Sun Bets MySQL Can Penetrate Mission-Critical Deployments

Sun is banking that a marriage between it and MySQL will take open-source databases into more mission-critical environments for enterprise customers.

Officials at Sun Microsystems are placing a $1 billion bet that the acquisition of MySQL AB will create a strong opportunity for deeper penetration of the enterprise market by open-source databases.

Calling it the biggest acquisition in the history of Sun, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said the move holds an enormous opportunity for growth for both companies.

"The single biggest impediment to the growth of MySQL in our their ability to give peace of mind to a global company that wants to put MySQL into mission-critical deployments, and it is very clear to us that that is what our customers have come to expect from Sun and we can deliver exactly that peace of mind...and that's exactly what we'll be focused on immediately as we prepare to put the two companies together," he said in a conference call.

Sun is no stranger to the open-source community, and company officials have said they are committed to enhancing the LAMP stack on GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, OpenSolaris and MAC OS X.

"It is a big jump in the potential business for MySQL," said Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg, in an interview with eWEEK. "I do think from an industry standpoint this is something that is pretty major because this is something that will add credibility to open source DBMS. But what I think what this really does is put a tremendous pressure on Oracle, IBM, Sybase and Microsoft from a pricing standpoint, because this makes it real - and now they are going to have to wake up. Are you going to spend $8,000 a server or $40,000 a core?"

A study by the Independent Oracle Users Group released in October reported that open-source databases are not typically serving as large data stores, and 74 percent of those respondents using open-source databases were using MySQL.

Jasmine Noel, an analyst with Ptak, Noel & Associates LLC, speculated Oracle's purchase of BEA on the same day as Sun's announcement may not be mere happenstance.

"Yeah, on the same day that Oracle finally buys BEA - coincidence? I don't think so," she said. "Sun's purchase gives enterprise customers some level of comfort that MySQL will continue to compete against the big consolidators - Oracle, Microsoft [and] IBM. Since Sun does have a good open-source history they can give that financial protection without stifling the culture or product."