Pervasive Software Joins Database Race

By Blane Warrene
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Pervasive Software became the latest to join what is fast becoming a burgeoning field of database vendors looking to capitalize on open source by way of commercial solutions. They join Sybase, MySQL and others looking for bigger pieces of the mid-size and up corporate market.

Pervasive is known in certain circles as a seasoned veteran of database infrastructure management and is now looking to use PostgreSQL’s solid reputation to bring a new services-oriented solution to the table.

At first glance it may appear they are coming out swinging at MySQL — and personally I still see that as part of the move, gaining ground prior to MySQL’s much anticipated beta release of version 5 of that venerable database. PostgreSQL of course enjoys triggers, stored procedures and other features MySQL users have been rabidly awaiting.

However, Lance Obermeyer, director of products at Pervasive, downplayed getting the jump on MySQL.

“If a user has architected his or her application to work within the constraints of MySQL, then they should stay there. There will certainly be some that outgrow MySQL, and those users we welcome,” Obermeyer told SitePoint. “Our primary target, though, are users with production business applications that require mainstream features and rock solid data integrity. Those will be migrations from proprietary databases or brand new applications that never could have worked on MySQL.”

I am sure readers may have some comments regarding Obermeyer’s bold swipe at MySQL. This offering does however look to be appealing to web pros tracking larger development projects with solid budgets as well as small and mid-size companies looking to beef up internal database-driven applications.

Pervasive does not currently track its market share publicly — suggesting “it is difficult to estimate accurate market share numbers, since PostgreSQL is available through so many channels, most of which are untracked.”

One can keep up with PostgreSQL’s growth in the market by way of Sourceforge as well as the project’s official home page.

When asked to share a little about what customizations Pervasive has layered on top of PostgreSQL, Obermeyer laid out the company’s strategy.

“Our efforts around PostgreSQL are twofold, improving usability so that it can be deployed by people other than early adopters and technology enthusiasts, and extending the performance and capability envelope.”

He said the company’s initial release focused on usability, collecting and integrating multiple components together, such as a management console and connectivity drivers like JDBC, and they’ve created a simplified configuration tool.

“We’ve also wrapped them all under a common installer, simplifying the install process. These early improvements already improve a user’s first impression and probability for success [with PostgreSQL],” Obermeyer added.

The company is also offering a slate of consulting services from support, migration, and integration as well as custom development.

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  • The biggest headache we’ve found with PostgreSQL is managing it through version updates. It seems every time they release a significant update, the data format is incompatible with the previous version, and the database needs to be backed up, taken down, rebuilt, then restored. This sort of labour-intensive maintenance cycle just isn’t practical for most real-world users. If Pervasive can address these sorts of issues in PostgreSQL, they will be onto a winner. If not, I expect they’ll flounder.

  • Robert Treat

    Major version upgreades are somewhat of a pain, although recent techniques like using slony ( for cross version replicating to reduce downtime have certainly helped in a lot of cases. Still, I’d agree that this perticular ares is ripe for a commercial service to come in and address, since it is usually enterpise level users who need this type of technology, and there is alreayd some community code that can be leveraged in this area.

    One other thing worth mentioning is that imo, the pervasive postgres release is really only based on one thing and that is the release of 8.0 final by the postgresql community, which is certainly not concerned about anyone elses release schedules. In fact, my theory would lean more toward my$ql rushing thier release of 5.0 beta to market to help offset any potential customer loss they might experience from the release of a native windows version of postgresql.