Oracle Gives MySQL a Raspberry for Valentines Day

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2006-02-14 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Oracle may have squashed any potential marriage to Sleepycat, but sources report that MySQL is hard at work on its own transaction engine.

MySQL snagged $18.5 million in funding on Feb. 13, and its a darn good thing, because the open-source database company needs all the help it can get to fend off Oracles yen for open-source tidbits. To wit: Oracle on Feb. 14 told the world what it already knew. Namely, that it is buying Sleepycat and its embedded database, Berkeley DB. Those whove been following the fortunes of MySQL know that some conjectured that Sleepycat was working with MySQL to come up with an alternate transaction engine to replace InnoDB, which Oracle also swallowed in October. Thus, as of Valentines Day, Oracle has given MySQL a lovely raspberry, having already snatched the heart of its enterprise-capable 5.0 release and now squashing any potential second marriage to Sleepycat. What a sad Valentines Day for MySQL.
Dont weep yet for the can-do Swedish database company, however. Sources report that MySQL is hard at work to create its own transaction engine. While some have charged that the company lacks enough of the hard-core database programming talent necessary for the task, the companys latest funding score now puts the total amount of funding at $39 million, with the latest $18.5 million targeted for corporate expansion, according to Zack Urlocker, vice president for marketing at MySQL.
Urlocker said the latest funding is designed as a corporate round targeted at "overall expansion." Specifically, MySQL is aiming to tighten relations with Intel, Red Hat and SAP. "Therere lots of areas where the whole stack is emerging as a significant item in corporate arenas," he said in an interview. "These are companies that are very significant in the enterprise. And open source is obviously something thats continuing to grow very broadly in the enterprise. We have a natural fit with all those companies." Urlocker continues to insist that the database company isnt all that dependent on InnoDB anyway. "Weve been working on a lot of different transactional engines," he said. "Thats part of our whole architecture, to have a pluggable storage engine approach. There are different engines for different purposes. Thats included internal development we have ongoing, thats included working with a broad list of third-party companies." OK. So MySQL didnt put all its eggs in the Sleepycat basket. But claiming that InnoDB isnt that crucial likely amounts to little more than keeping a game face. For one, ANTs Software, maker of high-performance database management systems, is more than happy to provide customer wins who point to Oracles purchase of InnoDB as being among the reasons they shied away from MySQL. Norman Dutt, chief operating officer of sfaFinity, said in an interview that the company decided to integrate ANTs into its flagship sfCRM application after evaluating nearly all the big databases, with open-source databases thrown in as well. sfaFinity rejected Oracle because of price, SQL Server because of price structure, and MySQL because of "lack of referential integrity on the part of databases," Dutt said "After the evaluation that [Dutt] did, he got to the decision that MySQL by itself did not support referential integrity because he believed it was provided by InnoDB," said Cesar Rojas, senior marketing director for ANTs. "When they did an evaluation of MySQL and found that Oracle was getting InnoDB, [they found] the only way to do referential integrity was with the InnoDB solution. Without the InnoDB solution, MySQL cannot provide referential integrity." Dutt confirmed this. "We did a lot of searching in the market," he said. "We did tests with Oracle, PostgreSQL, SQL Server. We came up with the conclusion from a price/performance perspective as well as from a transactional performance perspective, and we couldnt find a better database than ANTs." MySQLs protestations to the contrary, this prejudice toward InnoDB and against Oracles purchase of it is weighing around MySQLs neck. Thus, the company is very likely to be cooking up its own replacement. Next Page: The open-source community reacts.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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