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10/30/2009
10:25 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Amazon Serves Up MySQL

Amazon's newest cloud offering: MySQL 5.1 in the cloud, also known as Amazon RDS. And there's worry that it'll turn out to be a bad thing for MySQL in the long run, although that might not hold true for other open source repurposed in the same way.

Amazon's newest cloud offering: MySQL 5.1 in the cloud, also known as Amazon RDS. And there's worry that it'll turn out to be a bad thing for MySQL in the long run, although that might not hold true for other open source repurposed in the same way.

In the abstract, the idea's great. Amazon offers up MySQL as a service, in much the same way they offer storage and processing and Linux instances as services. Automated backups, snapshots, the full set of MySQL features, and of course the whole you-only-pay-for-what-you-actually-use

A good expression of the unease surrounding this comes so far from Savio Rodrigues at InfoWorld. He seemed uneasy (although he went on to temper his unease with pragmatism), and pointed out that one of the side effects of Amazon offering MySQL in this fashion would be to put a dent in Sun's revenue stream from the enterprise edition of MySQL.

You could probably fill a whole dozen columns of finger-pointing about stuff like this. Is it MySQL's fault that they didn't pick a license that would prevent stuff like this from being done? Sun's fault that they haven't yet offered anything like this as aggressively marketed or widely received? Amazon's fault for being a "predatory open source user"? (Now there's a term I thought I'd never come up with.)

The truth is any open source product licensed in a manner that allows it to be served up like this, most likely will. It's only a matter of time, and whichever agency has the wherewithal to serve it up this way. SugarCRM has their own EC2 implementation, and worked closely with Amazon to make it happen. (The questions of how, in the long run, Amazon's cloud will shape up against the SaaS vendors that people like SugarCRM routinely compete with looks like it could easily be its own blog.)

What matters all the more is how customers choose to make use of this, and I have a hard time not seeing this as a huge hit. Think about how many people -- big and small -- use MySQL in some form. The larger question is how many of those people are likely to also be Amazon cloud customers -- but this makes for terrific incentive!

I don't want to make this sound like an argument that the success of the cloud in private hands comes at the expense of open source in public hands. But it might work out that way in a de facto sense, even if MySQL may not be the best test case for such a thing given the recent rocky history of the project.

I doubt Amazon's thinking much about future MySQL iterations here, just picking something that they know has an audience and an installed base now and letting the future take care of itself. Their future and MySQL's, both.

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