I have been complaining about the cost of database since last few years as the amount of money that Oracle and IBM made by charging poor customers anywhere from $15,000 per core to anywhere above $40,000 per core and changing the definition of cores to suit their needs is to-say-the-least unethical.
Infact if you refer to latest tpc.org benchmark results and actually look at the "System Price" breakdown in their executive reports, you will be surprised to see that many times the true cost of the database (considering their actual list price scheme by core) will be 50% or higher (I am not kidding). The server and storage itself can give you lot of scrap metal value. (These servers/storage generally tend to have good resell value like a Honda or Toyota Car.) However the value of the Software DVD is nothing. Wait.. you cannot even do a yard sale with your software if you go bust (as per most license restrictions). Why am I complaining? Well I can get a laptop for $400 easily now but to run a proprietary database I might have to shell out another $40,000 for an unlimited use license for that processor (100X).
Manipulating CPU architectures
Also another problem with these proprietary databases are the way they manipulate CPU architectures. Every CPUs have its plus and minuses. However these proprietary database companies have used these to serve their own selfish motives. Today UltraSPARC T2 based systems are "artificially" bottlenecked not because of performance but because of price of proprietary databases just because they are running on UltraSPARC T2. Dictating which CPU architecture is a second class citizen and force to pay a premium tax to use their "esteemed" software on it is not only unethical but if you do an analogy with humans it should be also unlawful.
Hope in Sight
Well there is a way out, Open Source Database. Atleast you dont have to worry about the "resell" value of the Open Source Database. What about performance? Well read my earlier blogs on performance of PostgreSQL on Solaris. (Its even bundled in Solaris 10.) What about features? Well most of the common features are already out there. Thanks to ZFS, lots of snapshots, replications is now also available. If your favorite feature is missing, hey just raise your voice and somebody is bound to hear you. Or you will develop that feature yourself.
Overall I have to agree whole heartedly with Allan. A Perfect Storm is brewing for Proprietary Databases.