Open-Source Databases
By Owen Thomas

(Business 2.0) – Five years ago open-source databases such as MySQL were like sparring partners—a student might practice on them, though you'd never subject them to a pro fight. But in 2004 they showed they could compete with some offerings from heavyweights like Oracle and IBM. Yahoo and Google have long run critical apps using open-source databases, but a Forrester Research survey now finds that 4 percent of corporate IT departments have adopted MySQL, including American Suzuki Motor, Cox Communications, and travel-reservations giant Sabre. Forrester senior analyst Noel Yuhanna estimates that Sabre saved $3 million by migrating from a legacy database to MySQL.

The latest MySQL product offers clustering functionality—a feature previously found only in high-end commercial databases. Indeed, Yuhanna attributes price cuts by IBM and Oracle to MySQL's newfound viability. "We're going to see prices fall another 20 to 25 percent next year," he says. — OWEN THOMAS