The current rise of the open source RDBMS

Enterprise IT has long been an industry that plays it safe. This statement applies directly to database management systems more so than any other technology, as these essential tools act as the repository for the most prized possession an organization can have: corporate data.

Unsurprisingly then, InfoWorld cited IDC statistics indicating that the overall database market is worth $40 billion today, and by 2017, it will reach $50 billion. That sector is largely dominated by IT industry powerhouses such as Microsoft and Oracle, but a recent report from Gartner reported that open source databases – relational and otherwise – are starting to take some steam out of Microsoft and Oracle’s sails.

The change is occurring
According to Gartner, open source RDBMSes have reached such a level of maturity that industry experts, DBAs and IT leaders now seriously consider those infrastructures when deploying new enterprise applications. In the past, this technology was really only favored by developers, but thanks to the cloud and the popularity of data warehousing and analytics, organizations have identified open source RDBMSes such as MySQL and PostgreSQL as a valuable asset in the data center. In fact, Gartner reported that it discovered evidence suggesting that open source RDBMSes are replacing legacy systems.

InfoWorld highlighted DB-Engine’s RDBMS popularity rankings, which put MySQL higher than Microsoft SQL Server and right behind Oracle. PostgreSQL made the list at No. 5, and when combining the two scores of MySQL and PostgreSQL, those two open source RDBMSes would rank higher than all other databases in regard to popularity.

To switch or not?
These findings do not suggest that businesses should abandon their current database infrastructure immediately, but they do stress the fact that many companies are using legacy RDBMSes and open source alternatives are a good reason to upgrade. Gartner noted that the open source RDBMS licensing model is less expensive than commercial offerings, even cloud-based database solutions.

The bottom line, according to Gartner, is that businesses should only make the switch if legacy RDBMSes cannot support new uses or applications. If that is the case, IT leaders need to carefully evaluate what an open source system would mean for their IT environments. Garnet recommended looking for a subscription-based pricing model in that scenario.

Whether you take advantage of a commercial RDBMS from Microsoft or Oracle, support an open source system or are interested in deploying both, working with experienced DBAs and database support services can ensure a smooth implementation and successful operations down the line.

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