “Yes”.

*Not that a DBMS marketer would ever exaggerate anything …


4 Responses to “EnterpriseDB’s Oracle clone — fact or fiction?”

  1. Noons on January 27th, 2007 10:40 am

    “The rest is tuning. (And reliability, and administrability, and security …) ”

    and anything coming from the Ingres stable would NEVER suffer from such a problem…

    I do well recall what happened to Ingres everytime someone pulled the plug on the computer. And no, that has NOTHING to do with a UPS!

    The problem of course is that just like back then, too many incompetents are in the business of “commenting” on new products. It takes about 10 minutes to figure what’s wrong with EDB Postgres. But would any of these morons be able to work it out?

    The more I stay in this industry, the more idiocy I see.

    Don’t mean you, guv. Mean the “industry pundits” who make some of those comments.

  2. Andy Astor on January 29th, 2007 1:01 pm

    Dear Curt,

    Thanks for this entry about EnterpriseDB. There are a couple of misunderstandings, so I’ll just clarify a couple of things here:

    1. We certainly have not suggested that “Everquest gameplay runs on EnterpriseDB.” It doesn’t…yet. But Sony Online Entertainment *is* moving all of its gaming to the EnterpriseDB platform, including all new game development, and is also moving existing games over. You can learn more about the topic in the Sony/Forrester webinar at http://www.eseminarslive.com/article2/0,2290,2020884,00.asp.
    2. We are clearly more Oracle-compatible than anyone (except Oracle). You can learn more in our white paper on the topic at http://www.enterprisedb.com/solutions/resource-center.do#whitepapers. I’d also invite you to stay tuned for some significant additional compatibility announcements very soon.
    3. You raise a great point about plug-compatibility on the administration side. We focus on application compatibility, not administrative. As you correctly point out, Oracle and PostgreSQL are entirely different underlying databases, so the admin is different. On the other hand, keep an eye on us for some interesting developments to make things easier going forward.
    4. ANTs? They’re a public company. Take a look at their most recent 10-Q at http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/796655/000115752306011341/a5273785.htm to understand their current state of affairs.

    Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions at all.

    Andy Astor, CEO

  3. Curt Monash on January 31st, 2007 2:23 pm

    Andy Astor e-mailed me to clarify that he’s NOT making any particular claims about what particular kinds of gameplay data are or aren’t stored in an RDBMS.

    Good. 🙂

    I hope to talk to him soon about a broader range of issues.

  4. MMO games are still screwed up in their database technology | DBMS2 -- DataBase Management System Services on June 14th, 2009 4:46 pm

    […] Yes, Linden Labs/Second Life uses Streambase (I don’t know what the actual DBMS is), and Sony Online uses EnterpriseDB.  Somebody also told me they expected their technology to be used in the forthcoming Knights of […]

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