Give open source databases (OSDBs) two years or less, and they'll be ready to take on the enterprise. That's not just some conclusion I came to out of my head; that's the latest word on the subject from AMR Research, a research firm that specializes in providing analysis on enterprise software. The report has not yet attracted the attention it deserves--but it will. Even IBM and Oracle may start feeling the pressure in the next year, if AMR's view on this can be trusted.
First, let's check the source of the information. AMR Research is not the biggest research firm covering technology in the field, by either income or sheer number of employees; they're much smaller than Gartner Group, for instance (which is one of the biggest and best-known companies in that area). But AMR has been around since 1986, and earned a good reputation; it's safe to take it seriously. And given its specialty, in this particular case it might be ahead of the curve. For the gist of this report, the firm says it "interviewed 140 Information Technology (IT) professionals about their plans for OSDB technologies." So this, folks, is real.
The full report in question is titled "Open Source Databases: Side Street to Main Street." (Non-subscribers can still access the abridged version, "Open Source Databases: Widespread and Mainstream by 2006.") Even that much made for very interesting reading. None of you will be surprised to learn that many companies that use databases are looking for ways to save money, and very concerned with ease of administration. This report confirms that proprietary databases frustrate those desires; those surveyed complained that "they have too many databases from too many vendors, and the databases themselves are too expensive and too hard to maintain."