Oracle buys Sun

Posted in: Technical Track

It’s true —

Ronald Bradford asked, “What does this mean for MySQL?”

Lots of people are going to be proclaiming that it is the death of MySQL, as they did when Oracle bought InnoDB.

But it is not. MySQL and Oracle may both be databases, but they are not competitors. To say they are competitors is like saying that an upscale bar and the corner convenience store are competitors because you can get soft drinks, coffee and tea at both. There are many applications for which Oracle is the appropriate solution, and there’s no reason to even try to see if MySQL can do the same job. Similarly there are many applications for which MySQL is the clearly appropriate solution and there’s no need to even consider Oracle.

So, in the end, what this acquisition means to me is that Sun’s going to get a little more of a boost — stock prices had been sinking for a while now, and Oracle will get some good hardware, which seems to be their latest foray.

EDIT (4/20/2009 10:09 pm PDT) — Just adding another reason I believe Oracle won’t kill MySQL — they make a ton of $$ off InnoDB hot backup…


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19 Comments. Leave new

Sheeri your convenience store analogy is spot on. MySQL will be a cash cow for Oracle, catering to an audience having completely different project requirements and goals than those relying on the Oracle database. In fact, Oracle seems to me a far more appropriate MySQL shepherd than Sun, and I think will bode very well for MySQL’s future.



> MySQL and Oracle may both be
> databases, but they are not competitors

And yet Jeremy Zawodny writes:

> one of the biggest threats to
> Oracle’s core database business
> (at the low end, at least) for
> a while now has been MySQL

So who’s right?


As a user of both, I’d hate to use Oracle for small web apps.

I cannot see why Oracle would consider MySQL a threat in any way. Their product is simply too cumbersome to use for typical web applications.


Well, since they’re not going to be competitors for much longer I’m going to have to say Sheeri.


You don’t now Larry Ellison. He is as greedy as they come. Why would Oracle provide support for a product from which they make no money? Sun had a reason, to sell more hardware. Oracle has none. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them sell off the hardware end, it doesn’t fit into their business model. This has horrible portents for both JAVA and MYSQL.

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“MySQL and Oracle may both be databases, but they are not competitors. ”

OpenOffice Version 1 en MS Office were not competitors. But OO improved and 2 versions later, they became competitors.

MySQL 5 and Oracle are no competitors. And the never will be!


I’m sure many readers are knowledgeable about databases, but to those who have no hands on experience with both of these, let me attempt to summarize…
MySQL is probably around 5-10 years behind Oracle in terms of technology and development.
It’s beauty is that it’s lightweight, free and has a wonderful (unpaid) support community. It’s perfect for supporting webapps or being embedded inside another smallscale application.
Oracle DB is the grand-daddy of enterprise solutions, incredibly scalable, incredibly performant and fully featured. It costs a hell of a lot to support and maintain, but you’ll pay that as the cost of running your business.
I like the convenience store vs Walmart analogy.
Another example, a telecommunications company would never even conceive of hosting it’s call records on MySQL. It couldn’t handle the volume, speed and is not reliable enough.
Both nicely run on a wide variety of platforms (unlike Sql Server) and so do complement each other.
Now they just need to perfect the MySQL -> Oracle migration process for growing businesses.

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April 20, 2009 5:47 pm

[…] from April 20, 2009: Oracle buys Sun and Oracle buys Sun: what does this mean for […]


I have enjoyed the dialog, thanks.

I feel ultimatley we will end up seeing MySql emerge as the entry level Oracle db product. It will comtinue to fill in as a light to medium duty product but Oracle will cripple it so as to drive definative nail in it’s enterprise ambitions’ coffin.

They will follow the same tactic with the intergration of Java into they’re product line. Solaris is eventually fade from existence, and OpenOiffice might re-emerge as part of their collaboration suite.

Just some overall thoughts on the acquisition.

Mikel King
Senior Editor, Daemon News
Columnist, BSD Magazine


@Tim: I’m not sure of the exact details of each of the Telcos that use MySQL Cluster, but you should probably keep in mind that mysqld is not the only product the database group (formerly known as MySQL) within Sun provide.

Maybe this acquisition will give mysqld an opportunity to stop trying to chase Oracle in terms of features and focus on just being great at being “MySQL” (whatever that is these days :) )

Jeremy Zawodny
April 20, 2009 7:14 pm

At the low end, MySQL is most definitely a threat to Oracle. And we all know how hard it is to switch databases once you’ve got a lot of code written, right?

Oracle is not stupid. There’s a good reason they’ve been supporting InnoDB.


For Oracle they are trying to reduce the complexity for people using not just databases but the whole application stack.

They are not going to spin off the hardware as they want the hardware so they can provide an Oracle appliance as a box businesses can just buy. They have already shown this via the HP partnership.
MySQL will be used as a stepping stone into the Oracle stack just like Microsoft Access is used Microsoft as a stepping stone into SQL server.

End of the day if Oracle let MySQL wither, the source code is freely available and some new fork will appear, increasing the complexity of making a decision about which database to use and driving people back into using known vendors such as Oracle.

Sheeri Cabral
April 20, 2009 9:35 pm

Mike O — Oracle would definitely benefit from getting the good Sun hardware for their huge storage server they announced in September 2008.


good Sun hardware ??

did you mean sparc ?



Back in the “good old days” of Oracle 8i, Solaris was the OS of choice. I could be wrong but I believe Solaris was simply the OS of choice until Oracle got involved with Linux (Red Hat I think?).

I think the idea that they acquired Solaris for a “solution in a box” suggested above is spot on. As much as I am a fan of MySQL, I think it was only icing on the cake. In that way I agree with Sheeri, Oracle will use MySQL as a gateway to its elite products and unfortunately agree with Jeremy that the hopes for MySQL to move into the enterprise space are no longer likely.

Hope is there however. Lest we forget the code is open source and Monte left ahead of golden hand-cuffs. Maybe we will see a Porpoise database with some familiar features and road maps.

Alex Gorbachev
April 21, 2009 3:24 am

“MySQL will be a cash cow for Oracle”

What??? When Sun bought MySQL AB, the revenue was the order of magnitude different from the sum Sun paid (1 bln). I don’t think there were revolutionary changes in the revenue stream from MySQL so I cannot imagine how it could become a cash cow for Oracle – in the next years, any MySQL revenue won’t be noticeable. However, I believe Oracle is positioned way better to grow MySQL related revenue actively compare to Sun but that’s another story but stay tuned on the blog…

Anonymous Coward
April 21, 2009 1:30 pm

There are pieces of Sun that Larry wanted, the rest will be sold off for whatever he can get for them.

They have already identified the parts that are compatible with their business plan. The parts that are not in line with that get spun off, sold, shut down, etc.

It won’t happen over night, but I *highly* doubt that Oracle has a long-term reason to keep MySQL. Oracle already has an entry-level free database product. The hardware stuff yes, Java definitely is a keeper.

If you were Larry and a customer expresed interest in buying a database product from you, which one are you going to steer them towards: Oracle or MySQL?
Even if Oracle Corp owned both products, the answer is going to be Oracle.

So why not just dump MySQL, get some money for it, and keep focused on $$Oracle$$?

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