Database Agent

Lisa Vaas at eWeek is starting to turnout those very informative reports in which the principals tell/reveal all with remarkable candor – albeit with a little help from Lisa and analyst friends reading between the lines. Take the recent IBM decision to Open Source its Informix divisions Cloudscape database.

First Lisa lets IBM reveal its company line on all the implications and reasons for the release of the Cloudscape database written in Java. We learn that Cloudscape “represents $85 million of $1B paid for Informix”. It is also “the first fully functional java database released to Open Source” unlike Pointbase and Sleepycat which are ” rudimentary, just above a file-system database[s], not a full Java database”. Also IBM maintains that “the developer community for Cloudscape now consists of about 80 IBM developers” – unfortunately they do not tell us how far into the future such a level of support will be maintained.

Having allowed IBM to take altruistic credit for the Cloudscape move, she then raises some of the possible benefits that accrue to the Armonkers. For example, this puts more pressure on Microsoft which does not have a free database in the market (but that will change with Longhorn when SQL Server Lite (Yukon) becomes a part of the operating system). Lisa also sees advantage against MySQL which is gaining large mindshare as well as substabtial marketshare in the Open Source database marketplace.

Lisa gets analysts like Ted Schadler from Forrester and Charlie Garry from Meta to essentially confirm and elaborate on the analysis. Specifically, Schadler sees Cloudcape having a very good chance for succeeding because of the prestige and savvy of Apache and the enterprise caliber of the Cloudscape database. Metas Garry sees this Open Sourcing of Cloudscape as different from CAs Ingres (which is much more customized) and MySQLs more all or nothing GPL or “buy from us” model. In sum, the only thing we dont know is if this is IBMs response to Suns counter-challenge to IBM – “dont call on us to Open Source Java until you have Open Sourced DB2”. All in all a very good report on whats breaking out in Open Source databases.

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