07:48 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans

Global CIO: Oracle Delivers On Larry Ellison's MySQL Promises

Oracle chief architect Edward Screven underscores Oracle's investments in MySQL and its unique value for customers.

When Oracle chief architect Edward Screven gave the keynote talk yesterday at a MySQL conference, he emphasized Oracle's financial, philosophical, and strategic commitments to the open-source database product. While actions will ultimately provide the strongest proof, Screven could not have been more unwavering in delivering Oracle's spoken commitment to MySQL technologies, products, and openness.

I suspect that no matter what Oracle does or says, some hardcore MySQL diehards will always grouse and grumble about the cosmic unfairness of it all: a pure and angelic ideal like MySQL snatched up in the grimy, gritty paws of Oracle, among whose many character flaws the worst of all is that it's a for-profit enterprise. Oh, the angst!!

But for those less-tormented people who evaluate, purchase, deploy and manage technology to drive business value—that would be CIOs and their teams—Screven's endorsements give them even greater confidence that Oracle will not only allow MySQL to survive but will indeed continue to invest heavily in it as a vital and important new extension of Oracle's database family.

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With its superb track record at helping to run high-volume web sites, MySQL gives Oracle both an entre' to new market opportunities and also new capabilities to offer to existing customers. Oracle has been 100% consistent on its intentions for MySQL, and while over the past year some MySQL zealots here and abroad along with the statists in the European Commission have raised every possible doomsday scenario for the open-source database, Larry Ellison and his team have consistently and unwaveringly said MySQL is a great product with a great future inside Oracle.

As my colleague Charlie Babcock wrote earlier this week after an interview with Screven:

In an interview Monday, Screven said he intended to tell the user base "why MySQL matters to Oracle." The open source system is so distinct from the Oracle 11g database system that there is little concern that MySQL impinges on future Oracle sales.

Several months ago, in a public interview with Ed Zander at the Churchill Club in the Bay Area before the EC ninnies approved Oracle's acquisition of Sun, here's how Ellison framed Oracle's intentions toward MySQL as we wrote about in Global CIO: Why Oracle's Larry Ellison Will Tell The EU To Pound Sand:

"We're a big fan of open source—in fact, we've had the major transaction engine to MySQL—it's something Oracle bought years ago and has invested in it to a higher level than it was invested in before. We believe in open source, we're a huge supporter of Linux. MySQL and Oracle do not compete—at all . . . . There's a long list of database machines and database software we compete against—we never compete against MySQL. They're both called databases, they address very different markets—furthermore, it's open source."

Zander asks, "If they ask you to spin it off, will you?"

Ellison: "No."

Rapid-fire, Zander asks, "If they told you to spin it off, would you?"

Ellison: "No. We're not gonna spin it off. The U.S. government cleared this, we think the Europeans are gonna clear this, and we are not going to spin anything off."

And then there were Oracle's 10 commitments to MySQL and the MySQL community, which the company made in December and include license commitments; a commitment to enhance MySQL under the GPL; voluntary support; increased investments; and the formation of a MySQL Customer Advisory Board.

So this week, Screven's comments in the Charlie Babcock article noted above fall right in line with those promises:

"MySQL is small, it's lightweight, it's easy to install, it's easy to get going with it," he noted. "These are interesting properties. It reaches a customer segment that Oracle doesn't otherwise reach. It's made sense all along for us to invest in MySQL's ongoing development," he said. . . . "We've said we will make MySQL better We plan to continue this level of investment. A lot of people questioned what motivation Oracle had in acquiring MySQL (as part of Sun Microsystems)," said Screven, trying to lay apprehensions to rest.

And according to two reports from his keynote at the MySQL conference yesterday, Screven continued to give developers, customers, and philosophers no reason to doubt Oracle's commitment to the technology and the product.

From a news story on "He repeated the uber plan articulated by management during its January strategy day to invest in engineering projects to integrate the database with Oracle's infrastructure products - Oracle Enterprise Manager for management, Oracle Secure Backup for back up, and Oracle Vault for secure audit of records. This integration would make MySQL much more appealing to existing Oracle customers, Screven said."

And from a live-blogging stream at the event from "Most of the components talk to each other through open standards, so that customers can use other products, and standardize on the technology, which makes it much more likely that customers will continue to use Oracle. Oracle invested heavily in open source even before the acquisition. Linux (Oracle Unbreakable Linux = Oracle Enterprise Linux = OEL). Clustering, data integrity, storage validation, asynchronous I/O, virtualiation technology that has been accepted back into the Linux kernel."

Again, none of this will quell the anger and mistrust among the hardcore MySQLites; I think they'll carry to their graves their full-bore if irrational animosity toward Oracle. But for CIOs who are interested in Oracle's intentions toward MySQL, the roadmap is about as clear as can be.


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GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

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