Our 2013 Database survey is now live

451 Research’s 2013 Database survey is now live at http://bit.ly/451db13 investigating the current use of database technologies, including MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL, as well as traditional relation and non-relational databases.

The aim of this survey is to identify trends in database usage, as well as changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle, and the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other databases, including NoSQL and NewSQL technologies.

There are just 15 questions to answer, spread over five pages, and the entire survey should take less than ten minutes to complete.

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due during Q2.

The full report will be available to 451 Research clients, while the results of the survey will also be made freely available via a
presentation at the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo in April.

Last year’s results have been viewed nearly 55,000 times on SlideShare so we are hoping for a good response to this year’s survey.

One of the most interesting aspects of a 2012 survey results was the extent to which MySQL users were testing and adopting PostgreSQL. Will that trend continue or accelerate in 2013? And what of the adoption of cloud-based database services such as Amazon RDS and Google Cloud SQL?

Are the new breed of NewSQL vendors having any impact on the relational database incumbents such as Oracle, Microsoft and IBM? And how is SAP HANA adoption driving interest in other in-memory databases such as VoltDB and MemSQL?

We will also be interested to see how well NoSQL databases fair in this year’s survey results. Last year MongoDB was the most popular, followed by Apache Cassandra/DataStax and Redis. Are these now making a bigger impact on the wider market, and what of Basho’s Riak, CouchDB, Neo4j, Couchbase et al?

Additionally, we have been tracking attitudes to Oracle’s ownership of MySQL since the deal to acquire Sun was announced. Have MySQL users’ attitudes towards Oracle improved or declined in the last 12 months, and what impact will the formation of the MariaDB Foundation have on MariaDB adoption?

We’re looking forward to analyzing the results and providing answers to these and other questions. Please help us to get the most representative result set by taking part in the survey at http://bit.ly/451db13

CAOS Theory Podcast 2012.06.22

Topics for this podcast:

*Sauce Labs grows with fast Selenium application testing
*MySQL, NoSQL, NewSQL survey results and analysis
*Microsoft’s Linux love leaves out Red Hat
*Hadoop roundup with Cloudera, Hortonworks and VMware
*2012 Future of Open Source Survey highlights

iTunes or direct download (28:28, 5.1MB)

Got open source cloud storage? Red Hat buys Gluster

Red Hat’s $136m acquisition of open source storage vendor Gluster marks Red Hat’s biggest buy since JBoss and starts the fourth quarter with a very intersting deal. The acquisition is definitely good for Red Hat since it bolsters its Cloud Forms IaaS and OpenShift PaaS technology and strategy with storage, which is often the starting point for enterprise and service provider cloud computing deployments. The acquisition also gives Red Hat another weapon in its fight against VMware, Microsoft and others, including OpenStack, of which Gluster is a member (more on that further down). The deal is also good for Gluster given the sizeable price Red Hat is paying for the provider of open source, software-based, scale-out storage for unstructured data and also as validation of both open source and software in today’s IT and cloud computing storage.

This is exactly the kind of disruption we’ve been seeing and expecting as Linux vendors compete with new rivals in virtualization, cloud computing and different layers of the stack, including storage (VMware, Microsoft, OpenStack, Oracle, Amazon and others), as covered in our recent special report, The Changing Linux Landscape.

While the deal makes perfect sense for both Red Hat and for Gluster, it also has implications for the white hot open source cloud computing project OpenStack. There was no mention of OpenStack in Red Hat’s FAQ on the deal, but there was a reference to ongoing support for Gluster partners, of which there are many fellow OpenStack members. OpenStack was also highlighted among Gluster’s key open standards participation along with the Linux Foundation and Red Hat-led Open Virtualization Alliance oriented around KVM. Sources at both Gluster and Red Hat, which point to OpenStack support being bundled into Red Hat’s coming Fedora 16, also reiterated to me Red Hat is indeed planning to continue involvement with OpenStack around the Gluster technologies. I suspect Red Hat is looking to leverage Gluster more for its own purposes than for OpenStack’s, but I must also acknowledge Red Hat’s understanding of the value of openness, community and compatibility. Taking that idea a step further, Gluster may represent a way that Red Hat can integrate with and tap into the OpenStack community by blending it with its own community around Fedora, RHEL, JBoss, RHEV and Cloud Forms and OpenShift.

The deal also leads many to wonder whether or what may be next for Red Hat in terms of acquisition. We’ve long thought database and data management technologies were areas where we might see Red Hat building out. This was also the subject of renewed rumors recently, and we believe it might still be an attractive piece for Red Hat given the open source opportunities and targets around NoSQL technologies such as Apache Hadoop distributed data management framework and Cassandra distributed database management software. We’ve also believed systems management to be a potential place for Red Hat to further expand. Given its need to largely stay within open source, we would expect targets in this area to include GroundWork Open Source, which joins Linux and Windows systmes in its monitorig and management, and Zenoss, which works with Cisco and Red Hat rival VMware in monitoring and managing systems with its open source software. Another potential target that would increase Red Hat’s depth in open source virtualization and cloud computing is Convirture, which might also be an avenue for Red Hat to reach out to midmarket and SMB customers and channel players. Red Hat was among the non-OpenStack members we listed as potential acquirers when considering the M&A possibilities (451 subscribers) out of OpenStack.

Given its recent quarterly earnings report and topping the $1 billion annual revenue mark, Red Hat seems again to be bucking the bad economy. We’ve written before in 2008 and more recently how bad economic conditions can be good for open source software. Red Hat is atop the list of open source vendors that suffer as traditional, enterprise IT customers such as banks freeze spending or worse, fail. However, the company’s deal for Gluster is yet another sign it is thriving and expanding despite economic difficulty and uncertainty.

You don’t have to just look at Red Hat’s earnings or take our word for it. On Jim Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ this week, we heard Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst praised for Red Hat performance and traction where most companies and many economists are throwing the blame: financial services, government and Europe. Cramer credited Red Hat for a ‘spectacular quarter’ and allowed Whitehurst to tout the benefits of the Gluster technology and acquisition, particularly Gluster’s software-based storage technology that matches cloud computing. It was quite a contrast to the news out of Oracle Open World, where hardware was a focal point.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.09.30

Topics for this podcast:

*Cloud M&A potential around OpenStack
*Oracle’s commercial extensions for MySQL
*Puppet Labs rolls out Enterprise 2.0, hosts PuppetConf
*Basho bolsters Riak distributed data store in NoSQL race
*Our latest special CAOS report, ‘The Changing Linux Landscape’

iTunes or direct download (25:59, 4.4MB)

451 CAOS Links 2011.06.14

Apache OpenOffice.org proposal approved. SkySQL Tekes new funding. And more.

# The proposal for OpenOffice.org to become an Apache incubator project was unanimously approved.

# Rob Weir discussed how the relationship between OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice need not be a zero-sum game.

# Simon Phipps offered his thoughts on the potential positive and negative outcomes.

# Tekes, the main public funding agency for research, development, and innovation in Finland, awarded SkySQL a grant of €250,000 and a loan of over €600,000.

# Opscode announced the general availability of Opscode Hosted Chef, formerly the Opscode Platform, and launched the Private Chef appliance.

# Infobright launched version 4.0 of its open source analytic database.

# Glyn Moody questioned whether we still need the FSF, GNU and the GPL.

# Cenatic published its analysis of the criteria for adopting open source software in public administrations.

# Nuxeo and Hippo announced a technology alliance through which they have built an ECM/WCM connector based on the OASIS CMIS standard.

# The VAR Guy wondered whether Canonical’s Ubuntu focus is too diverse.

# Sandro Groganz discussed what US-based open source vendors need to know about Europe.

# The Xen code for Dom0 has been accepted into the Linux mainline kernel.

# Brian Proffitt covered the two faces of UK open source.

# The VAR Guy encouraged Adobe to engage more with open source.

# Matt Asay pondered Red Hat’s potential to challenge Oracle with a database of its own.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2011.01.07

Topics for this podcast:

*Our preview of open source highlights for 2011
*Progress spins off open source middleware company FuseSource
*Sonatype Professional highlights Apache Maven commercialization
*Neo Technology updates Neo4j open source graph database
*2011 to be year of Linux in cloud computing

iTunes or direct download (23:48, 4.1MB)

Webinar: navigating the changing landscape of open source databases

When we published our 2008 report on the impact of open source on the database market the overall conclusion was that adoption had been widespread but shallow.

Since then we’ve seen increased adoption of open source software, as well as the acquisition of MySQL by Oracle. Perhaps the most significant shift in the market since early 2008 has been the explosion in the number of open source database and data management projects, including the various NoSQL data stores, and of course Hadoop and its associated projects.

On Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 11:00 am EST I’ll be joining Robin Schumacher, Director of Product Strategy from EnterpriseDB to present a webinar on navigating the changing landscape of open source databases.

Among the topics to be discussed are:

· the needs of organizations with hybrid mixed-workload environments

· how to choose the right tool for the job

· the involvement of user corporations (for better or for worse) in open source projects today.

You can find further details about the event and register here.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2009.12.18

Topics for this podcast:

*2009 review and 2010 preview
*New CAOS survey and report – Climate Change
*Ups and downs in new round of GPL lawsuits
*Oracle-Sun-MySQL saga continues

iTunes or direct download (30:00, 6.9 MB)

Closing Oracle out of open source?

The complaints and concerns over Oracle’s pending acquisition of Sun Microsystems and open source MySQL database grew this week to calls for the acquisition, or at least the relatively small MySQL part of it, to be blocked. The Open Rights Group calling for such blockage was joined by none other than the father of the free software movement, Richard Stallman. However, I have to once again question how free and open are these free and open source software advocates? Is the movement and FOSS open to all (except Microsoft, Oracle or anyone else the Open Rights Group, Richard Stallman or any other number of FOSS groups or figures so deems at some point in the future)? Sounds like the kind of control and red tape we refer to when we warn vendors against undoing the benefits of open source, particularly openness, flexibility and transparency.

Funny how we were contemplating similar concerns about MySQL’s open source fate when Sun acquired MySQL for $1 billion in 2008. Sun ended up having minimal impact on the open source nature of MySQL, thanks in part to the force and direction of the MySQL community.

Still, would we expect Oracle to do any worse than Sun in terms of supporting integration and continued progress for their new product? I think we would actually expect quite a bit more from Oracle, which has illustrated its ability to both execute and integrate numerous times in the past.

The argument to keep Oracle from acquiring MySQL is reminiscent of the loud calls to keep Microsoft from getting some of its software licenses approved as open source by the OSI. It also has parallels to the restriction of open source software from military and weapons uses. Although it might not be tasteful to all supporters of free and open source software, their very mantras and doctrines dictate their software and communites are open to all equally. Anything less is a contradiction of the core ideology of free and open source software.

We’ve expressed our own concerns about Oracle taking over MySQL, including the idea that Oracle may have a somewhat limited appreciation of open source community. However, in the end, and with reinforcement at last week’s Oracle OpenWorld, the company appears to realize the value and purpose of MySQL and its community. Whatever Oracle does not know or understand about MySQL, its community, its customers or open source, the vendor will most likely learn quickly if history is precedent.

Greenplum and the opportunity for cloud-based data warehousing

I just published a post about opportunities for cloud-based databases and data warehousing over on our Too Much Information blog, which I thought might be of interest to CAOS Theory readers given the involvement of Greenplum.

Oracle buys Sun, but does it buy open source?

The big news to kick off this week was Oracle’s announced acquisition of Sun Microsystems. There is already a lot of discussion of the integration challenges, how Oracle is getting into hardware (or as Matt Asay describes it, having an ‘iPod moment’) and of course, the implications for open source software. What stands out to me is the fact that the world’s biggest proprietary database player — one of few software giants that still sells and supports primarily proprietary software — will own the world’s most popular open source database, MySQL. It is unclear how significantly MySQL figures into the deal, but given Sun spent $1b acquiring it and further invested in its enterprise readiness and use, it must mean something. What is perhaps even more unclear is what will happen going forward to MySQL and the many other open source software technologies — Java, GlassFish application server, OpenOffice.org to name a few — that are under Sun’s moniker?

These questions bring Oracle’s open source citizenship, covered previously on the CAOS blog and in a 451 Group report, into the spotlight. Oracle rightfully deserves credit for its positive participation in the development of the Linux OS and many other open source projects, including Apache, Berkeley DB, Eclipse, InnoDB, PHP, SASH, Spring and Xen.

We’ve certainly emphasized Sun’s open source projects, products and strategy in assessing its value, position and opportunities. Looking across Sun’s assets, the open source holdings have been among the shiniest.

However, this doesn’t really jibe with the view of open source presented by Oracle and its CEO Larry Ellison, a view that I think somewhat misses the point of open source software. Mr. Ellison and his company have showed they value the advantages of open source software development and innovation based on Oracle’s contributions and investments in open source. Still, when asked about having top Linux vendor Red Hat or a similar open source company on his shopping list, Ellison indicated there would be no need to buy an open source company when he could simply take and use their code. In fact, that’s exactly what Ellison and Oracle did with Unbreakable Linux. While it has been taken up by a number of Oracle shops and even some additional customers that see greater value and time-savings in getting their Linux from Oracle, Unbreakable Linux has not exactly broken out. Furthermore, Oracle has always downplayed the commercial and revenue potential for Unbreakable Linux, which has had minimal impact on Red Hat.

So while Oracle has displayed an ability to participate in and benefit from open source software, I think its expectations and aspirations for open source software are limited. You can’t blame a company making billions for not getting too excited about millions, especially when sometimes the millions are simply numbers of users. Nevertheless, Sun is sitting on top of some of the most pervasive, disruptive and popular open source software used in the enterprise today.

With Oracle’s purchase of Sun, we may go from overly high expectations for Sun’s open source software — driven in large part by pressure to right the ship and reward investors — to drastically lowered expectations from Sun’s open source software by an Oracle far more concerned with proprietary software and hardware.

CAOS Theory Podcast 2008.12.05

Topics for this podcast:

* Open source getting, and going without VC investment
* Oracle contributions to Linux and open source
* Sun’s latest moves with MySQL database and version 5.1
* Linux in high-end computing

iTunes or direct download (25:50, 6.0 MB)

Reading between the lines of EnterpriseDB’s survey results

EnterpriseDB has announced the results (PDF) of its recent survey of open source database usage.

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.

Code modification: the open source database straw man

It is interesting to read RedmondDeveloper News’s take on Oracle’s attitude to open source this morning, especially this paragraph quoting Monica Kumar, Oracle’s senior director for Linux and open source product marketing:

“”We haven’t seen our customers asking for open source databases,” she told me. “Not many customers are interested in looking into the code and mucking around with it, and making changes to it. All they care about is ‘give me the best support, give me the lowest price of entry’.” For that Kumar pointed to Oracle Express.”

It is difficult to disagree with the second part of Monica’s statement. Cost savings are routinely cited as the biggest driver for open source database adoption, while the lack of robust support is the biggest barrier to open source adoption.

Certainly these were the findings of our survey of executives responsible for database purchasing, details of which were published in our recent CAOS report “Turning the Tables? – The impact of open source on the enterprise database market” (more details here).

However, the first part of Monica’s statement is a straw man that we also addressed in the report – specifically in Section 5.6 “Who wants access to code anyway?”:

“The open source database vendors themselves admit that few customers actually want to view or modify the code,” we stated. “It is worth noting, however, that the third most important reason for deploying open source databases, according to the survey results, was avoiding vendor lock-in.

“This freedom from lock-in is a benefit of open source that the Express products cannot replicate,” we added. “In fact, they could actually be seen to do the opposite…. Proprietary vendors insist that this is not the case, and that the Express products provide freedom and flexibility equal to that of the open source products. They are advised to invest in articulating the relative benefits and use cases of the Express products.”

I also tackled this issue back in December, noting that for customers that understand the value of open source, access to code is important whether they want to modify it or not, for the following reasons:

* Open source adopters understand that it the open source model creates, at least in theory, a contestable model for support and services, freeing them from lock-in.

* They also understand that open source code increases the potential for innovation. Even if they don’t want to modify the code themselves, they can pay someone to do so to make it better suit their requirements.

* They are also reassured that should the vendor in question go belly-up or be acquired, the code will live on an continue to be developed by the community.

One of the key findings of our report was that open source database adoption has been widespread but shallow (the “glass half empty” finding). However, we also noted that open source database adoption will continue to grow, and that “the Internet application space… has been more or less ceded to the open source databases”.

It is no wonder Oracle hasn’t seen customers asking for open source databases – it has been busy looking the other way. We also advised that proprietary vendors need (among other things) to be aware of the open source competition, pay close attention to the service and value they provide to existing customers, and avoid arrogance. The last of those could be the most difficult.