As interest in open-source databases builds, data management veterans IBM and Microsoft argue that alternative open-source databases such as MySQL lack the strength and functionality for enterprise deployment.
Although Sun Microsystems Inc. has not positioned MySQL as an alternative to larger transactional databases, executives speaking at the launch of the LX50 server in August said MySQL offers enough functionality to be a viable alternative in many cases.
Open-source databases "don't support as many users, they don't support as much data, and you don't have as many connectivity options," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management solutions at IBM. "They lack some key functionality and lack the scalability and performance, which keeps them out of the enterprise," Jones said.
"So far, I still see MySQL and some of the other open-source databases as really niche players," said Sheryl Tullis, product manager for the SQL Server database at Microsoft.
"With open-source, you're not going to get a platform that's as reliable or scalable or as secure as what you're going to get with a leading vendor," Tullis said.
According to MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, the database-feature war is over and the missing functionality in products such as MySQL is not needed by some companies. MySQL also is capable of performing transactions and can support 1 billion records, he said.
"If Oracle or DB2 is the Cadillac, then we are the Ferrari," Mickos said.
Databases such as IBM's or Oracle's offer functions such as spatial data support that users may not need, Mickos said.
At Yahoo Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif., MySQL is being used for applications such as funneling news feeds from their sources to the Yahoo search engine Web site.
"As a whole, I would certainly qualify it as enterprise-level," said Yahoo's Jeremy Zawodny, who holds the title of technical Yahoo and is responsible for engineering and development.
Other open-source databases are finding a challenge in gaining acceptance. The PostgresSQL database, which some analysts said was the best performer of the open-source databases, suffered a setback in September when Great Bridge, a distributor of Postgres, closed down.