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Open Source Databases are Only Suitable for Small to Medium Enterprises and Home Users?

An open source database is one where the license grants users the right to use, study, change and improve the software through the availability of its source code. There are many open source databases, of which MySQL and PostgreSQL are best known. MySQL is the simplest, smallest and most popular, and widely used for websites in particular. PostgreSQL is considered to be more robust, scalable, and standards compliant, and can handle multiple transactions easily. Examples of open source databases include:


Open Source Databases


Commercial Databases

Open source databases can be a good alternative to commercial databases. Both smaller and larger companies are looking to open source databases as means of cost saving in the current economic climate. PostgreSQL and MySQL are well known open source database management systems which are freely available, stable, robust, and secure and provide an inexpensive way to design and implement server-based databases in a multi-platform environment. However, databases are complex structures and if the user doesnt have enough training they might end up spending more money than they bargained for, or end up messing up their business all together. So sometimes it is wise to pay a fee for this service if the user is not familiar with databases, and commercial databases offer security, support and maintenance 24/7. In conclusion, we consider that open source databases can be suitable for both small businesses/home users and large enterprises. The Accenture survey shows that large organisations are looking to move to open source software and some are already committed to it. Large companies generally have the resources to overcome the difficulties of adopting open source software, such as dedicating personnel to take on the responsibility for support and software development themselves. From our research we have established that open source databases work in similar ways to the major commercial databases. Commercial databases do have a good reputation for reliability, efficiency and security, but the expense makes them more suitable for large companies. By comparison, open source databases can be suitable for all sizes of organisations provided you know what you are doing and you recognise that the total cost of ownership will not be entirely free.

Initial outlay is free. There is no purchase cost and no complex licensing requirements. No need to account for copies in use, reducing administrative overhead.

Commercial databases require payment to use their databases. The billing system is different for each of them. Some charge their subscribers a flat fee, some by articles or lines and some for the time spent in their system.

NUMBER OF FEATURES AND SCALABILITY Open source databases are fundamentally similar to the major commercial databases. Commercial databases have proven to be reliable and have advanced security features They are data storage and retrieval systems and use SQL. compared to open source database. They have advanced, easy SQL Replication and They can be manipulated to suit the needs of the company as long as you have the High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HADR) tools; skills. However, there is also the risk it could be mis-oonfigured. Customers get backup compression to save storage costs (its not an issue if you have Open source databases tend to suit a smaller data size and a lower number of users as a web app that stores a grand total of 50MB of data, but its fundamental when you have they were historically created for the developer market. 50TB) RELIABILIITY AND SECURITY Lets put it this way: every time you buy something with your VISA, that transaction Open source software is public domain and peer reviewed, and so it is highly auditable passes through IBMs DB2. Furthermore, DB2 holds the world record for TPC-C and exposed to extreme scrutiny with problems being found and fixed rather than benchmarks, with over 10,000,000 transactions per minute. As a customer, all of your hidden. data is backed up every few hours and then stored offsite. Even in the worst of circumstances, data loss will always be minimal. SUPPORT There can be additional costs associated with training and support for open source databases, which typically need to be bought from a third party. The community approach to enhancements and modifications may lead to unsupported or poorly documented changes. More self-direction is required with regard to the design and management of the database, which may be a problem when switching from commercial providers. Administrators have to provide their own database recovery plans for example. Commercial database customers need to worry less about training and maintenance because there is always support 24/7 provided by the database vendor themselves, whose many years of experience should make them both efficient and fast. Support is more user friendly. You generally have the option to access your database using just a simple web browser like Explorer or Firefox.

A proprietary (or commercial) database is licensed under exclusive rights of its developer. The licensee is not given the right to modify or further distribute it. It is often licensed in a package with support and upgrades. For large enterprises, particularly in the financial sector, Oracle is often perceived as the gold standard. Oracle and IBM tend to battle for the mid-range database market on UNIX and Linux platforms, while Microsoft dominates the mid-range database market on Microsoft Windows platforms. Examples include:


Examples of Companies using Open Source Software

Large Enterprise Examples:

Completely vendor independent - companies can select the hardware and operating Some databases , for example those by Microsoft, will only work on Windows systems. system they want, or already have. Regularly updated to give customers paramount service and excellent features for their Open source databases are quite stable and do not release unnecessary updates. money. The user may have to pay again to run the new version.

Silicon Republic, (2010). Open Source Investment to Increase Survey [online]. Available from: http://www.siliconrepublic.com/strategy/item/18263-open-source-investment-to [Accessed: 9 November 2010] My SQL, (2008). Virgin Mobile Implements MySQL Enterprise [online]. Available from: http://www.mysql.com/news-and-events/generate-article.php?id=2008_02 [Accessed: 9 November 2010] Wikipedia, (2010), Open Source Software [online]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_software [Accessed: 2November 2010] SearchOracle, (2009). The MySQL open source database in the enterprise [online]. Available from: http://searchoracle.techtarget.com/tutorial/The-MySQL-open-source-database-in-the-enterprise [Accessed: 2 November 2010] IT Business Edge, (2009). Who Is Using Open Source Business Intelligence, and Why [online]. Available from: http://www.itbusinessedge.com/cm/community/features/interviews/blog/who-is-using-open-sourcebusiness-intelligence-and-why/?cs=35889 [Accessed: 9November 2010] Zdnet, (2010). Facebook Outage due to Internal Errors Says Company [online]. Available from: http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/systems-management/2010/09/26/facebook-outage-due-to-internal-errors-sayscompany-40090273/ [Accessed: 9 November 2010] Network world. (2008). 10 open source companies to watch [online]. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2008/090208-open-to-watch.html [Accessed: 17November 2010] Cnet (2008). 85% of companies using open source [online]. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-1009862492.html [Accessed: 17November 2010] Ingres http://ingres.com/ [Accessed: 17 November 2010] MySQL (2010)Customers by Industry [Online]. Available from: http://www.mysql.com/customers/industry/?id=65 [Accessed: 11 November 2010] TechRepublic(2010)Selecting a database: Open source or commercial?[Online]. Available from: http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-1054291.html [Accessed: 11 November 2010] Michelle Murrain (2002)Open Source Database Technologies[Online]. Available from: http://www.staffs.ac.uk/uniservices/infoservices/library/find/references/harvard/index.php#website [Accessed: 24 November 2010] Commercial vendors, packages and related information Available from: http://www.freebsd.org/commercial/ Wikipedia, (2010), Proprietary software [online] Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprietary_software IBM-DB2 reliability, efficiency and data server [online] available from:http://www01.ibm.com/software/data/db2/ Commercial Databases, Available from: http://stason.org/TULARC/education-books/internet-inforesearch/26-Commercial-Databases-Information-Venues-part-1-Informa.html

Open Source Survey by Accenture of 300 Large Organisations

Figure 1 Figure 2
A new survey by Accenture of 300 large organisations in the private and public sector across the US,UK and Ireland has found that many organisations are planning to increase investment in Open source software in 2010. The main reasons were given as quality, reliability and cost saving. The survey was carried out in October 2010 and refers to open source software in general, not specifically databases. The key results are illustrated by the graphs as follows: Figure.1 shows that nearly two-thirds of organisations surveyed anticipate increased investment in OSS. Figure.2 shows that more than a third of companies are expecting to move missioncritical applications to OSS in the next 12 months. Figure.3 shows that exactly half of the respondents are fully committed to OSS in their business. More than a quarter are experimenting and keeping an open mind, leaving less than a quarter impassive. Figure.4 shows that over two thirds will increase their investment in open source software this year compared to 2009.



Small/Mid size company examples:

69% 62%

Organisations anticipating OSS Investment

Examples of Companies using Commercial Software

Organisations not anticipating OSS Investment

Organisations migrating mission critical applications to OSS within 12months Organisations not yet migrating mission-critical applications to OSS

100 Percentage 80 60 40 20 0 Fully committed to OSS

Figure 3
100 Percantage 80 60 40 20 0 Increase Investment

Figure 4

Experimenting with OSS

Not using OSS

Not Increase Investment

Attitude to Open Source Software

Companies to increase investment compared to 2009