MySQL database popular but limited

MySQL is integral to Sun Microsystems' integrated open-source software stack, but developer MySQL AB freely admits it's not yet the cure-all alternative to the IBM's DB2 or Oracle's 9i databases.

The Linux community's popular open-source database received high praise from Sun Microsystems this week as an integral part of the software bundled with its LX50 entry-level server in addition to Solaris 9's Companion CD and several Sun Cobalt servers. MySQL is also distributed with Apple Computer Inc.'s Mac OS X Server.

Yet MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos said in an interview this week that the company remains realistic about its limitations. What began as an open-source database for Web applications and areas such as data warehousing, is slowly maturing but still lacks the ability to cater for high-end enterprise application environments such as CRM, SCM ( supply chain management), and ERP, Mickos said.

"I have no doubts about [MySQL's] performance and scalability," Mickos said. "We are definitely an alternative in some areas."

And while Sun Microsystem's executive vice president of software Jonathan Schwartz talked up the inclusion of MySQL in the LX50 this week, he said during a press briefing he was "not naïve enough" to believe MySQL was strong enough to directly compete with DB2 and 9i in large enterprise environments.

Much of the talk at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo this week has been about MySQL, Version 4.0, which is currently in beta, Mickos said. He said the database will become a production release when it has passed one month of operation without any fatal errors.

Ultimately, Mickos' vision is for the database to move from desktop installments out to "every computing device," he said.

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