Tuesday, January 22, 2008

3 Predictions for MySQL Post Sun Acquisition

The $1B acquisition of MySQL by Sun didn’t seem to get its fair share of publicity with the gargantuan $8.5B same-day acquisition of BEA by Oracle. Nevertheless it was a monster payout for MySQL, which finally has the opportunity come into its own. With Sun’s stewardship and products like Stratavia’s Data Palette providing automation functionality for MySQL, it finally has the opportunity to overcome its two primary weaknesses: (a) lack of proficient support tools and the resultant perceived lack of stability and scalability and (b) lack of personnel with adequate proficiency in managing enterprise class installations. These flaws have frequently relegated MySQL to a third-tier DBMS platform behind the usual suspects (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2), even legacy platforms (Sybase, Informix) and alas, nimbler open-source and pseudo open-source platforms (PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB). The digerati have it pinned as being suited for merely small shops and/or small LAMP apps, in spite of some robust enterprise-class functionality in the newer releases.

With the acquisition, I predict 3 things to happen to MySQL in the next 12-24 months:
1. Enhanced native support (finally!) – More native tools for MySQL, especially better monitoring and ad-hoc GUI tools, which will greatly enhance DBA productivity and allow DBAs from other platforms to take on a more favorable disposition towards MySQL. Regardless, as in other DBMS platforms, there will always be gap between DBA demand and supply and MySQL-savvy automation products such as Data Palette will continue to be seen as a viable option to fill part of this gap.
2. More partner activity - With Sun’s partner-base being substantially larger than MySQL, more ISVs are likely to pay attention to the latter and begin to establish a tertiary tools eco-system – including better migration, upgrade and patching tools, data load/unload utilities and more robust maintenance and backup capabilities.
3. Higher innovation – With Sun’s reputation for innovation especially in areas open source, MySQL should come into its own with functionality matching and hopefully, surpassing the mainstream DBMS platforms (a smaller legacy footprint usually enables faster innovation…). Even table-stakes capabilities such as an enhanced SQL optimizer, partitioning and index-types for handling large data-sets without crashes/corruption would go a long way in building credibility for MySQL as a platform that can be relied on for mission-critical enterprise class deployments. These would also make it alluring for ISVs that are looking for more cost-effective options for embedding databases within their products. (I would think the latter would be an especially strong target market for MySQL, especially once the restrictive licensing issues are resolved…)

I still don’t expect a lot of automation capabilities for MySQL right out the chute. Funnily enough, I have been presciently upbeat about MySQL and had championed including out of the box support for MySQL within Data Palette a couple of years ago. While customers have appreciated that capability, ironically enough it was never a make or break deal for us (even with customers having some serious MySQL presence); just icing on the cake. However with the acquisition, I’m predicting MySQL will find more mainstream adopters for both itself and its supporting ecosystem making that early investment in MySQL automation capabilities worthwhile for Stratavia.

Go MySQL! And go Sun for stepping up to the plate! Pretty soon it’s going to be time to make it real… perhaps starting with fixing that open-source licensing model…?

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