Oracle attracting MySQL users

Oracle is now seeing the MySQL database user base as an opportunity, unlike two years ago, when Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said users of the open source product are not the people who would buy Oracle because they did not have any money.

Oracle's Robert Shimp, vice president of technology marketing, said customers of MySQL AB have begun to exceed the limits of that database and are moving to Oracle's data management platform.

"I've personally run into a half-dozen cases in the last few weeks, and I know if I've seen that many -- there are a lot more out there," Shimp said.

MySQL users build smaller applications but then have to upgrade to Oracle, according to Shimp.

"MySQL is a very rudimentary database. It's missing many of the basic technologies that you need like triggers, and so on," Shimp said. MySQL plans to add triggers, stored procedures, and database views to its product in early 2005, according to MySQL.

MySQL CEO Marten Mickos acknowledged on Thursday that Oracle is more feature-rich than the MySQL database, but said migration happens in both directions. Oracle, he said, is a great product for anybody who has plenty of money.

Mickos recalled a published interview in 2002 during which Ellison commented about MySQL users having no money. Suddenly, MySQL users must have money, Mickos said.

"It's great to see Oracle mentioning us more and more. It's free marketing for MySQL," he said.

A MySQL user who had considered Oracle said he was attracted by the open source status of MySQL and found it easy to license. The database also provided the needed functionality, said the user, T. Dorsey, CTO of ebackbid, an online seller of school-related goods and services. He did not want his first name published.

"Obviously, Oracle is a large system. It's a complex system. One of the things that we liked about MySQL was it gave us what we needed and it was simple for us to get everything going," Dorsey said. However, ebackbid in a year expects to have to re-evaluate its database needs based on the company's growth, he said.

"So far, we have not had a problem," Dorsey said.

MySQL's database costs US$595 per server for use in commercial deployments. Oracle10g Standard Edition One starts in price at US$4,995 per processor.