Open-source databases in the post-Oracle world.
By Bridget Moore for Intelligence In Software
Open-source products, like MySQL and PostgreSQL, brought relational database functionality to the masses at a fraction of the price of a commercial Oracle, IBM or even Microsoft database. MySQL led the pack of free, or almost free, contenders -- customers typically paid for support, not the database itself. Sun Microsystems bought MySQL in January 2008 and open-source fans saw Sun, which fostered many open-source projects, as a worthy caretaker. But, when Oracle bought Sun two years later, they were no longer pleased. Oracle was not known for its friendliness to open source. Here, MySQL veteran Ulf Sandberg -- now CEO of SkySQL Ab -- says prospects remain rosy for open-source databases as the world transitions to cloud computing.
Q: When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems (which had already acquired MySQL), many feared the worst for the open-source database. How has that worked out?
Q: Has Oracle kept up with this on its own?
MySQL is still growing very fast and the sweet spot is still the Web. Companies that grew up building online apps don’t want to spend a ton of money on a big database. Facebook and Google, these are the types of customers that grew up on open-source databases.
There is nothing wrong with spending a lot of money on a commercial database. These are great products, but do you really use all that capability?
The next thing for open-source databases is the cloud. One thing that suits MySQL for cloud is that it supports pluggable storage engines that let you change the behavior of the database for different markets. The elasticity of the cloud opens up a whole new space for us and that’s where IBM, Oracle and Microsoft are stuck. They don’t have the key things needed for the virtualized world of cloud. If you turn on faucet, it should follow your needs; you shouldn’t have to install a whole new database if your need gets bigger.
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