EnterpriseDB has its head in the cloud

EnterpriseDB plans in March to start beta-testing an online version of its Oracle-compatible database that will leverage Amazon.com Inc.’s Web-based computing and storage services.

The EnterpriseDB Advanced Server Cloud Edition will be much more powerful than the SimpleDB Web database that Amazon itself plans to offer, claimed Bob Zurek, the Edison, N.J.-based software vendor’s chief technology officer.

Zurek added that EnterpriseDB, which bases its commercially licensed software on the open-source PostgreSQL database, will offer a new pricing model that will help it compete with Oracle Corp.’s databases and the MySQL open-source technology that Sun Microsystems Inc. recently agreed to buy.

In an interview conducted last week in advance of Tuesday’s announcement of the Cloud Edition plans, Zurek declined to disclose specifics about the company’s pricing plans. But the pricing “will be disruptive,” he said. “I don’t think Oracle will like this.”

Zurek didn’t stop there in his predictions. “What MySQL was for LAMP, we will be for the Cloud,” he said, referring to the popular open-source technology stack of Linux, Apache, MySQL and either Perl, PHP or Python.

The new database will be hosted on and run from Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, while database table data will be stored using Amazon’s S3 online storage service.

Besides the EnterpriseDB offering and SimpleDB, other Web-based databases that already are available include Trackvia Inc.’s namesake software, Intuit Inc.’s QuickBase and Google Inc.’s GoogleBase. There are even ways to store MySQL data on S3, or to fully run that database within the EC2 service.

But Zurek claimed that EnterpriseDB’s product will be more powerful than the others because it has full online transaction processing capabilities. And because of high-performance storage technology from Elastra Corp., a business partner in San Francisco, the Cloud Edition will scale on demand better than rival products will, he said.

“SimpleDB is great, but it’s not a transactional database,” Zurek said, adding that the Cloud Edition will enable companies looking to store data online “to get started and then scale up or scale out as needed.”

Zurek promised that users won’t have to worry that relying on S3 to store huge tables of data will prove to be slow because of network limitations — or that it will be overly expensive, given that Amazon charges S3 users based on the amount of data they transfer. Users can easily transfer their data back to a conventional EnterpriseDB database and run it on regular servers behind their own firewalls, he said.

EnterpriseDB is a privately held company and doesn’t disclose its financial results. But the company said earlier this month that both its sales and its customer count grew by more than 250 per cent last year. The company claims to have about 200 customers overall, including Sony Online Entertainment LLC, FTD Group Inc. and Vonage Holdings Corp.

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