Why Oracle won’t kill MySQL

oracle mysql database

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1. MySQL does not compete with Oracle

It’s a myth that MySQL somehow poses a threat to Oracle. Oracle’s customers tend to be large enterprises running apps like e-business suite. These are certified to run on Oracle, and further they sit close to finance.

MySQL tends to be a choice of scrappy but nimble startups for their web-facing applications. They want to deploy in the cloud, and don’t want to deal with licenses. Plus they have the techops chops to handle the bushwacking of open source.

Related: Why I wrote the book on Oracle & Open Source

2. Oracle bought Sun for the hardware business

Remember when Oracle acquired Sun? A lot of folks assumed Larry was after MySQL. Grab it & slowly smother it. But actually it was more frosting on the cake. Larry had for years expressed interest in cubes and clusters, and building an Oracle appliance. Whether this ever came to profitable fruition in the form of Exadata remains to be seen. But buying Sun for a song helped him do this.

Also: Why bemoaning AWS performance sounds like Linux detractors circa 1999

3. Larry blows with the wind on open source

He’s money minded, so you’ll see in his decisions that comes first.

In the late 90’s when a customer might spend $100k on Sun and $100k on Oracle licenses, Larry realized porting to Linux and pushing commodity hardware would be a win. So he pushed Linux, and customers could now spend $20k on commodity hardware and $180k on Oracle licenses for them. Imagine the 10million dollar budget if you’re having trouble with the math here.

He also eventually moved the middle tier to Apache for similar reasons. I would argue Oracle corp overall pays lip service to contributing to open source, but they do that to some degree.

Read: Why MySQL dbas are so hard to find

4. MySQL support business is real

What’s more, just as adopting Linux, and then offering their “unbreakable Linux” distro, and pricey support along with it, they’re doing similar things with MySQL. For enterprise customers, and those already comfortable with making the call to Redwood Shores, sales folks will happily direct them support contracts and enterprise add-ons. Naturally.

Read: Why your startup needs real techops

5. There are real viable alternatives to keep balance

And let’s not forget folks, there are already a bunch of forks. There’s the popular and every growing Mariadb which Google has put their muscle behind.

Of course let’s not forget the very popular, very capable, and very bulletproof Percona distribution, along with the Percona toolkit and xtrabackup for real hotbackups.

And for those looking to experiment, there’s Drizzle a work in progress, complete rewrite, and one that’s unfortunately not a drop-in replacement.

Read this: What’s the four letter word dividing dev and ops?

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  • Lenz

    The brand name “unbreakable Linux” has been replaced with “Oracle Linux” more than three years ago. The distribution (including security updates/errata) is free to download, use and re-distribute (both as ISO images and public yum repos).

    Regarding “pricey support” – please compare the price of an Oracle Linux support subscription with an equal offering from Red Hat and you’ll realize that Oracle Linux support actually provides more value at lower cost…

    • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

      Thank you Lenz. Btw, do you have a blog?

  • AngelDuz

    They wont kill MySQL, but they will not let it develop to its full potential either –> i.e. an Oracle replacement. If they did, will the customers choose to pay money for Oracle or use the cheaper MySQL?

    • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

      Customers who choose Oracle have big budgets. One thing I *DID* forget to mention in the article. Cost of licenses is only one piece in total cost of ownership. Deployment services aka consulting cost just as much for MySQL as they do for Oracle.

    • Dimitri

      Why will you need yet another Oracle RDBMS?… – there is already one 😉

      MySQL is coming in game for customers who may by-pass Oracle RDBMS or for any other reasons will using anything but not Oracle RDBMS (so in any case these customer are already lost, except if we cannot make them happy with MySQL ;-)) — as well interesting that something like 70% of customers running Oracle RDBMS in production are also running MySQL instances.. – they are just complimentary, not in confrontation 😉

      Then, regarding MySQL.. – there was not made so big improvement in MySQL Performance and overall new features as it was made since last 3 years!.. MySQL 5.6 was the best MySQL release ever, and MySQL 5.7 is already promising to be the best!

      Did you see your 500K QPS and 1M QPS results?.. – and yet more to come 😉
      So, staty tuned 😉


      • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

        Thx for the comments Dimitry. Yep, MySQL 5.6 is definitely a big improvement, I agree. Will stay tuned.

  • tonyb

    Oracle bought Sun mostly for Java (see James Goesling), and maybe some inroads via server hardware into enterprise clients, since most big name ORacle DB installs run atop of Sun.. . But Sun hardware is being dumped, everyone is replacing it it using commodity Linux clusters/blades/vm’s from Dell, DP etc. proprietary Sun hardware is quickly fading into obsolescence . As far as MySQL , Oracle may not kill it but it has no business interest to develop it further, because it can be used freely, and the liceseing dollars are peanutes compared to Oracle, they’ll just “maintain” it until a later time when they’ll likely spin it off.

    • http://www.iheavy.com/blog/ Sean Hull

      Well said, Tony.