Much has been said about what Oracle would do with MySQL as part of its impending SUN acquisition. While the clearance has come from the US, now it is held up by the European commission for further investigation. Last week at a Churchill Club event, Ed Zander (former President of Sun & Ex-CEO of Motorola) interviewed Larry Ellison where he asked if Oracle would spin off MySQL. Larry answered with an emphatic No.
I thought the one big attraction of the Sun acquisition was MySQL and Java. We can debate whether the hardware business of SUN makes any sense or not. I also know that prior to the MySQL acquisition by Sun, Oracle attempted to buy MySQL. I do not agree with the statement that “MySQL does not compete with Oracle, but its main competition is DB2 and SQL Server”. That can not be true, as several Internet-age companies such as Google and Amazon selected MySQL over Oracle for specific applications. So, yes, MySQL is an attractive alternative to Oracle for some applications. Now that Oracle will be the potential owner of MySQL, it will continue to offer it as the open source offering in database. It can position both Oracle and MySQL for different types of applications – Oracle for heavy lifting with high scalability (with its RAC) and complex functionality. It may even show a migration path for those MySQL users to Oracle deployment when needed.
While speaking with a company in the Identity Protection space, I learnt that the entire system is built on the LAMPJ stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP, Java). The reason was simple – stay with open source and lower the cost, as long as MySQL is an “adequate” solution.
MySQL’s true competition is with other open source database products such as Ingres and Postgress, but it does have a large customer base. The interesting thing to observe is how much is the overlap between Oracle’s own closed-source database vs MySQL. Also unknown is, how much R&D investment Oracle will inject into enhancing MySQL? Will Oracle’s sales force be motivated to push MySQL in the market for additional revenue. The “fee vs free” aspects of MySQL has been a challenge from the beginning. Will customers trust Oracle as the pusher of open source products? Time will tell.