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Feds Move To Open Source Databases Pressures Oracle

Cost-conscious federal agencies move to open source choices, pressuring Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Sybase to refine products, licensing agreements.
Clearly, another factor driving government agencies in the direction of open source database platforms is the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative. The OMB has set a target of closing 40% of the government's non-core data centers by the end of 2015.

Consolidating data centers inevitably means assessing how to consolidate the applications that run on them, and the licensing costs that go with that.

"In the process of this change, it reopens basic architectural decisions that government has made and it's a perfect opportunity to begin to change the pattern of software decision making and acquisition," Boyajian said.

Oracle's Doolan noted, though, that government customers aren't just looking for a company to replace one system with another simply as a tactical move. They're looking for the longevity that comes with the veteran players in the market, he said.

"They're looking for a vendor who has the infrastructure to support their mission for five or 10 years," he said. "Hopefully, that's the value we bring to the table for our customers; I certainly know that we're committed to our customers in the government space. We've been here for a very long time and expect to be here for a very long time in the future."

The new budget realities of sequestration, however, are continuing to put intense pressures on agencies, said Loren Osborn, EnterpriseDB's director for government.

"Sequestration has been very beneficial to the open source market because agencies are looking for creative ways to save money," he said.

The collateral effect, however, is that it's also forcing big software players to take a harder look at integrating their products with open source platforms.