19 Apr 2010

Yet Another Opinion on the State of MySQL

I’ve been keeping my eye open and my ears to the ground with regards to the Oracle purchase of MySQL. I was waiting for the O’Reilly conference to get a better idea of what might happen to MySQL in the future.

After watching the presentations from the conference I can conclude that from what I saw - people are still generally worried about MySQL.
Those people are divided into two camps. On the left side you have the people that say, Oracle has a lot of money and lets make the best out of a bad situation. On the right side, you have people saying that we should band around MySQL and continue adding to the community version.

What I understood from Oracle is that they would like to continue supporting MySQL and they would like to move MySQL into their stack. Meaning that Oracle would like to be the main provider of backup, monitoring and support - the areas where you can make money around MySQL. You can think of it like targeting the medium to large companies that already use MySQL and getting them into Oracle contracts for taking care of MySQL.
What I don’t think Oracle will do (or at least succeed in doing) is try to move MySQL customers to use the main Oracle database. I think there is a case for those same companies to start using Oracle databases for business intelligence or reporting and if they are already in the Oracle/MySQL “stack” then it would be easy for Oracle to sell them additional features.
This might not necessarily be a bad thing, since it ensures that when a company grows, there will be someone to turn to when they need help.

What this means to me is that Oracle will invest in that surrounding stack (backup, monitoring and support) where it can make money and perhaps invest just enough in MySQL to keep it relevant.
Perhaps this is a good strategy. Perhaps this was what Sun should have done. What you can’t deny is that Oracle has a proven track record of making money and they will stick to what they know.

From my point of view, I would like to take a closer look at using MariaDB in production. Its features are becoming increasingly relevant and I am confident that the companies that contribute to it, both care (deeply in some cases) about it and want to see it improve.

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