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EnterpriseDB Jumps Into the Cloud

EnterpriseDB is taking the hosted application route with its namesake relational database management system (RDBMS). The company issued an announcement today that it plans to launch a limited beta release of the new hosted app, which is built on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Simple Storage Service (S3) Web services. The EnterpriseDB Advanced Server Cloud Edition is designed to run in a virtual, highly scalable, cloud-computing environment.

Edison, N.J.-based EnterpriseDB partnered with Elastra for its first cloud computing initiative. San Francisco-based Elastra is a provider of "elastic" relational databases on demand, offering S3DFS storage technologies to enable standard RDBMSes to be deployed on Amazon's EC2. Elastra will provide a clustering infrastructure that runs on those services to support the EnterpriseDB solution, explained Bob Zurek, EnterpriseDB's chief technology officer.

"In our approach to the cloud, we have this elastic computing offering," Zurek said. "As resources are required, we automatically spin up additional instances; as they're no longer needed, those instances wind down."

EnterpriseDB Cloud Edition is aimed at commercial Web 2.0 companies that can't afford big database infrastructures, as well as software-as-a-service vendors that require infinite storage and scalability.

"For us, the cloud is another platform," Zurek said. "We decided that we needed to support it, just as we support other platforms -- everything from Linux to Windows. And we could see that there is a set of customers who will want to use this platform to get started without provisioning a lot of storage."

The Cloud Edition of the company's RDBMS will use a Web-based graphical interface for setup, maintenance, expansion, backup and monitoring, Zurek said.

"All existing software tools, programming languages, and technologies may be immediately used exactly as they would be on an on-premise database software and server hardware," he added.

"We think cloud computing is a paradigm shift," Zurek said. "We've seen the shift from mainframes to client-server to distributed to the Internet. The move into the cloud is another phase of this evolution."

EnterpriseDB's flagship DBMS is based on the open source PostgreSQL. The company's EnterpriseDB Advanced Server provides a kind of Oracle compatibility layer, which runs most applications written for Oracle unchanged.

PostgreSQL has been around in one form or another for about 20 years. It emerged from the POSTGRES project, a database research project directed by Prof. Michael Stonebraker at the University of California at Berkeley in the mid-1980s. Stonebraker had also led the groundbreaking INGRES (Interactive Graphics and Retrieval System) project, which, along with System R from IBM, revolutionized database systems by allowing data to be accessed through a high level language. ("POSTGRES" stands for "post-INGRES.")

The beta program for EnterpriseDB Advanced Server Cloud Edition is scheduled to begin in March. The company is now accepting applications for participation in the program, and further information on the service is available here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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