Oracle’s fighting a fool’s war in the DoD

Most of the government may have been out on furlough for several weeks last month but we know the technology pros at the Department of Defense were still in business mode. Many of the agencies within the DoD are customers, and they were abuzz about Oracle’s mystifying but not uncharacteristic attempt to undermine the DoD’s adoption of open source technologies with some really fancily worded FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt). And it was a dud.

Oracle’s white paper on open source and the DoD, which was dated September 2013 but surfaced publicly in October, essentially lectured the DoD on the dangers of open source software and the proper handling of such technology. The bottom line message to the DoD was essentially ‘it’s too dangerous so let us handle the open source; we’ll give it to you through our products.’ The message not contained was the one about the noose around the neck that comes with an Oracle deal and tightens as an organization’s data demands increase.

I’d like to think that at this late date, not even Oracle is so brash as to really believe an agency like the DoD, where technology reigns supreme from the data center to the war fighter and some of the strongest tech minds in government work, doesn’t know what it’s doing when it comes to open source. The goal had to be to simply confuse and slow the open source adoption process, spur the non-technical or entrenched Oracalites to plant more questions in the DoD’s path toward freedom from Oracle.

DoD, other Feds marching toward open source
Nothing Oracle says about open source is going to stymie progress. Many federal IT directors are actively seeking to increase their use of open source technologies like Postgres (the direct open source alternative to Oracle) to cut costs and stay up-to-date with evolving technology trends. Open source software has gotten significant attention and promotion under the Obama Administration and agencies have been aggressively developing open source initiatives.

Government agencies are finding multiple benefits from adopting Postgres and working with EnterpriseDB, including:

  • A dramatic reduction in their database costs and greater flexibility in structuring solutions, services and training packages that meet their needs.
  • A contribution toward meeting agency-wide or departmental open source objectives and the ability to demonstrate technology innovation.
  • Proven mission critical deployments with the support, certifications and proof that Oracle is not nearly the only answer to their needs.

For government, the pressures for change are especially difficult with declining revenues brought on by the Great Recession, indiscriminate cuts due to Sequestration, mandates for data center consolidation, and the need to move to newer low cost cloud platforms. The bottom line is that government agencies have to adopt paradigm- changing solutions that open source delivers to meet these challenges.

Open source moving into the database stack
The success of open source to perform and save money has also been proven in government and enterprise settings. Open source-based products are less expensive not because they do less but because of a more efficient development-to-market business model.

Open source has been proven in other layers of the software stack – Xen and KVM for virtualization, Linux for operating systems, and JBoss and Apache for middleware. With Postgres, the move toward open source is fast expanding into the database layer as organizations within the DoD discover they can operate 60 percent or more of their applications for 80 to 95 percent less than proprietary solutions. That’s 60 percent of your business on one to two percent of your budget.  This is the real reason Oracle needed to write a whitepaper: to scare folks away from the open source and Postgres reality.

Supportive partnership
The one good point raised in the Oracle paper is that organizations need help implementing open source software. Just as any organization deploying any new technology solution, the DoD and other government agencies turn to a trusted partner to provide additional software, support, training and other services. For the DoD and many agencies, EnterpriseDB is their Postgres partner.

EDB’s enterprise-class enhancements to PostgreSQL provide additional layers of security, performance and manageability that many organizations require to support their mission critical, and non-mission critical, applications. EDB provides the advisors to assess data infrastructures, design deployments and support implementations, with 24/7 support and on-site experts,  and provides the training, on-site and on-demand, to organizations on everything from introductory level Postgres to advanced performance optimization and fine-tuning configurations.

Further, EDB’s software has earned the required certification and accreditations to be deployed in high security, high availability government environments. They also have an Authority to Operate from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). EDB already works with more than 40 government agencies with deployments of Postgres and other EDB products, and that number is mushrooming. Other federal agencies using Postgres include the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Labor.

The current crisis is likely to produce lingering, long-term budgetary pressures and EDB expects its relationships with government agencies to continue to accelerate, proving again that Oracle FUD is a dud.

photo credit: Belvoir Photos via photopin cc

About Ed Boyajian

Ed Boyajian is president and CEO of EnterpriseDB, which provides enterprise-class PostgreSQL products and services to help IT organizations succeed with the world's most advanced open source database.