Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dolphins (redux) and Holiday Wishes

It's off to Dolphin-land again for the family. We'll be down in Curacao for a week, with lots of scuba, books, and dolphins. It's a much-needed vacation, and my plans are to be relatively unplugged the whole time. (Relatively...I just can't bring myself to truly commit to taking a break, can I?)

I've got two books coming with me on the trip. The first is Ken Follett's huge tome "World Without End." It's a follow-up to his "Pillars of the Earth," which I thoroughly enjoyed. The second book is "Water for Elephants," by Sara Gruen. I know very little about it, but my wife loved it. Not sure which will get picked up...

It's been a wild year at EnterpriseDB...explosive growth, amazing customers, terrific new team members, and great change. I'll be speaking more about the year in review shortly after my return. In the meantime, I wish everyone a holiday season filled with peace and joy, and I hope the new year brings great adventures to you and yours.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The OSA Report (including the Popularity of Postgres)

The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) just published the results of the 5 customer forums they held in 2007. The report is a quick read (11 pages), and is quite thoughtful and balanced. I will highlight a couple of points I found particularly interesting, but I'd encourage you to read it for yourself.

First, a great insight from the report is the relative popularity of Postgres for serious applications. Customers in the forums were from "both public and private sectors, both large and small organizations, both business and technical managers, and both early adopters and mainstream users. When asked about their open source usage, "about 50% used open-source databases, equally divided between MySQL and Postgres." Equally divided...hmmm...

If measured by pure downloads, MySQL's claim of being the world's most popular database is certainly true. But most serious developers know that Postgres (particularly that slick distribution from EnterpriseDB ;-) is the world's most advanced open source database, and that it combines extraordinary capability with terrific ease of use.

Another great insight from the report is the question of why people gravitate to open source software. Cost Reduction is "by far" the number one reason, particularly because it allows you to pay later in the usage cycle, when the code's value is delivered, rather than paying up-front licensing. Just as important an insight is that the Ability to Customize code is not at all important; most people want their software "as is."

These two points precisely reflect our experience with our customers. They are looking for less expensive alternatives that are available for free until value is delivered. Furthermore, customers want to know that experts are building their software, and have little or no interest in modifying the database code themselves. There are, of course, exceptions, but they are few and far between.

There's lots more meat in the report. Go read it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Responding to The Register

OK, folks, it's been a really long time since I blogged. Guilty as charged of procrastination beyond belief. But today's article in The Register means that I've got to get back to the keyboard. Here goes...

Let's start with a few objective facts about the state of EnterpriseDB:

1. We're in the final month of our best quarter ever
2. 2007 sales growth over 2006 will be measured in multiples, not percentage points
3. We have nearly 200 customers, compared with about 60 at the end of 2006
4. In just 7 quarters of sales, our repeat business rate is huge
5. Our average sales price is increasing consistently over time

Does this sound like a company in trouble? No, it doesn't seem like it to me, either. So, what's the story?

The story is really simple and really common. EnterpriseDB is a young company, and like every other young company I've ever been involved with, we are fine-tuning our business model. In our case, that meant recognizing that a large direct field sales force was overkill, and that most prospective customers prefer to work with us over the phone, anyway.

So, we had to say goodbye to a few great people, and we also asked a couple of underperforming individuals to leave. At the same time, we also brought on several new key individuals, and are actively hiring for many more (including -- guess where -- inside salespeople).

Like any business, we make plans based on educated guesses about what the market will want, and how we we can best deliver it. We adjust those plans according to actual market feedback. These adjustments include changes in products, service offerings, sales models, and every other aspect of business.

The problem is not that we've made a few changes. The problem would be if we failed to do so.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hot Hot Hot

I want to share my excitement with you about an event that just took place in the Postgres community.

A couple of days ago, the Postgres enhancement known as HOT (Heap Only Tuples) was committed into the code base for the next release (v8.3). In a nutshell, HOT significantly increases the performance of Postgres over long periods of time in update-intensive OLTP applications.

“This is a good thing,” you might say, “but what's the big deal?” I’m glad you asked...

HOT is the largest and deepest single change to the Postgres base that has been implemented in the last several years. It impacts many areas of the core database, and is truly something that could be called "rocket science." The reason I'm so pleased about HOT (besides the obvious customer benefit) is that the enhancement was conceived, designed, implemented, and shepherded through the community entirely by the EnterpriseDB team.

The acceptance of HOT into the 8.3 code base means two things: First, it is the flagship example of our commitment to contribute back to the community large quantities of enormous value. It feels great to give back to a community that has given us the basis of our very existence. Second, HOT firmly seats EnterpriseDB as a leader in the community; one of the very few organizations — perhaps the only one — on the planet that is able to deliver Postgres technology of this complexity and size.

It is a particularly great day for the team that did the work. First and foremost, I have to recognize Pavan Deolasee, who was the thought leader on this effort from beginning to end. Of course, many others contributed greatly to the project, including Anupama Aherrao, Korry Douglas, Dharmendra Goyal, Jonah Harris, Hope Jiang, Sivakumar Krishnamurthy, Heikki Linnakangas, Shoaib Mir, Bruce Momjian, Nikhil Sontakke, Greg Stark, Yaser Raja, Umair Shahid, and Peter Yarrow.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Over the Labor Day holiday weekend, EnterpriseDB (finally) moved into its new offices. In 2 years, we’ve gone from 1,000 feet in the the back of a warehouse, to a 5,000-square foot sublet, to an 8,000 square foot sublet, and now finally to a 17,000 foot, 5+ year lease that was built to our specifications. We now have plenty of space for guests, conferences, training, and more. I’ve included some pictures below.

So if you’re a friend of EnterpriseDB, and you’re in the Edison, New Jersey area (one block from the Metropark Amtrak station), feel free to drop by for a cup of coffee and a dime tour. And if you need an office to use for the day, just ask.





Thursday, September 6, 2007

A New Database Blog

Michael Stonebraker and several other database luminaries have just started a new blog that is worth checking out. Stonebraker was the principal architect behind Postgres and Ingres, and commercialized them into Ingres Corp., Illustra, and others.

The first entry in the blog calls attention to Stonebraker's new company Vertica and its column-oriented database technology. For data warehousing and certain specialized databases, Stonebraker claims a 50-fold performance improvement. Very impressive, indeed. And for these specialized circumstances, probably very appropriate.

Stonebraker makes the point that traditional databases, including Oracle and Postgres, are 25 years old and somewhat long-in-the-tooth. Perhaps. But for most of us, they are also proven and stable technologies that work for the millions of systems in which they're installed. Indeed, it is precisely because Oracle and Postgres are so proven and stable that EnterpriseDB believes they should be far less expensive and cross-compatible with each other.

Vertica's job is to take databases to the next frontier. Ours is to make the current frontier easy to use, affordable, and accessible to everyone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

PostgreSQL or Postgres

There's a discussion going on right now on the PostgreSQL advocacy mailing list, about whether to change the name from PostgreSQL back to Postgres, which was its original name. To summarize and oversimplify the conversation, many people seem to feel that PostgreSQL is awkward, hard to read, and/or too often mispronounced. Others feel that a name change is not worth the effort.

From my perspective, it's time for a change. Postgres's name was changed to PostgreSQL in the 90's, when its query language to modernized to SQL. It is now 2007, and everyone's query language is now SQL. In other words, it's no longer anything to brag about, and is actually distracting, in my opinion.

We've put a one-question survey onto the EnterpriseDB Postgres site, asking about this topic. If you have an opinion, please stand up and be counted. Thanks.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Closson on Open Source Databases

In a brief eWeek Q&A yesterday, Kevin Closson was asked if open source databases like Postgres and others are becoming serious alternatives for Oracle. "Yes, more and more," he said. His answer is indicative of the sea change we're living through, in which insane prices from oligopolists are no longer the only game in town. As Kevin points out, it often no longer makes sense to spend $40,000-$60,000 per CPU, when you can get much of the same thing for a small fraction of the cost. Right on, Kevin, and with compatibility, migration is a cinch!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

EnterpriseDB Announcements

I want let you all know about three very exciting (at least I think so) announcements coming out of EnterpriseDB at LinuxWorld today.

First, we are releasing a fully open source, commercial grade, cross platform distribution of PostgreSQL and supporting technologies called EnterpriseDB Postgres. This distribution is drop-dead simple to install and use , and comes pre-bundled and configured with replication, administration tools, client connectors, spatial capabilities, security, encryption, and more. Until now, PostgreSQL had a reputation as a great database that was hard to install and configure. No more. Going forward, it’ll be way easier to use than MySQL, with no loss of its robust capabilities.

Second, we are launching the EnterpriseDB Postgres Resource Center (PRC). This is a community website (http://postgres.enterprisedb.com) that will be the home of EnterpriseDB Postgres. It will also house a robust community forum, and a ton of useful tools, applications, documents, articles, FAQs, etc. It is our hope and intention that the PRC will be a important destination site for people who use PostgreSQL, both commercially and in non-profits.

Both of these announcements reflect our ongoing commitment to PostgreSQL and its community, and to providing the best commercial PostgreSQL support, services, and training available in the world.

Finally, we’re announcing today the release of GridSQL, a major new product. GridSQL is a parallel database server that automatically partitions data across any number of servers, and provides nearly linear performance scalability. What’s really cool about GridSQL is that it implements this shared nothing distributed architecture in a way that is transparent to the calling applications. Just install, connect your servers, and go. Available at a fraction of the cost of any comparable solution, GridSQL is something to watch.

One caveat. All three of these new additions are in version 1.0 right now. They will be growing in depth and breadth over the coming weeks and months, so give them a try (they’re all available for free), and let me know what you think. Thanks.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Dolphins

Why in the world did I mention dolphins in yesterday's post? Well, my daughter's a bit of an animal fan, and is studying in a marine biology high school. Last year, we visited the Dolphin Academy at the Curacao Sea Aquarium. The family has done a couple of other programs before, and I've simply never experienced anything like this. There are plenty of dolphin touch-and-swim programs to choose from, but the Dolphins In-Depth course is really stupendous. Taught by head trainer George Kieffer, it's five 4-hour days of intense and intimate learning, including about 50% classroom and 50% in the water with the dolphins. I have a couple of pretty cool pictures...let me know if you want to see them.

Summer of Bourne

I tend to be a little obsessed with work, and find very little time for recreational reading. But when I went to Curacao earlier this summer (phenomenal dolphin program there), I was looking for a little escape. With the Bourne Ultimatum coming out in August, I opted for the prior book in the series, the Bourne Supremacy. What a great read! 700 pages of pure, adrenalin pumping fun, with a deep and complex character to keep it interesting.

So to complete the picture, I went to see Bourne Ultimatum last night. Realistically, I wouldn't have gotten back to the book for months. Matt Damon does a great -- and nicely understated -- job of capturing the character. With supporting stints from Albert Finney (is he ever less than great?), Joan Allen, and David Strathairn, it's a worthwhile accompaniment to high-fat popcorn.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Other's Open Thoughts - Kevin Closson

Some of you may have read Kevin Closson's blog post a couple of weeks ago, entitled EnterpriseDB: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Oracle Licenses. What Is This Oracle Partner Network Anyway?

Yikes...tough title. But the post itself is actually a thoughtful piece that asks some good questions about EnterpriseDB's capabilities, well beyond licensing. I posted a response to it right away, but Kevin went on vacation and it sat unmoderated until last night. It's now up, so you may be interested in having a look.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Gartner on Oracle

According to Gartner’s Donald Feinberg, "The average Oracle customer should wait about 12 months before evaluation and testing (11G), allowing the early adopters to "work out the kinks" associated with new releases. "

Fascinating...a year to work out the kinks...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Windows is to Linux as MySQL is to PostgreSQL ?

I just read the first "Open Source Barometer" report from Alfresco, written by Dr. Ian Howells, their Chief Marketing Officer. The report analyzes market and usage trends in operating systems, application servers, databases, portals, and browsers. It's a terrific read for anyone in the open source world. Concise and well-organized, it presents useful information in a straightforward way.

What makes the report really stand out, though, is that it differentiates between usage scenarios. In other words, it recognizes that different products are used for (a) casual community use, (b) commercial evaluation situations, and (c) production deployment. The statistics are enlightening.

In operating systems, Windows is widely preferred over Linux for casual use, while Linux is the preferred deployment platform. Specifically:

Community Usage: 60% Windows; 35% Linux
Evaluation Usage: 42% Windows; 43% Linux
Deployment Usage:29% Windows; 52% Linux

No big surprise here. We certainly see the same trends with our customers.

But the interesting insight for me is that the same trend exists between MySQL and PostgreSQL...

Community Usage: 62% MySQL; 9% PostgreSQL
Evaluation Usage: 50% MySQL; 23% PostgreSQL
Deployment Usage:40% MySQL; 28% PostgreSQL

In other words, PostgreSQL is 1/6 of MySQL’s size for casual use. But in deployment, PostgreSQL rivals MySQL for the top spot.

Interesting stuff...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Defining Open Source

In an excellent blog entry yesterday, Michael Tiemann, president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), declared that he will now begin vigorously defending the term/brand “Open Source” as it is defined by the OSI. I think this is great news for the market. Michael decried vendors who, starting in 2006, “claimed that they have every bit as much right to define the term as does the OSI.” I must admit that I count myself among those vendors. As a late entrant into the open source space, I was somewhat na├»ve about the term, and we called EnterpriseDB’s license “commercial open source.” As some of you know, we found that this confused the marketplace, and so we changed it. We are now very clear that the product, EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, is licensed under a closed source license.

So I, for one, support Michael’s proposal to "...all agree--vendors, press, analysts, and others who identify themselves as community members--to use the term 'open source' to refer to software licensed under an OSI-approved license.” We agree, Michael.

Having said that, it’s time to revisit an issue I wrote about on Dave’s and Matt’s blog some time ago: The difference between an Open Source license and an open source company.

As we've just done above, Open Source software is very simple to define. After all, there is a clear standard: An OSI-approved license. GPL software is open source. BSD software is open source. EnterpriseDB Advanced Server is not open source. And so on.

But what is an open source company? (Many of you have seen Allison Randal's thoughts on the matter.) Is it one that only publishes software distributed under OSI-approved licenses? Should SugarCRM really get zero credit for their open source development model, albeit their license is not OSI-approved? Should Red Hat get dinged because they distribute non-open source code? Should EnterpriseDB's be precluded from an affiliation with open source even though its contributions to PostgreSQL exceed all other companies today? This seems unreasonable.

There are many business models around open source, and none of them are better a priori than any others. If a company is deeply involved in developing, contributing to, publishing, and supportin open source software, then it's an open source company. The issue, it seems to me, is simply one of transparency.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The EnterpriseDB Licensing Model

I firmly believe in the value of open source. There is no question that open source communities produce great software, and do so quickly and with extraordinarily high quality. Yet EnterpriseDB’s principal product — EnterpriseDB Advanced Server — is a closed source product. Why is that?

The answer to this question is a little involved, but stay with me...I think the logic is actually pretty simple.

Like all commercial organizations, EnterpriseDB is in the business of making money. When we created the company, we needed to define a mechanism of delivering value to customers for which those customers would be willing to pay. We originally planned simply to take the same approach as most other open source companies, which is a dual-licensing strategy.

With a dual-licensing approach, the company is protected by a GPL (or similar) license, because both competitors and potential customers who wish to embed/link with the GPL software must also GPL their own code. Since most competitors/customers don’t wish to do so, they are willing instead to pay for a commercial license. This simple yet subtle point is at the heart of the success of nearly every commercial open source organization. I would be remiss (and Matt would surely bonk me on the head) if I didn’t also mention the value that these companies bring via their expert support and services. But the subtle yet powerful truth about commercial open source is that the GPL is an excellent enforcement mechanism for creating commercial value.

Now, unlike most open source projects, which are licensed under the GPL or similar license, PostgreSQL is a BSD-licensed project. As most of you know, BSD is among the most permissive licenses, allowing anyone to do anything with the code, with virtually no restrictions. In other words, the BSD license provides no commercial protection whatsoever, either from competitors or potential customers. With the BSD, anyone can take the code and do anything they wish.

So why not just change the PostgreSQL BSD license to GPL? Remember that, unlike most open source companies, EnterpriseDB did not create the open source project upon which it is based. The PostgreSQL community has been around for more than a decade, and is one of the most strongest and most independent open source communities in the world. EnterpriseDB does not control the copyright or the license to PostgreSQL, which means a dual license business model is simply not an option for us. PostgreSQL is BSD...period. And by the way, the PostgreSQL community strongly supports its staying that way.

So...what to do? How can EnterpriseDB create a business model that honors the PostgreSQL license and community style, while at the same time allowing the company to deliver value for which customers will pay? The answer is fundamentally a 2-part strategy:

First, we created a superset of PostgreSQL called EnterpriseDB Advanced Server, and closed-sourced the code. In other words, atop base PostgreSQL, we added deep Oracle-compatibility, dynamic performance tuning, and world-class tools, including replication, debuggers, browsers, and more. Then we closed-sourced the whole package. In this manner, we have crisply defined a set of value-added features for which we charge, much like SugarCRM’s professional edition. If you want the free-and-open-source version version of the software, though, it’s easily available...and it’s called PostgreSQL.

The second — and equally important — part of our business strategy is to be an excellent citizen in the PostgreSQL open source community. We are building a successful company on the shoulders of one of the world’s most successful open source projects, and we have a responsibility to give back to that community to the maximum extent possible, while still protecting our ability to generate revenue. In addition to our ethical responsibility, we also “do well by doing good” because we promote the wider spread of PostgreSQL, the world’s most advanced and enterprise-class open source database (albeit only the second most popular).

Our efforts at being excellent citizens of the PostgreSQL community are wide-ranging, but tend to fall into the following broad categories:
  • Identify important and difficult development community projects, and get these projects done with EnterpriseDB staff
  • Employ community leaders, including both titled members (i.e., core team) and thought leaders
  • Sponsor non-employee community developers
  • Be a major sponsor of community gatherings and other activities
This balanced approach of selling commercial software on one-hand and aggressively supporting the community on the other is our answer to the conundrum of creating a commercial company on a BSD code base. I think there have been some misunderstandings about our approach in the past, and I hope this clears them up.

What are your thoughts about this business model specifically, or the commercialization of open source software in general?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Red Hat Exchange

Today, EnterpriseDB announced that it has joined Red Hat Exchange (RHX) as one of six founding partners. Today's news was exciting for us for a few reasons.

First, we predict that RHX and its distributors, integrators and resellers will prove to be a powerful and effective distribution channel for EnterpriseDB. Hopefully many of you saw the recent news that Bill Doyle has joined the EnterpriseDB team as our senior vice president of business development. Bill’s principal responsibility is to architect and implement our channel program, and EnterpriseDB’s membership in RHX will complement his efforts nicely.

Second, we are excited about joining RHX because we are pleased to share the honor and responsibilities of our RHX founding partner role with a group of outstanding open source leaders that include EnterpriseDB Partner Program members Alfresco, Pentaho and SugarCRM.

Finally, we view Red Hat’s selection of EnterpriseDB as a founding RHX partner as an affirmation of EnterpriseDB’s philosophy and strategy in the context of the recent, vigorous debate about what constitutes an “open source company.” I will post an entry on that topic in the next few days that will include links to various conversations on this topic. As readers of this space know, EnterpriseDB is based on the very popular and powerful PostgreSQL open source database; conversely, we make EnterpriseDB Advanced Server available under a proprietary software license. We see our leadership role in Red Hat Exchange as a strong endorsement of the proposition that the advantages of open source software will be delivered to enterprises in many different, yet compatible, ways.

We wish Red Hat Exchange and all its ISV and channel partners every success.

Selecting an RDBMS - A Great Webinar

I just watched a terrific webinar about selecting the right RDBMS for you, and I have to say that it was both excellent and left me wanting more. (Full disclosure: EnterpriseDB was the sponsor of this Ziff-Davis seminar.) The lead speaker in the session was Curt Monash, a long-time database analyst and guru who has a great set of web sites and a reallly deep DBMS-focused RSS feed.

In the webinar, Monash took the audience "beyond the checkbox" to deeply analyze the true meaning "enterprise-class" when it comes to databases. He did an excellent job of articulating how different projects have different needs, and that no one database fits all requirements. He then dug into the details behind these needs, diving deeply into topics such as:
  • License and maintenance costs
  • Performance and scalability
  • Ease of administration
  • Ease of programming
  • Reliability and Uptime
  • Security
  • Data types
  • ...and more
To be clear, the webinar is not a veiled pitch for EnterpriseDB (except for the 5-minute product description by Derek Rodner about 40 minutes into the webinar). Rather, it is a fairly deep analysis of the trends, issues, and gotchas in selecting the appropriate database for a project's needs.

I said earlier that the webinar left me wanting... As is typical with high-quality presentations, there just wasn't time to explore the issues in enough detail. To that end, I have asked EnterpriseDB's marketing group to sponsor a series of deeper dives on some of these topics over the next few months. If anyone has suggestions about those topics, now would be a great time to give them to me, and I'll pass them along.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

An Abbreviated History of EnterpriseDB

Back in March 2004, my long-time friend and colleague Denis Lussier asked himself a couple of simple questions: Why are databases incompatible with each other? What allows the Big Three (Oracle, Microsoft, and IBM) to remain an unchallenged oligopoly, controlling 87% of the enterprise database market? Why have standards produced essentially no beneficial impact on this market? Over the next few months, Denis explored these issues with a few colleagues, and the idea of a compatible database began to emerge; in other words, a single, affordable database that could "speak the language" of one or more of The Big Three.

By early summer, I got involved in the analysis, and became really excited by the prospect of creating a disruptive entry in the enterprise database market that could truly impact the market.

Now, enterprise databases take hundreds or thousands of staff-years to create. Creating one from scratch was impractical, to say the least. We needed a starting point, and open source databases were the obvious place to look. We evaluated many starting points, including MySQL, HypersonicSQL, Ingres, Firebird, MaxDB, PostgreSQL, and others. To put it simply, PostgreSQL was the clear winner, hands-down. MySQL was designed for fast, easy, mostly read-only applications (at the time, it didn’t even support views or stored procedures). Firebird was a reasonably good choice, but had some “interesting” licensing twists. Ingres had been more or less abandoned by CA for 12 years, and MaxDB had virtually no market acceptance. PostgreSQL, on the other hand, was a world-class database, had a strong and vibrant community, and it had an architecture that supported pluggable stored procedures. This meant that we would be able to add stored procedure languages with relatively low risk.

Another important advantage to PostgreSQL is that it is licensed under the BSD open source license. As many readers know, there are two fundamental open source license types: Academic and GPL-style. Academic licenses — such as the BSD — have been around the longest, and basically say, “Here’s the code. Do what you wish.” Academic licenses impose no practical restrictions on one’s use of the source code. GPL-style licenses, on the other hand, carry the “viral” attribute of requiring all derivative works to carry the same license. Our preference was to have the flexibility to design our business as we chose, and the BSD license suited us better than the GPL. (Of course, the use of any open source carries with it certain ethical imperatives, such as community support. I will deal with that issue in another blog entry.)

By September of 2004, PostgreSQL was our clear choice, and it was time to develop a business plan. Having prototyped various solutions over the summer, we had developed an appreciation for the complexity of creating deep compatibility with an existing database. We recognized that we had to pick a single strategy, and pursue it with focus. (Focus, I believe, is the single most important success factor for any start-up.) We elected to focus on Oracle compatibility, for two reasons. First, it’s the biggest market. Second, a great deal of dissatisfaction exists in its customer base.

In December, 2004 we completed a prototype and pursued our first outside funding; an angel round of $1 million. This funding allowed us to bring the product to v1.0 status, and to launch the company with a prudent marketing budget. We were very fortunate to tap awesome guidance and assistance during this phase from investors and friends, including Christian and Brian Danella at Prequent, Inc., Terry Hanold, Charlie Katz, Jack Lewis, Gary Long, and Phillip Merrick.

We emerged out of stealth mode on May 23, 2005, and received a lot of interest from the market, including some terrific press. Within a couple of weeks, we had thousands of downloads and strong interest from the venture capital (VC) community. We had originally planned to stay angel-funded through the end of 2005, but the VC interest was so strong that we elected to strike while the iron was hot. Within 3 months, we closed on a $7 million round with Charles River Ventures and Valhalla Partners, two high-quality firms that remain strong supporters today.

At about the same time as our venture funding (August, 2005), we took the product to LinuxWorld, and were honored to receive the Best Database Award, beating the other finalists, Oracle, MySQL, and DB2. In retrospect, this win — combined with the funding and tens of thousands of free downloads — marked our emergence into the marketplace. At that point, Denis (CTO) and I began filling key executive team positions, including Tom Stiling and Bruce Katz (sales and finance, respectively).

On January 1, 2006, we started selling EnterpriseDB. Until then, the product was mostly given away for free, as we endeavored to understand the needs of the market. By the end of the first quarter, we had 10 paying customers, including Sony Online Entertainment, the leading company in massively multi-player online role playing games, which planned to replace Oracle throughout its organization. This success brought even more market interest, both from new customers and from venture capital companies. As in 2005, we had planned to finish the year with our current funding, but pre-emptive interest from a few top-tier VC firms convinced us to do our next venture round a few months early, which brought Fidelity Ventures into the fold (another great VC firm). At the same time, we were very fortunate to attract Dave Litwack to the Board of Directors. Many of you will remember Dave as founder and president of Powersoft and as founder and CEO of Silverstream.

The rest of 2006 was a whirlwind. We rounded out the executive team with Garland Hall, Phil Weber, and Helen Donnelly (customer support and services, human resources, and marketing), won Best Database at LinuxWorld for the second year in a row, sold millions of dollars in software, helped customers solve hundreds of complex problems at a fraction of what they would otherwise have paid, expanded into Europe and Asia, and hired on some of the best enterprise software talent I’ve ever seen in one place.

And 2007 is shaping up to be a banner year as well. We recently passed the 100-customer mark, sales continue to increase significantly each quarter, and we have completed our executive team with the hiring of Bill Doyle and Gary Long (business development and product development). Lots more to come...