Oracle-Sun: What happens to MySQL?

What's the future of the popular MySQL open-source database now "owned, developed and supported" by Sun?

As MySQL becomes more successful in pushing into the enterprise, can Oracle executives resist seeing the open-source database as a threat to its own high-performing, capable but more costly offering?

The best scenario would be that Oracle rationalizes the two product lines, making it clear where MySQL is best suited and when Oracle Database 11g is the better choice. In an ideal world, MySQL would even benefit from some Oracle technology.

The fear, though, is that Oracle will naturally want to channel customers toward the higher priced option. What's the incentive to continue to improve an open-source product that could compete with its flagship?

In a brief letter about the deal, Oracle President Charles Phillips talks about the benefit of Oracle owning Java and Solaris, without a word about MySQL. Not the reassurance corporate MySQL users might be seeking.

"MySQL will be an addition to Oracle’s existing suite of database products, which already includes Oracle Database 11g, TimesTen, Berkeley DB open source database, and the open source transactional storage engine, InnoDB," says an Oracle FAQ about the acquisition.

So, yes, Oracle already has other open-source databases in its product portfolio (and plans to add MySQL). However, Berkeley DB is "for application use cases that do not require SQL," Oracle notes -- not exactly a head-to-head opponent for Database 11g, as MySQL could be in some situations.

Something to keep an eye on.

Oracle buys Sun

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