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Reading between the lines of EnterpriseDB’s survey resultsMatthew Aslett, July 23, 2008 @ 5:19 am ET
While the company understandably highlights the adoption of PostgreSQL for transaction-intensive applications and its high reliability and performance and scalability EnterpriseDB has done a pretty good job of presenting the results in an unbiased manner.
I couldn’t help feeling that some of the more interesting results are hidden at the end of or buried within EnterpriseDB’s write-up, or even missing entirely, however.
For example, right at the end of its report EnterpriseDB states that “eight three percent have yet to pay for the use of their open source database” which speaks volumes about both the challenge that open source database vendors face in converting users to paying customers and the opportunity that is open to them if they can find a solution.
The company also states that “a majority of respondents indicated that they used an open source database in order to migrate away from their use of Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle commercial databases” which is technically accurate but a little misleading. It further adds that “less than one percent indicated they moved off of IBM DB2 to an open source database. Microsoft SQL Server was the highest at eleven percent while Oracle was at six percent.”
EnterpriseDB doesn’t tell us how many migrated from ‘other databases’ (which was the other answer available) but I think it’s fair to say that the majority of respondents in fact indicated that they had not used an open source database in order to migrate away from a proprietary database.
This supports the results we saw in our own recent open source database report as well as recent results from a Forrester survey. As I told eWeek in response to that survey, “Even EnterpriseDB, which offers proprietary Oracle-compatible functionality on top of PostgreSQL, is pitched more at Oracle avoidance projects than Oracle replacement projects.”
Back to EnterpriseDB’s survey, and Sam Dean at OStatic has questioned the finding that “only nine percent of respondents said they prefer commercial databases to open source ones”. The answer lies in the question being asked, which was “What prevents you or your company from using an open source database?”.
Clearly the result Sam mentions doesn’t mean that 81% of respondents prefer open source databases, but it does mean that only 9% have a preference for commercial databases that would prevent the use of open source databases.
While 85% indicated that “nothing prohibits their company from using an open source database” likewise that doesn’t mean that 85% are actually using an open source database.
Unfortunately EnterpriseDB didn’t share the result of the question “Have you ever used an open source database in your job or company?”. In the context of this survey, that’s a pretty significant result to leave out.
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