Thursday, April 23, 2009

MySQL: What next ?

Unless you've been living under a rock, in the technology world, you would have no doubt heard that Oracle has recently acquired Sun Microsystems and all the buzz following the announcement. The announcement was a greater shock for us MySQL customers, especially given the fact that it was officially announce on the morning of the MySQL Conference in Santa Clara, from where I'm currently writing this blog. The news sent waves of awe through all us MySQL customer; Most of whom have migrated away from Oracle due to it's insanely (relatively speaking) costs of licensing.

Sun's official stance on the matter is that "This is a fantastic day for Sun's customers, developers, partners and employees across the globe", naturally! - Heck I'd say that if I was being paid ~7.4 billion. Now I'm sure that for some divisions within Sun this news is a breath of fresh air, however, I can assure you that the musings from MySQL customers in general is no where near as pleasant. Most of this revolves around the unknown; What will Oracle do with MySQL; A product that competes directly with it's flagship product ?

Now rather than bore you all with talk of doom and gloom, I'm going to write a different view; Hopefully one that's a little more optimitic; One revolving around the question of What should Oracle do with MySQL ?

Now please bear in mind that this is not a ramble on which database is better and whether or not MSSQL or DB2 would be a better fit. This is simply my personal view on what Oracle should do with their newly purchased MySQL asset.

Firstly, I don't think that the purchase of Sun is necessarily a bad one. Sun, ever since the hey-days of the Dot-com boom has been rather stagnant with it's product portfolio. Sure they've caused waves in the market by Open Sourcing almost all of their major product lines, but they haven't been very smart in integrating their technology portfolios into solutions and executing on them. Sun being bought out was definitely a no brainer. The Oracle purchase, for the most part will be a breath of fresh air and (hopefully) give life to a lot of Sun's cooler technologies, whilst dropping and cleaning out the crap.

So what does this mean for MySQL ? - Well my hope is that Oracle views MySQL as a complement to their flagship product rather than a direct competitor. Oracle should view MySQL as the solution for those that don't need a "enterprise grade" solution that can do anything and everything and provide a near 99.9999% uptime. Those customers that fit into this category wouldn't think twice about the licensing costs as the costs of downtime far out-way them.

On the flip side, there are those customers that are not necessarily looking for a 99.9999% uptime; For them the ROI does not justify the cost. These are the customers that generally look towards MySQL. Bottom line, most businesses that have adopted MySQL over Oracle would never have purchased Oracle to begin with; Most of them have such simple requirements that MySQL would be the perfect fit.

So what should Oracle do with MySQL ?

To begin with, from a technical direction, I'd suggest that they continue to improve on and develop MySQL; Possibly even implement their Oracle Engine as a pluggable storage engine for the Enterprise Edition as a option. This will allow them to focus Oracle on the upper tier customers. At the very least, they should continue to take the product in new and exciting directions.

From a customer perspective, I can see that Oracle would gain clear benefits by combining solutions from the various assets, both new and existing, and target them towards different tiers, based on requirements and budget. I can clearly see customers being channeled with full end-to-end "out of the box" solutions at low, medium and high tiers; Low being MySQL's domain, High being Oracle's domain and the middle being combined. Since Oracle now holds keys to an entire stack, including hardware, I can definitely see this as being huge, if executed well. Remember most businesses are not in the business of technology. Technology is a cost centre. Those that can provide complete end-to-end solutions at a low cost (including maintenance) will have the upper hand.

I'm hopeful that Oracle will be smart with their newly acquired assets. At the very least I hope that they learned lessons from their Peoplesoft fiasco and apply them in MySQL's case to keep all us customers happy, regardless of the long-term outcome.

But hey, what do I know; I'm just another "mad man" rambling. ;)

1 comment:

Amelia said...

In past few years Oracle has acquired so many other companies and is in the process of acquiring several others too. MySQL and Oracle are both powerful databases but I personally find Oracle better and I am sure that Oracle will do provide customers with surprising outcomes using MYSQL.
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