Now more than ever, leaders in the IT world such as Red Hat and Novell are seeing the benefits of taking the best of the open source world to develop viable business software solutions suitable for enterprise use. In return, these organisations pass development back into the open source community.
This trend is also proving very successful in the database industry. Businesses are increasingly looking for technologies with not only a high level of functionality but also a viable price/performance ratio. This has opened up opportunities for VARs to team up with new entrants in the database market, traditionally dominated by three big players (Oracle, IBM and Microsoft).
While functionality is key for businesses, price/performance has increasingly become a businesses’ number one priority. It is not uncommon for an organisation to be using only 40 per cent of the capability of its software while still paying for the full 100 per cent. The problem is that not all businesses need the same 40 per cent. Clearly there is a need for alternatives that give the functionality needed by the majority, without the expense of the less used features that so many pay through the nose for.
This is where open source software such as PostgreSQL and MySQL are driving positive changes within the database industry. Moreover, VARs are now realising the potential of software that is powered by open source but supported by a commercial enterprise. Offering businesses competitively priced enterprise class alternatives to the big three enables VARs to increase profit margins and open up new revenue streams through the provision of additional services.
This trend is resulting in further commoditisation of the database market, whereby businesses are increasingly likely to swap their established, high-cost solution for a viable, lower-cost alternative. Businesses no longer associate open source with instability, complexity or unreliability, but realise that open source supported by commercial enterprise will allow them to achieve everything they want at a fraction of the cost.
The challenge for database vendors and VARs alike is how to offer businesses what they need while staying competitive. While this challenge is being addressed in different ways the amalgam of open source and enterprise is an approach that is proving successful and could even dominate in coming years.
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