I want to thank Matt Aslett & The 451 Group for being brave enough to publish this report on the impact of open source databases on the DB market. An excerpt:

“One of the key findings is that open source software has had a superficial impact on the enterprise database market in that adoption has been widespread but shallow. While open source databases have been widely deployed for Web-tier applications, there has been minimal adoption in the enterprise application tier, and adoption for enterprise applications is at this time limited to certain specific application workloads.”

Matt “the OSS glass is overflowing, go get another glass, oh man, it’s overflowing, get a bucket, oh man, get a hot tub” Asay believes the report to be a “glass half empty” assessment. (Matt, I’m teasing; the world needs more optimists like you).

When data refutes “obvious truths about OSS”, we often hear one of three responses.

  1. The data is flawed.
  2. You’re measuring revenue, and OSS companies will always make less than proprietary vendors because of the nature of the business model.
  3. Just you wait; the OSS market is still young.

Let me address #2 & #3 using recent revenue results from two vendors we all know. Red Hat released revenue results today. They grew fourth quarter revenue by 27%. Not bad at all. Two days ago Oracle reported a 21% increase in quarterly revenue. The only difference being that Red Hat grew from a $111.4 million base, while Oracle grew from a $4.42 billion base. Younger businesses, addressing younger markets (i.e. the OSS market), should be growing substantially higher than their older counterparts, addressing older markets. Shouldn’t they?

I don’t want to sound like Red Hat’s growth is not impressive. It is. I only want to provide some perspective…a $100M business *SHOULD* grow much, much, much faster than a $4.4B business.