Sunday, October 16, 2005

Oracle bid for Innobase a threat to MySQL?

Reader Alan Rein has called my attention to Oracle's recent acquisition of Innobase Oy, an open source developer in Finland. Why is this a big deal? Because Innobase is the primary development organization for InnoDB, which is used as a free component for the open source MySQL database by users that want high concurrency, row-level locking, and transactions in MySQL.

In other words, if you are running MySQL--an increasingly popular choice for database applications--and you need it for higher end applications, you use InnoDB as the storage engine.

And Oracle, which has been watching MySQL move up the food chain over the past few years, just bought InnoDB.

The open source community is not quite sure how to interpret Oracle's move. Is it a further endorsement of the open source movement? Oracle has been a huge supporter of Linux, an open source operating system. But Oracle doesn't sell operating systems. Oracle sells databases, among other things. And InnoDB is at the heart of the open source database movement.

The more cynical view is that Oracle is buying InnoDB in order to divert its five (yes, just five) developers away from supporting open source development and the MySQL relationship. The InnoDB/MySQL agreement is up for renewal next year, and Oracle's press release says they expect to see it continue. But who knows?

Jeremy Zawodny has a good summary of the situation on his blog. ZDNet also has a good analysis of Oracle's move. As expected, there's a (ahem) lively debate over on Slashdot as well.

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1 comment:

Darrel Miller said...

As a database applications developer, I really don't understand why any serious developer would use MySQL that does not support transactions. The fact that even the InnoDB does not support subqueries in the SQL is just mind-boggling. If people really want to use Open Source then PostgreSQL is a real database.
If Oracle were to provide their DB engine for MySQL it would gain them a huge following that currently don't even look at Oracle as an option. Many web hosting providers offer MySQL as a database engine, if Oracle can sell the engine to the hosting provider, the hosting provider could resell to the owners of the web sites and they could continue with their MySQL interface.
It would also be a great way to compete with the Microsoft MSDE/SQL Express solution without diluting the value of the Oracle database engine.