Greenplum has released a significant upgrade to its Bizgres MPP database, a PostgreSQL distribution specialised for large business intelligence (BI) systems, along with the Bizgres Network, a customer portal offering various levels of technical support.

The company launched the open-source Bizgres MPP database last spring and sponsors the Bizgres Project, which contributes improvements back to PostgreSQL. The database is aimed at multi-terabyte data warehousing, and can be deployed on low-cost commodity servers from any hardware vendor, Greenplum said.

PostgreSQL has been under development for decades, and is considered by many observers to be technically superior to its popular open-source rival, MySQL. In recent months other companies, such as EnterpriseDB, have also launched efforts to make PostgreSQL more accessible to the enterprise - EnterpriseDB by adding extensive Oracle compatibility features.

The Bizgres Network provides Bizgres downloads, a knowledge base, online and telephone technical support and other services. Santa Clara-based iSmart Panache is providing technical support services through the portal, Greenplum said.

The company is also shipping Bizgres 2.1, with improvements in query support, performance, reliability and ease-of-use, the company said. The update adds compatibility with the latest release of PostgreSQL, version 8.1, as well as better transaction throughput, optimisation for newer Intel and AMD chips and improved fault-tolerance and back-up and restore utilities.

Open source databases have received a lot of press over the past couple of years, but so far are only beginning to eat away at the lower-end market of databases like Oracle and IBM's DB2, according to analysts. Greenplum said this is only the beginning, arguing that as open-source products gain momentum their superior technology will win out. "This success is enabling the next wave of open source to become as much about innovation as commoditisation," said Greenplum chief executive Scott Yara, in a statement.

Last August, Kinetic Networks, JasperSoft and Bizgres released Bizgres Clickstream, which combines Kinetic's open-source ETL (extraction, transformation and loading), JasperSoft's JasperReports reporting engine and the Bizgres database.