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EnterpriseDB goes mission critical at Sony Online Entertainment

The Sony Online Entertainment deal with EnterpriseDB means that open source software has once again cruised into a mission critical space.

Sony Online Entertainment Inc. (SOE), the online games giant responsible for popular games like Everquest 2 and Star Wars Galaxies, will migrate to open source EnterpriseDB Advanced Server 8.1.

SOE will use EnterpriseDB for its online games and services infrastructure, which, in effect, will service thousands of online gamers who subscribe to SOE developed games. The migration represents one of the largest sales to date for the Iselin, N.J.-based EnterpriseDB, which has had its open source relational database product on the market since it went beta in 2005.

EnterpriseDB is an enterprise-class relational database management system (RDBMS) that is built on PostgreSQL. PostgreSQL is a free object-relational database server (database management system) released under a flexible BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution)-style license.

The new customer was especially important for EnterpriseDB because it represented a major win over open source competitors like MySQL. Although SOE vice president of business and legal affairs Rick Herman would not say on the record which other database vendors the company looked at for the migration, he did agree that open source database players besides EnterpriseDB had been vetted.

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"One factor we looked at was ease of migration, and one of the big advantages that EnterpriseDB had over some of the other products out there was that it was compatible with our existing [Oracle] database," Herman said. "The fact that it was a flexible product with directed features and functionality was also in line with our business needs."

To Forrester Research Inc. senior analyst Noel Yuhanna, there was significance in the fact that SOE had examined other open source database vendors during its evaluation process.

"There is certainly demand picking up for open source databases, and we are going to be seeing more and more of these larger companies adopting an open source database strategy," Yuhanna said. "With Sony -- it was dealing with lots of data -- online gaming data -- and paying $40,000 a processor to a company like Oracle, and that certainly was adding up."

Yuhanna said that as open source databases continue to break into mission critical parts of the enterprise, as they did with SOE, more and more large-scale companies will continue to invest in technologies like EnterpriseDB, PostgreSQL and others.

The vendor lock-in associated with proprietary database players was also a major consideration when selecting EnterpriseDB, Herman said. "The cost of acquiring and owning and maintaining an open source database is dramatically lower. As our needs grow, the database has gotten crazy. When this option became available, there were other open source databases in the mix, but we kept circling back to EnterpriseDB."

SOE also became an EnterpriseDB investment partner with an undisclosed sum. Through the investment, SOE joins venture capitalists Charles River Ventures and Valhalla Partners in EnterpriseDB's Series A financing.

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