Ok who would have guessed that the Open Source movement would be embraced in this way – giving away your database for free by most of the major database vendors. Well MySQL started the trend and has been very successful at turning its 60% market hare in LAMP into very positive market share in the database arena. In effect, MySQL used the protection of giving away its database free on just about every Linux distribution and its own website for all the other popular OS platforms(notably Windows, where MySQL has a great set of utilities and easy database installs). This free database then kept customers intact while MySQL went on to add Enterprise caliber features such as support for sub-queries, views, clustering, parallel and/or grid processing, triggers + constraints, stored procedure, etc. Can you imagine a commercial venture trying to vie with DB2, Oracle, SQL Server etc without such a list of features ?

Well now the database industry is embracing free databases for development and even some deployment purposes. But als, they are not Open Source in term of code like MySQL. But all the major database vendors are offering various degrees of Open Source, free development and deployment. Here is a quick summary list of what is available:
PostgreSQL – offers free source code , developer and deployment DB with basic Developer studio
DB2 Viper 9 Express C – offers free full DB for develop and partial for deploy – unlimited users, 2Core server and 4GB RAM
MS SQL Server 2005 Express – offers free developer and deployment on Windows only – separate Mgmt and Visual Studio tools
Oracle Express XE – offers free developer, and deployment – one DB instance any platform, many support tools
Sybase ASE Express
– offers free develop and deploy DB for Linux only – complete set of mgmt and developer tools
SQL Anywhere 10 – offers free developer but restricted deployment – basic management and developer tools
As you can see from this quick summary, what you get for free varies fairly widely. PostgreSQL is the complete works as it is based on Open Source. IBM gives away a very compete system with multiple database instanaces, new XML Viper support and very good mangement and developer tools. Oracle and Microsoft give away trimmed down databases with serious feature cutbacks and , in the case of Oracle, a 1GB database operations limit.

In short it is not absolutely free – but on the other hand, the opportunity to develop a database with a wide set of features and capabilities at a very low start-up cost is now much more feasible than ever before. We shall be following up with reviews of these opportunities in the months ahead.

(c) JBSurveyer 2006