The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend

So EnterpriseDB had a number of announcements today; a [ re-alignment of their product line], the [ open sourcing of their recently purchased GridSQL product], and the securing of [ a new round of funding which included among the investors none other than IBM]. Depending on where you stand, these may not seem that exciting, but I think all of them should have some impact in their respective areas, though of course the juicy one is that IBM investment. With regards to their re-alignment of their product line, well, I don’t think this is terribly exciting for me personally, but I suspect it will help them simplify their development efforts (which I’ve always thought was a critical component for keeping their business going; drifting one’s closed source code from the open source project’s code has been the death of [ previous efforts]), and will probably make it easier for customers to move between their open source bundle and their proprietary product. What’s probably more important, though really overlooked, is the various “quickstart” guides that are supposed to be bundled into the product, which help developers get started with various technologies ranging from JDBC to Drupal. This is something that Microsoft has done for [ IIS and PHP], and something I’ve really wanted to work on for PostgreSQL, but haven’t had time for. As to the open sourcing of GridSQL; again for me this is not significant. I do have to give them a nod for continuing their commitment to open source in general, though I would have like to see this come under a BSD license, rather than their exception driven GPL scheme. It will be interesting to see if they can build a community around it; it is generally extremely difficult to build a community around [ open source products]. I think they might have more luck in getting parts of GridSQL pushed out into existing projects, but that will be easier to discern now that the code is out there, for me at least, the code and the features just sound too magical. But of course this leaves me to think about the IBM investment into EnterpriseDB. The thing that sticks out the most is the question of Why? Why would IBM invest into EntperiseDB, when they have (at least) 3 other database products that they own themselves (DB2, Informix, and the [ recently purchased SolidDB]), not to mention their existing agreement with [ MySQL] (err.. Sun). Maybe this is just a reflection of IBM’s movement from a product company toward a services company, and they see the expansion of EnterpriseDB and Postgres as growing a market that will someday serve as future customers (actually DB2 and Postgres are pretty similar). Or maybe what is really going on is that IBM is fed up with hearing how they just can’t measure up to Oracle. I mean the recent [ survey stating that Oracle ranked #1] across the board just had to get their goat, and EntepriseDB probably looks like a good solution; a product that they feel doesn’t have a chance to displace any of the major players, but something that can cut a small percentage directly out of the Oracle customer base might be enough to help get DB2 into the #1 spot. For EntepriseDB, if they can work the aforementioned small percentage into say, 10%, they have a pretty viable business. So, is that it? Maybe they can’t build a bigger [ yacht], but they can help spawn a dozen new ways to help take down their biggest rival.