Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HP Needs a Linux OLTP Database...FAST

Oracle, after dating HP, Dell, Netapp and EMC has found its mate in Sun. Oracle is now becoming a systems company, and unceremoniously dumping these former paramours. These leaves the spurned lovers to find alternate accommodations, especially in the area of the database.

As I have stated previously on this blog, the clear partner of choice on the Windows front is Microsoft. This is demonstrated by today’s partner announcement around MS SQL Server for OLTP. But who is their partner in the Linux segment?

The following are contenders:
* Postgres (HP rolls their own)
* EnterpriseDB (pre-rolled Postgres)
* Ingres or Sybase—Oracle has felled them both in the past, but they are hoping for new life with a big sugar daddy like HP.
* ScaleDB, If HP is going after the cloud and the MySQL market

I don’t see them going for a NoSQL solution because NoSQL = NoEnterprise, making it a non-starter for HP. One way or the other, HP needs a solution for OLTP on Linux and they are on the clock.

For OLAP, HP has NeoView. If they felt the need, there are a number of OLAP solutions out there such a Greenplum, Netizza, Asterdata, Paraccel, Ingres/Vectorwise and others. That said, I think HP feels that they are holding a good hand on in the OLAP space, but Linux-based OLTP just became a gaping hole in their product suite. Today's partnership with Microsoft confirms this problem, but only solves the Windows half not the Linux half.


  1. I don't they'll venture in a MySQL direction, considering who will own it, unless they fork their own (unlikely).

    There are some other OLTP databases out there that you don't mention that aren't NOSQL:

    Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise

  2. I think longer term you will see 'nosql' solutions in the enterprise -- just as map/reduce is being used now by enterprises even though it started out in the internet space.

  3. Hi swanhart, I mentioned Sybase, and I include Drizzle with MySQL despite the differences (including BSD license), but it needs time to reach that level of enterprise acceptance.

    DM, I figure NoSQL won't be considered "enterprise-ready", generally speaking, for a decade or more.

  4. Actually, Drizzle (the server) is licensed under the GPL as well. They inherited that license by forking the MySQL code base.

    However, there is "libdrizzle", the client library that talks with a Drizzle Server (and MySQL FWIW). This part is indeed licensed under BSD.


  5. I don't think Drizzle is a viable option at this stage, because that nature of the relationship between Sun (and therefore Oracle) and Drizzle is too unclear.

    Really Postgres is the obvious choice if we're looking for an Oracle replacement. Its feature set matches well with Oracle especially in the OLTP markets Oracle plays in. Its license is the most friendly for HP of the options mentioned above. It is already distributed on all of the major Linux distributions, and Red Hat, an HP partner, provides support for Postgres already. And, if they do decided to go for a different OLAP solution, GreenPlum, Netezza, and AsterDB all sprang from Postgres, so some extra familiarity might be of benefit.

    Sure, I wouldn't be surprised if they go with something else, but as a "drop into the stack" option, Postgres is a pretty obvious solution.

  6. At this point, more than just a "Linux DB", HP should be thinking about their "Linux stack".

    Here's my take:

    HP already offers an open source stack ( via their consulting services using Red Hat or SUSE, JBoss, OpenLDAP and MySQL.

    Given the ties that are closing with Microsoft, it would be safe to think they will try to better integrate both stacks (Microsoft and OSS), and Novell could play an interesting role here. Novell has been targeting their Linux strategy around Microsoft (the infamous deal between them, Mono and ASP.NET, Microsoft System Center agent for SUSE, Hyper-V certification for SUSE, and so on) and that's key for HP if they want to sell a consistent stack.

    The recently announced deal between HP involves bundling of MS Hyper-V and HP Insight, integration of Insight and System Center, and bundles of MS Exchange, Azure and HP systems.

    (As a side note, after all this, it can also be expected they will reduce their interest in Java and target .Net/Mono)

    They fit as pieces in a puzzle. The FOSS DB could still be offered via consulting services or they could acquire one of the options you mention, it will not mean that much of a difference. They might want to change from MySQL (and any derivatives) to Postgres/EnterpriseDB, given Oracle's acquisition, but even Microsoft is investing in MySQL on Azure, so what are they going to do is yet to be seen.

    Another interesting piece here is Citrix. Xen is analogous to Hyper-V (which may or may not be useful, depending on how much will HP bend over to MS), but Citrix also offers VDI (XenDesktop), application virtualization (XenApp) and Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V (DR, provisioning). All of which will be essential if they plan to compete against Oracle/Sun and VMware/EMC/Cisco.

    Maybe HP won't acquire Citrix and/or Novell outright, just as Cisco and EMC can acquire the other one easily, but HP and MS pockets can influence a lot over there, in the way of alliances, deals and joint ventures.

    Additionaly, the only player left is IBM, which hasn't moved much lately... If and only if something happens between HP and Novell, IBM could be forced to acquire the remaining independent Linux vendor, Red Hat. That would mean they will also have a competing stack with Linux/KVM/DB2/JBoss, and knowing that the latest DB2 engine is based on EnterpiseDB's work (Postgres) I see them as a good fit to acquire them too and control it's development.

    I have to admit that I still don't know what could happen with SAP. Will Microsoft keep trying to position their own solutions or do they want SAP?... what about VMware/EMC/Cisco? Can they keep building their enterprise application offering around FOSS acquisitions or will they need the push from SAP to compete?...

    There are many things to be seen now, but the following years will come with many interesting news in IT, that I'm sure of.