MySQL will continue to add more enterprise-class features to its eponymously branded open source database, but remains committed to it’s legion of “commodity” users, according Arjen Lentz, a technical writer and trainer with the company.
Speaking at the Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG) conference in Sydney last week, Lentz said although the performance of MySQL is comparable to commercial databases, it does not have many of the specialised features found in, say, Oracle or DB2.
“MySQL has matched Oracle in independent transaction processing tests,” Lentz said. “We can compete with the large vendors but are not trying to be Oracle as we want to compete in the commodity market and not the specialised market.”
That said, Lentz did go through some of the higher-end features that are under development.
“MySQL has numerous ways of storing data and version 5 – which is now in source-only form – will support SQL-99 and stored procedures and triggers,” he said. “We believe open source databases are better because there is no dependence on a single vendor and the testing and bug reports are better.”
Lentz said the company is often asked, “why don’t you move to a closed-source-only business model”.
“This model would definitely hurt MySQL as we need the community to make it better,” he said. “By adopting a dual licence model we are able to sell commercial MySQL licences to companies that wish to develop with MySQL and keep the result proprietary. For example, Cisco has embedded MySQL in an IDS [Intrusion Detection System] and integrated it with IOS.”
According to Lentz, MySQL is not a traditional open source project.
He said about half of the company’s revenue come from commercial licences and the remainder from professional services.
“Our professional services business includes training, consulting, certification, partnerships, and support contracts which vary from simple e-mail to full 24x7 support,” he said. “With around 90 people we are doing a good business and want to grow steadily and not too quickly.”
Regarding the company’s recent deal with SAP for the commercial rights to SAP DB, Lentz said it can only be good for open source databases.
“We have not bought SAP DB but the commercial rights to it, and have renamed the database MaxDB,” he said. “MySQL does not try to provide everything to everyone and having a company like SAP endorse an open source database like MySQL is good.”