Will PLM Get Troubled by Future FOSS databases?

The following article in TechWords “The New FOSS Frontier: The Database Market” drove me to think about PLM and RDBS relationships from a different angle. For PLM, as for all enterprise applications these days, RDBMS is almost commodity. PLM supports all of them (actually there are not so many – Oracle, MS SQL Server and DB2, who else?), cost of RDBS solution is insignificant since it either included into premium cost of PLM or RDBMS is already available in the organization.

Nevertheless, I think, things may go wrong. I see two aspects where PLM providers can be impacted. Here is my view on this.

1. Cost of PLM software. Introduction of FOSS into the enterprise domain can drive customers to think about the future cost cutting in software. With today’s huge payments for RDBMS, enterprises don’t see any other alternatives and continue to pay to ERP, PLM and other vendors. Tomorrow their expectation will be different.

2. Reliance on RDBMS vendor status quo. PLM systems are heavily relying on databases in general. Also, some of PLM systems are tuned for a specific RDBMS features. What will happen if PLM will lose RDBM anchor in enterprise?

So, what is my thoughts and conclusion today? Ringing bell of free should awake some of the sleeping PLM behemoths. Tomorrow the situation be a different and customer’s perception on enterprise software can change, just if a small fraction of enterprises, will be switching from licensed RDBMS systems to FOSS rivals. So, PLM better to come prepared.

Just my thoughts.
Best, Oleg


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  • apandre


    Article you mentioned is written as self-promotional material by FOSS vendor – VP of EnterpriseDB Mr. Larry Allison. I suggest to include into consideration not just licensing cost, but training, performance, infrastructure, support, long-term viability, availability of good developers and other skilled labor etc. Recent history of software industry is a vivid prove that you will get what you pay for.
    If you betting on free software (I tried many times, so attractive!), than you increasing chances for fellow developers to lose income or even job (including yourself). So in a long run, FOSS is not viable with a few known exceptions, like Linux itself, because of rich sponsors (like IBM) and huge communities. If you talking about nice FOSS without sponsors and without superlarge community, than you putting users of such software at risk.

  • http://www.oplm.org Prashant

    I dont think the view that your fellow developer will lose job by using foss is correct. No enterprise system can ever be “completely free of cost”. FOSS presents a different business model altogether. I think Oleg had published recently on his blog how future enterprise costing would be and he had referenced a book too. It is basically rearranging your cost structure of your product, where the vendor lose few things while he gains few things, similar case for the customer. But ultimately it is beneficial for both in order to reduce the total cost.
    I dont think Oleg would lose job either, he will just become CTO or may be president of that company :-). The only effect you will see is in marketing and pre-sales, it will be little lesser than what non-FOSS provider do. But isnt that what customer want, less marketing more substance?

  • apandre

    well, you entitle to your opinion, i saw what i said many times, so i have multiple proves that i am correct, sorry to disagree with you.
    if you want to use free open source software, you free to do so at you own risk, i am not going to try to stop you. i am using FOSS all the time, but I measure my risk and I am not giving the risky software to my customers.
    if you do not want to learn from mistakes of others it is fine, i will assume you are smarter than others. FOSS is not just rearranging the cost structure it is also will end up with outsourcing and with much lower quality of the code. and yes i wish Oleg to end-up to be the president, but president of successful company.

  • http://www.oplm.org Prashant

    Well, I dont have any comment on such arguments “end up with outsourcing and with much lower quality of the code”. I dont know where you are getting such information. You are trying to say that cell phones that are using linux/android are at risks, phone companies that are using linux are at risk, insurance and bank companies that are using spring framework, struts are at risk. Companies that are using apache software libraries are at risk. companies that are using alfresco, mysql, postgresql… a long long list.:-)If that was the case why would google, yahoo, oracle, vmware would have made their cutting edge technologies open sourced?

  • apandre

    as you said: you don’t know and i am not going to use the blog to transfer the knowledge; blog for opinions, not for FREE teaching and learning. as i said: good luck and proceed at your own risk.

  • http://www.oplm.org Prashant

    I didnt say “I dont know”, I said “I dont know where you”. :-) Goodluck with your knowledge. Keep it safe.

  • Jovan

    I have been twitted this video that I find awesome about the Cloud computing. ‘d be glad to have your thoughts on it Oleg!

  • Jovan

    Oups here is the link: http://ow.ly/N5Sl

  • http://www.plmtwine.com olegshilovitsky

    Prashant, Apandre,
    Thank you, guys, for such emotional discussion. For me, it is just a confirmation about how the topic is important these days. I see Free and Open Source as new and evolving business model. To provide the most neutral examples, think about Travelers Checks in the end of 19th century or early development of leasing business in machinery when manufacturers leased equipment to agricultural farms and guaranties return of money in 2-3 years. Today’s demand for “free” software is huge. However, “free” in this case doesn’t mean “no money” on the table. It means monetizing need to be different. I’m sure, there is no universal hammer these days for open source and specific verticals will go their own way. The example of phones running linux/android is great. The example of Google, successfully subsiding free Gmail and Google Apps by ads is another one. There are many others. You can track involvement of big vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, HP, Google and others in every open source initiative these days. Just dig in every open source project, and you will see these big guys are paying directly as sponsors or indirectly by allowing their people to work on these projects. In my view, the reason why they are doing so is quite simple. They feel the future change and want to be prepared. However, we are not there yet… Stay tuned and thanks, again, for your comments. Best, Oleg

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