If users of Oracle applications have one problem it is, arguably, the ability to find any alternative that provides a serious, yet perhaps more flexible option to just upgrading to the next available version. This is particularly relevant to any user where that upgrade also requires taking the associated, and not inexpensive, step of moving up to using Oracle RAC.
Meeting that need is the new target for EnterpriseDB and Advanced Server, its distribution of the Postgres open source SQL database. According to the company’s Chief Architect Dave Page, Advanced Server is not only fully enterprise-ready but is also the most SQL-compliant implementation available:
As Postgres has moved into wider acceptance in major enterprises, the need has grown for the addition of enterprise-ready pro-tooling, and this is what we have been working to provide.
The target is to provide enterprises with a viable alternative to that major upgrade step faced by many Oracle shops – the move to Oracle RAC. This can be, say Page, 'an expensive option’:
We are not doing a RAC equivalent. But we are looking to do it another way by using clusters and sharding techniques that exploit many of the current features and tools we have added to Postgres. This is now a serious and more flexible option for enterprises looking for an alternative to upgrading their Oracle applications, especially if the only option available is a move to Oracle RAC.
A key part of this direct push into the Oracle apps market space is the recent creation by EnterpriseDB of the Oracle Migration Service and Toolkit, which brings together new tooling and management systems the company has developed with the Oracle marketplace in mind, together with new, analytically-based monitoring tools that provide better alerting with fewer false positives.
The target here is to significantly reduce the workload of the CIO and IT departments in managing production Postgres environments as well as make their deployment a great deal smoother and straight forward.
Developments designed to help this happen include creating push button deployment of code to both the cloud and/or bare metal environments, general deployment management tools and a start on deployment APIs specifically aimed at the coming DevOps/Continuous Deployment model of operations.Other developments, either imminent or coming down the road, include a new queuing system, automated streaming replication, and comprehensive backup management and automation systems. Page also said that work is now underway developing parallelism to do multiple tasks. This is particularly being targeted at meeting more needs for Oracle RAC users. Page says:
We’re considering developing something similar to the Oracle active session tool. We can already do something similar today with SQL profiler, but it’s not used 24/7. We are also looking to bring management into one tool, so that deployment can be run centrally. We already have most of the APIs and want to automate monitoring further.
As with most commercial distributions of open source software, EnterpriseDB’s Advanced Server is a mix of open source code and proprietary code designed to fit the basic application to the needs of enterprise users. It is, therefore, what is known as a managed fork of PostgreSQL, where the code is synched regularly with Postgres releases but features additional functionality. Users pay an annual subscription fee that includes all upgrades and support, which is positioned as significantly lower than licence costs from traditional software vendors.
As Page is also one of six core team members of the PostgreSQL Global Development Group, where he has a responsibility for the general maintenance and oversight of the PostgreSQL open source code and community, he also feeds back appropriate development work undertaken by the company to the community as a whole.
This is another of those opportunities where the upgrade options provided by the mainstream applications vendors can become both expensive and increasingly complex. Whether EnterpriseDB’s Advanced Server represents the right alternative is hard to say, but it does at least give enterprise users another option to consider.
Disclosure - at time of writing Oracle is a premier partner of diginomica.