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SAP has struck a deal with open-source database vendor MySQL AB under which MySQL will license and distribute SAP's open-source database. The alliance also calls for the two companies to jointly develop what MySQL CEO Marten Mickos calls "the next-generation of MySQL open-source database."

In contrast to the rapid growth of the Linux open-source operating system, open-source databases remain a small part of the overall database market. As with Linux, companies can freely obtain open-source database licenses (known as a general public license or "GPL") for their own use or purchase licenses from vendors such as MySQL if they intend to resell the software as part of a commercial application.

Under the SAP-MySQL deal announced Monday, MySQL has acquired commercial rights to SAP DB, an open-source database (formerly called Adabas D) that SAP acquired from Software AG in 1999. MySQL will market the software, which is geared toward large-scale enterprise deployments, in addition to its two current open-source database products: MySQL Classic for Web sites and embedded applications, and MySQL Pro which adds transaction support.

MySQL and SAP are currently working to link the SAP database with MySQL's product line, work that should be completed sometime during the third quarter, Mickos says. That will provide a way for the databases to exchange data with each other and allow IT managers to use a common set of tools to manage them.

Beyond that development teams from the two vendors are developing the next generation of MySQL database incorporating technology from SAP DB. No timetable for that work was disclosed but it is expected to continue for several years.

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