Oracle Ready to Gain

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

What kind of a threat does Oracle see open-source databases being, say, five years down the road? Anything that expands the size of the market for databases and introduces new developers to database technology is a good thing. As customers run out of steam with MySQL, they will upgrade to enterprise-class products like Oracle. Looking at the track record of MySQLs release history and the large set of deficiencies in functionality and reliability, it will take many years before it begins to reach technical parity with mainstream database products. By then, of course, the entire database market will have moved on, with customers raising new requirements and new technologies being brought to market.
MySQL production releases have typically been two years apart, and the time from alpha [first release] to production is about 1.5 years. They released Version 5.0 in alpha status in December 2003, so a reasonable expectation for production release of Version 5.0 is mid-2005.
It should be noted that MySQL Version 5.0 introduced stored procedures but not triggers or views, both of which are essential for significant enterprise applications. It appears unlikely that MySQL could introduce these critical features much before mid-2007. A whole wide range of additional capabilities including but not limited to XML and analytic—i.e. business-intelligence—features do not appear to be on the MySQL radar. Furthermore, the low level of resources available to MySQL to fund development and the very small size of their development team raise questions about the viability of the MySQL business model and technology development path going forward. It is unlikely that MySQL can rapidly accelerate development of their core product while acquiring and integrating disparate database technologies like the SAP DB (now called MaxDB) or MySQL Cluster. Indeed, this sort of engineering by acquisition is a distraction and fragments their development efforts. Click here to read about MySQLs introduction of the SAP-certified MaxDB database. Oracles track record of leading innovation—and significant production releases every 18 months or so—will keep it at the head of the pack for years, decades, to come. Next page: Open-source databases have nothing in common with Linuxs success, Jacobs says.

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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