Vonage places call for EnterpriseDB database

It has already ported part of a ticketing system for managing customer support

Vonage Holdings Corp. is starting to deploy an open-source database from EnterpriseDB Corp., complementing the voice-over-IP (VoIP) provider's existing Oracle and MySQL databases.

Vonage has already ported part of its ticketing system for managing customer support from MySQL to EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, according to Tim Smith, president of Vonage Network. The software is running on T1000 and T2000 servers from Sun Microsystems Inc. using the experimental OpenSolaris operating system -- so far without any problems.

Vonage is also looking "fairly seriously" at moving its multi-terabyte billing records database from Oracle 9 to EnterpriseDB, Smith said.

Smith said he likes EnterpriseDB because it offers much of the power of Oracle, including compatibility with Oracle applications, but at the price of the open-source MySQL. "Oracle is a sledgehammer. MySQL is a small hammer. We needed something in between," he said.

Gaining a foothold into Vonage is the latest win for EnterpriseDB, which has been a roll since launching a little more than a year ago. The company now claims about 45 companies using its database, which is a customized version of the PostGreSQL open-source database optimized for high-transaction environments, according to CEO Andy Astor. The list of customers includes Sony Online, which replaced Oracle databases with EnterpriseDB for core online gaming systems, and Agri Stats Inc., which swapped out IBM DB2 databases.

EnterpriseDB also counts about 15 partners, including Sun, which in early August selected EnterpriseDB to provide support for copies of PostGreSQL bundled into servers running Sun's Solaris 10 operating system.

EnterpriseDB that month also won $20 million in financing, bringing the total amount of financing it has received up to $28.5 million.

Due to its low support prices, which range from $1 to $5,000 per processor per year, EnterpriseDB competes with other open-source database providers such as Ingres Corp., MySQL AB and GreenPlum Software Inc., which has also developed a custom version of PostGreSQL.

And because of its strong compatibility with Oracle applications, three-quarters of the deployments have been at companies that are heavy Oracle users, said Astor. "They are adding to their infrastructure, building new applications or even leveraging us as a second source," Astor said.

That makes sense to Forrester Research Inc. analyst Noel Yuhanna, who said open-source databases such as EnterpriseDB are making a lot of headway into enterprises' less-critical applications.

"A lot of enterprises are looking at open-source databases. But they are wondering how they can minimize the impact on their applications to keep migration costs down," he said.

EnterpriseDB goes a long way toward solving that problem, Yuhanna said, because more than 80% of Oracle applications can run "seamlessly" with EnterpriseDB.

Smith agreed. EnterpriseDB is "more or less compatible with Oracle," requires minimal retraining for his Oracle database administrators and costs about one-fifth the price, he said. Those savings gains, combined with competent performance and scalability, are why Vonage is seriously looking to move its billing database, which stores billions of heavily accessed call data records, to EnterpriseDB, explained Smith.

"There are lots of small records," he said. "We're not too worried about the table size; we just want to be comfortable that we can hammer it [EnterpriseDB] with a load." 

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