Oracle VP: MySQL Cluster Not a Threat

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-04-14 Print this article Print

Ken Jacobs, Oracle's vice president of product strategy, says MySQL Cluster 'will not change the competitive landscape' and that the company is trying to address shortcomings by acquiring a third-party technology.

Analysts say big database vendors must be feeling the heat from open-source database providers such as MySQL AB, which on Wednesday rolled out its version of database clustering.
Click here to read analysts take on the MySQL Cluster announcement.
That type of high-end database technology, offered at no cost under the free software/open-source GNU General Public License (GPL) for open-source projects and also under a commercial license for software vendors and other commercial MySQL customers, must be causing some consternation in the hallways of Oracle Corp., IBM and Microsoft Corp., the thinking goes. To find out how disrupted by this tiny Swedish companys technology such behemoths as Oracle feel, Database Center Editor Lisa Vaas got Ken Jacobs, Oracles vice president of product strategy, to answer the question himself. Are big database vendors pricking up their ears when MySQL offers a high-end feature such as MySQL Cluster? Were watching with interest but have not seen MySQL as a significant factor in our marketplace. This announcement of MySQL Cluster may confuse some people, but it will not change the competitive landscape. MySQL is trying to address certain product shortcomings by acquiring a third-party technology. This does not mean they now have a product that is competitive with Oracle—or even other—database products, whether clustered or not. No one has anything at all like Oracles Real Application Clusters, which is the only product that can truly support enterprise-class transaction processing and data-warehouse applications, including packaged applications, in a scalable, high-performance, manageable way. Granted, MySQL is a small company. It isnt a big threat now. Or is it? Technically, MySQL is absolutely not a threat, not even close. When compared with Oracle, the MySQL feature set has obvious shortcomings, including reliability, etc. From a customer viewpoint, lack of widely available ISV applications, hidden costs—management, application development, etc.—and risks of open-source software, eventual migration costs and limited confidence in support limit deployments to marginal applications. MySQLs product is not capable of supporting enterprise-class [online transaction processing] or data-warehousing applications. When you factor in costs of support, Oracle has a very price-competitive product in Standard Edition One. And it requires no application rewrite as you scale up or outgrow the functionality [and require] a move to enterprise-level deployments. The press talks about MySQL, but we dont see it much in competitive situations. MySQL has not been a threat to our business, and I dont believe MySQL Cluster changes things. Next page: Oracle says its ready to pick up customers who run out of steam on MySQL.

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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