Users of the MySQL open source database will soon have the option of calling Hewlett-Packard for support as the systems vendor extends its US-lead decision to Australia.
HP Australia’s Linux business manager Rick Sewell told Computerworld that the launch date for the technical support program was still to be decided but is likely to start before the end of the year.
"We need to get our technical people up to speed in order to support customers and that may take three or four months," Sewell said.
"Our customers want a single point for contact for hardware and software so this decision is customer-driven. For example, there is a large bank in Asia doing open source development with MySQL and wanted support from US."
When asked about the likely demand for technical support here, Sewell said it is difficult to tell with the open source MySQL.
"People are starting to use it in the enterprise as they try and cut costs, also some applications may use MySQL and [end users] don’t know about it," he said.
In addition to MySQL, HP will also support the open source application server, JBoss in keeping with the US announcement.
Sewell said the decision is unlikely to sour HP’s relationship with Oracle and BEA Systems, because it won’t be encroaching on their turf.
"We also have a strong business with Oracle and BEA, and as MySQL is a small company, I doubt customers would throw out Oracle for MySQL.
"I’ve had meetings with MySQL recently in Asia and this announcement helps them as HP can now support their customers."
Sewell said HP’s decision is in keeping with its development of Linux reference architectures to help customers migrate from proprietary systems.
"We try to help customers move to Linux with a ‘shopping list’ of commercial and open source software and we can also implement for them."
MySQL’s vice president of marketing Zack Urlocker said while the company has a few employees in Australia and many users, it doesn't have a sales operation at this stage.
"We currently offer support to customers world wide, but this is a good example of how HP as a global company can stand behind open source to provide broader front-line support, certification on HP hardware and so on," Urlocker said.
"I think we will see an increase in interest among HP's corporate customers who are looking to expand beyond Linux to use a broader open source stack."
Urlocker said the HP announcement is a great endorsement of open source and it will help provide customers with "the best of both worlds".
"A lot of conservative customers have been cautious to move into open source wanting to make sure they didn't have to fend for themselves.
"This announcement gives the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of open source along with the extensive support offerings of a major IT vendor, HP."