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Can Sun Make MySQL Pay?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the oops-to-late dept.

Sun Microsystems 273

AlexGr submitted a nice followup to last weeks billion dollar Sun buyout of MySQL. He notes that "Jeff Gould presents an interesting analysis in Interop News: How can an open source software company with $70 million or so in revenue and no profits to speak of be worth $1 billion? That's the question Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been trying to answer since he bought MySQL last week. Like most commercial open source companies, MySQL makes money by enticing well-heeled customers to pay for an enterprise version of its product that comes with more bells and whistles than the community version it gives away for free. It appears though that the additional features of the Enterprise version are not enough to compensate for the revenue-destroying effects of the free Community alternative. What else could explain the surprising fact that MySQL has quietly filled out its open source portfolio with a closed source proprietary management software tool known as Enterprise Software Monitor?"

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Does Cory Doctorow have Mickey Mouse bedding? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22152740)

"Jeff" Gould is an asshole, just like his father.

Why should this be a surprise? (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152742)

"What else could explain the surprising fact that MySQL has quietly filled out its open source portfolio with a closed source proprietary management software tool known as Enterprise Software Monitor?""

They're offering better support. Haven't we always said that the rationale behind open source is you can offer the product for free, then offer paid support?

Why is it every time someone actually implements this, they're criticized?

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (5, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152980)

I think it comes down to one half of the brain fighting the other. On one side, you know the free software/support model potentially is a win for everyone. But the other side is simply taken off guard by it... even though deep down inside you knew what you were going to get, up front it seems to be a surprise.

Similar to that hot chick you have been chatting up for months online... when she told you "I am a little big, but cute", deep down, you know she is a cross between a human and a hippo, but when you finally meet her, you want to dig your eyes out with a mechanical pencil.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153084)

Similar to that hot chick you have been chatting up for months online... when she told you "I am a little big, but cute", deep down, you know she is a cross between a human and a hippo, but when you finally meet her, you want to dig your eyes out with a mechanical pencil.

You don't seem to know how horny neglected fat chicks can be.... So, if she really got a pretty face but she doesn't conform to the "Kate Moss" body style, give it a shot anyway.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153690)

So, if she really got a pretty face but she doesn't conform to the "Kate Moss" body style, give it a shot anyway.
As long as there isn't so much blubber that you need to go on an expedition to find the more "interesting" body parts... Oh, and the mold on the skin.... ewwww!

Definately, don't be satisfied with a face-pic, ask for a full body pic... or at least from the waist up.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153784)

There are way much more variation between "normal bodied" and "morbidly obese". The latter is what you describe.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153168)

*claps*

Bravo, sir. Well said. In the future though, please provide a warning before being hysterically funny. Mechanical pencil...

Me and my now soda-covered monitor thank you.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153424)

Similar to that hot chick you have been chatting up for months online... when she told you "I am a little big, but cute", deep down, you know she is a cross between a human and a hippo, but when you finally meet her, you want to dig your eyes out with a mechanical pencil.
That's why, first thing you do, you ask for a recent pic.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153488)

And if you're lucky, you'll get a FGAS.

If you're not lucky, you'll get a real pic.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (0, Offtopic)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153550)

And if you're lucky, you'll get a FGAS.
If she sends you an outright fake, it will be that much easier to tell her off when you finally do meet her in person.

If you're not lucky, you'll get a real pic.
Well, that way, you at least avoid losing any further time dating a hippo. ... and you keep those coffee stains off your clothes...

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153590)

..at a perpendicular angle, showing the entire body, with good lighting, not off of a mirror, with a decent lens. The whales have photo deception down to an art. Angle shot of a head and chest = MAN THE HARPOONS.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (5, Funny)

nozzo (851371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153596)

yeah but in that case you would just switch the lights off and think of England

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (2, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152990)

"They're offering better support"

No, as per the quote they're offering a proprietary, non-free software product. Hence the criticism.

Note: I don't say they're evil for doing this, only that they're definitely "guilty" of it.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (3, Insightful)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153798)

"They're offering better support"
No, as per the quote they're offering a proprietary, non-free software product. Hence the criticism.

The proprietary, non-free software product is part of their "better support." Not all support is a monkey on the phone with an Indian accent going "Hi, my name is Mike, how may I help you?"

Most people would rather have a nice piece of software that helps them do a better job, than have to wait on the phone.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153000)

Also, they offer certification you can get. They make money on that, and companies can know they're getting some kind of standard for DBAs.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153210)

Like the wonderful standard for DBA's that MS sets with it's MCDBA qualifications? I've met MCDBAs who couldn't even write a simple SQL query with a couple joins. And don't even get me started on DBAs who couldn't give you a table schema based on a list of requirements of the data you'd like to store.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (4, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153404)

A DBA is not necessarily a database programmer and vice versa. I am a database programmer. I am *NOT* a DBA. I can write SQL statements, procedures, triggers, etc. better than most people who touch a database and yet, don't ask me to configure an Oracle database or set up replication in SQL Server (SQL Server being the pointy-clicky-draggy-droppy approach to administration, I could probably do it, but it isn't what I do and isn't what I profess to be able to do). An MCDBA is certified to do the pointy-clicky-draggy-droppy stuff, not to write database applications.

Granted, I think a DBA needs some understanding of what is done in the database (code wise), I don't expect him to be an expert in it.....that's my job.

Layne

*Disclaimer, I work in a large company where they can afford to have this division of labor. In a small company, people have to wear many hats and usually the person who wears the database programmer hat also has to wear the DBA hat (and probably the network engineer hat and a couple of others).

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153486)

I've met MCDBAs who couldn't even write a simple SQL query with a couple joins.
Just wait until your site gets goatsed, and then look into your webserver log for some nice examples. Usually it will be a join between the sysobjects and the syscolumns table...

And don't even get me started on DBAs who couldn't give you a table schema based on a list of requirements of the data you'd like to store.
Well, the upside of it is, a messy database schema might bore the goatse away. Like in "Hey, this is already the twentieth articles_text_37_xyz table that I see, when will the table that's displayed online finally come? O gosh, I think I'll just move on to the next google hit."

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

t1993r (1225498) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153350)

Yeah, they do. But, i don't think they can make enough revenue with support and certification that is more than 14 times the current. Maybe, its too early for me to say, but i think its a lousy buy for Sun.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153594)

I think everyone might be missing the point. How many people purchase low-end LAMP servers? Whether they be from hosting providers, or setup at home, LAMP is a well-known name in the industry.

Sun has OpenSolaris. Which so far has not quite caught on well enough to challenge LAMP dominance in the low-end of the market. Now imagine if Sun started shipping fully supported SAMP (Solaris Apache MySQL PHP) software distributions branded with "High Performance*, 64-bit Sun MySQL". If they can gain enough brand recognition this way, this free software could be their ticket into gaining more market share.

More market share on the low-end means more mind share with the same developers and IT folks who keep forgetting that Sun exists. If Sun can become de facto, they can probably own the low-end, mid-range, and high-end of the market rather than constantly retreating to the ever-shrinking Big Iron market. (Maybe people will even notice that Sun makes extremely affordable Intel machines?)

* Expect Sun to announce the "fastest database ever" by tuning MySQL for their Niagara processors, turning off all transactional safety, and then running benchmarks against the system. With any luck, these semi-valid benchmarks would earn Sun some goodwill for having "improved" MySQL. The double-edged sword here is that Sun would get a reputation for performance with those who don't understand that Niagara is a key component AND Sun would sell more Niagara servers to those who DO understand that Niagara is a key component.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153128)

Haven't we always said that the rationale behind open source is you can offer the product for free, then offer paid support?

We've always said that there are business models that can be successful when the software is given away for free. Paid support is one model, is part of other models. There are also business models that will not be successful regardless of the software licensing.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153146)

They're offering better support
I get the feeling we will soon see a preconfigured Sun server running Solaris, some JSP container (tomcat? or does Sun make their own?) and MySQL. A one shot, configured out of the box, web server. Plan on growing? We can handle that for you. Database bogging you down? You can buy a separate database server and we can help you migrate the existing database. Pages rendering to slow? Lets get your JSP container clustered over several servers.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153264)

some JSP container (tomcat? or does Sun make their own?)

Meet Glassfish:

https://glassfish.dev.java.net/ [java.net]

Sun produces a commercial version under the confusing title of "Sun Java System Application Server". (Sun seriously needs to fire their marketing department. :-/) It's worlds away better than Tomcat; which is really a straightforward development server. SJSAS/Glassfish will serve you better in a production environment than Tomcat will. It's also integrated with Netbeans (in a way that actually works!) making it a suprisingly good, if not a bit hefty, development environment.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153196)

The article is also missing one other important fact related to this statement:

It appears though that the additional features of the Enterprise version are not enough to compensate for the revenue-destroying effects of the free Community alternative. What else could explain the surprising fact that MySQL has quietly filled out its open source portfolio with a closed source proprietary management software tool known as Enterprise Software Monitor?"

Customers don't pay for MySQL professional because it's not that great of a database. As a "free" option, there's tons of support for it. It was seen early on as "the" database for OSS work. As a result, nearly every OSS tool in existence is built around MySQL.

However, if we're talking about someone looking to pay for support, we're probably talking about a business of some sort. And for businesses, features like ANSI syntax, transactions, reliability, scalability, tools, familiarity to the DBAs, and a strong reputation for customer service are all factors that play into their decision. Why would they purchase MySQL when options like SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Informix, Pervasive, Teradata, and half a dozen other RDBMSes with stronger reputations in the market are available?

While MySQL has made great strides in their progress toward becoming a competitor in the Enterprise market, it's a bit of an uphill battle that they're going to have a hard time winning. The market sees MySQL as an OSS toy that children play with before they grow up and use a REAL database. Changing that perception is going to be hard.

Worse yet, it's a race against time before powerful new competitors like Apache Derby (formerly Cloudscape) start pushing MySQL out of the market.

That being said, I wish I invented an "OSS toy". A billion dollars as compensation sounds like a rather sweet deal. ;-)

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (2, Insightful)

canuck57 (662392) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153460)

Customers don't pay for MySQL professional because it's not that great of a database. As a "free" option, there's tons of support for it. It was seen early on as "the" database for OSS work. As a result, nearly every OSS tool in existence is built around MySQL.

Bet though this will spike PostgreSQL support in FOSS applications. A good under rated database.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153544)

A good under rated database.

Too right. The only gripe I have with Postgres is that it's only relatively recently that the development team has started to take performance seriously and getting it running as fast as is humanly possible on the available hardware can be a bit of a black art.

Mind you, Postgres tends to take a serious approach to data integrity, so this is a tradeoff I'm prepared to live with.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

gullevek (174152) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153662)

yeah, but when I look back at the speed jump from 7.4 to 8.1 then I am blown away. This is so big and so surprising that even my low spec test box ran circles around my development box which again ran circles around my production box.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153498)

(This post was brought to you via /.'s MySQL database)

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153768)

How easily you forget [slashdot.org] . Slashdot's "scalability" has more to do with Slashcode and ever-improving hardware than it does with--

500 Internal Server Error

(refresh)

500 Internal Server Error

(refresh)

Front Page - Logged Out

(reply)

500 Internal Server Error

GAAAAHHHHH!!!!

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153500)

"reliability, scalability" Well wikipedia runs on it .... and that seems to scale quite well and be fairly reliable ?

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153650)

The market sees MySQL as an OSS toy that children play with before they grow up and use a REAL database.
... as opposed to MS SQL Server, which is seen as a proprietary toy that script kiddies play with in order to leave their favorite graffiti and/or porn on some random DB driven web server...

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (2, Informative)

epiphani (254981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153220)

Not only that - if MySQL offered "truly" enterprise grade support, we'd probably buy it.

As it stands now, we can buy the top tier of support, and not really get what we're looking for out of it.

We want them to send in experienced engineers, and work with us to build a clusterable solution that suits our needs - which in our case is not the type of solution that most people envision with clustering mysql. Paying $3500 a year per machine is not what we have in mind. We're willing to spend a large amount of money, but we want support for our COMPANY, not a per-machine cost.

I see MySQL as a company that does not yet service the enterprise. They service the small and medium business. Its quite possible that with Sun behind them, they'll figure out how to actually service a company like mine.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153524)

I think the point was that they aren't making any kind of profit at all.

Re:Why should this be a surprise? (1)

krelian (525362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153704)

Haven't we always said that the rationale behind open source is you can offer the product for free, then offer paid support? Why is it every time someone actually implements this, they're criticized?
Because it (usually ) doesn't work, and when it does (usually) a pay model would have secured a much bigger profit.

Mudslums Misteat Women (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22152748)

If I was a Mudslum woman, I would leave my oppressive religion.

As it is I hate their Mudslum oppressers.

Fuck Mudslums and Islamofascism.

Re:Mudslums Misteat Women (0, Troll)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153312)

Please chemically castrate yourself, or jump off of a tall building before you have a chance to reproduce. Thanks.

Maybe it is not about Sun making money (3, Interesting)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152750)

How can an open source software company with $70 million or so in revenue and no profits to speak of be worth $1 billion?

This is where you have to think outside of the box. There are some [webpronews.com] who believe that Sun may simply be the pawn of Oracle. Oracle could not buy MySQL directly because of anti-trust issues etc.. Not to mention, Sun and Oracle have been "strategic partners" for a very long time. However, another company could purchase MySQL to kill it off.

I am not saying this is exactly what happend, but I do think the above author and Dvorak [marketwatch.com] make some good points. Disclaimer: IANADF - I am not a Dvorak fan :)

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152838)

This is where you have to think outside of the box. There are some who believe that Sun may simply be the pawn of Oracle. Oracle could not buy MySQL directly because of anti-trust issues etc.. Not to mention, Sun and Oracle have been "strategic partners" for a very long time.
Don't believe everything you read on the Web. There's bad blood between Sun and Oracle right now over Oracle doing their own Red Hat-based Linux. Oracle's long-term strategy is to try to get most of its customers on Oracle Linux. They don't want to be beholden to any platform companies, especially not Sun.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

TheLinuxSRC (683475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153030)

I agree with everything you say, but I think MySQL has been a thorn in the side of Oracle much more so than Redhat or Sun ever could be. This could just be a stepping stone for Oracle (if any of what I read is true in the first place :).

I think it is important to remember that Oracle could never have bought MySQL (legal/political reasons; not because they could not afford it); yet Oracle would love nothing more than to see MySQL die.

I sincerely hope that this is not the case - I use MySQL daily. This is just food for thought. Not too mention, you can never truly kill MySQL; it is GPL'd!

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153708)

I agree with everything you say, but I think MySQL has been a thorn in the side of Oracle much more so than Redhat or Sun ever could be. This could just be a stepping stone for Oracle (if any of what I read is true in the first place :).
It seems I have to be a bit more explicit. Now extrapolate what you just said with I what I said and draw some conclusions.

See it? (No peaking at the next paragraph until you think about it for yourself for a second.) ...

Sun bought MySQL precisely because it is a thorn in Oracle's side. They won't want it to go away, they want it to continue being a thorn in Oracle's side.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153740)

I think it is important to remember that Oracle could never have bought MySQL (legal/political reasons; not because they could not afford it);
Mm. Not really. There is tons of competition out there in the marketplace; there really would not have been any legal or political complications at all. If Oracle didn't buy it, it's because they didn't want it or didn't feel it was worth the exorbitant pricetag; or because MySQL didn't want to sell to them. Any kind of financial support to Sun would be documented in both companies' SEC filings, which I'll bet don't show anything of the sort - especially not to the tune of hundreds of millions or a billion dollars.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22152872)

You mean kill off commercial support though right? The second the old enterprise services offered by MySQL AB stop, other people will pick up the niche opening in the market. Remember MySQL is released under the GPL, and is used by millions of people and companies.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152934)

Remember MySQL is released under the GPL
Right, all of it including the client libaries are. What that means is is you want to use it in propietry apps you have to buy a license.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (4, Informative)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153104)

What that means is is you want to use it in propietry apps you have to buy a license.
Or release your own code to the GPL.... Which is completely fair.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153346)

Small correction, if you want to distribute proprietary apps, you have to buy a license. If it's something you run yourself, say a website, I don't think you have to distribute the source.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (5, Funny)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152908)

WITPOUAATTDIKPWIWNBUITSEA - What is the point of using ad-hoc acronym, then to dereference it, knowing perfectly well it will never be used in that sense ever again?

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153828)

WITPOUAATTDIKPWIWNBUITSEA - What is the point of using ad-hoc acronym, then to dereference it, knowing perfectly well it will never be used in that sense ever again?
HCYBSC? (How can you be so certain?)

IANADF. :-P

Back Inside the Box (3, Interesting)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153170)

TFA: "Sun would have to grow MySQL's revenues to $500 million per year to bring it into sync with the purchase price"

That's a 7X increase, no small potatoes, but if Sun is thinking long term (esp., hopefully, w/r/t international markets), I don't think this is as unlikely as the article writer seems to.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (4, Insightful)

theManInTheYellowHat (451261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153188)

I can not believe that the reason for paying a very large sum of money for an Open Source company, just to kill it, would be the motivation.

Suppose that were the case and this morning all the download areas of MySql were gone. There was no way to get the software besides paying for it, and then make it worse, it cost a large sum money.

Don't you think that someone would take the source that is out in the wild and fork it off to make another Open Source product? It is included in several large distros, the source is scattered all over the net. I do not think that it is killable.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (2, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153224)

First of all, who is to say that there would be any anti-trust issues with Oracle purchasing MySQLAB ? It's not like the AOL/Time-Warner merger where you had two massive corporations that both had a huge stake in media markets. Oracle has a lot of competition from IBM, Microsoft etc. And MySQLAB is hardly a big company. It would be like Microsoft purchasing any other small potato. Yes the community version of MySQL is used quite a bit but do you really think the US government would give a shit about Oracle (a fairly large company but not any kind of monopoly by any standards) purchasing a relatively small potato like MySQLAB ?

And secondly, while a company could buy MySQL and kill off the proprietary offerings, that wouldn't help them much in the market place because you can't kill off the community version. Too many people depend on the community version of MySQL. It's not always safe to assume that the community will pick up and revive a "dead" project, but in the case of MySQL it pretty much is. It would be like any other fork of very popular software such as XFree86 -> Xorg and GCC -> EGCS. Not the exact same circumstances in those cases but similar and the point is that when enough people use and depend on the software and find that the controlling factor in that software is headed in a direction that's not in the best interest of the community there will almost certainly be developers who will fork and keep it going because they, like, need it and stuff.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153604)

yeah, sun will kill it off, just like they did to star office.

Look, there is no way for Sun to kill it off. As others pointed out, it is GPL. In fact, I am guessing that other companies will spring up to offer support over the next year. Besides, this is schwartz, not McNealy. I would not put it past McNealy to do this, but schwartz is not into games. He has been a straight-up player. McNealy is the idiot who invested into SCO in hopes of killing Linux and certainly hurting it. It probably did hurt Linux to a degree, but it hurt Sun more once it was found out that they were playing these games (in spite of what the sun fanbois say).

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1)

kilgortrout (674919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153722)

This is where you have to think outside of the box.
No offense, but that's where I stopped reading. Anyone that's ever said that to me(generally management type weasels) have been so hopelessly trapped in the box, they couldn't find their way out with a compass and a boy scout. For the love of God, find a new metaphor for original thinking.

Re:Maybe it is not about Sun making money (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153738)

Sun and Oracle are kind of strange strategic partners since Oracle is now completely pushing Linux (particularly their "Unbreakable" Linux) as the Os of choice for their database, to the point of releasing Oracle 11 for Linux several months before releasing it for any other platform, and for only providing some of their major value add tools (OCFS2, for example) for Linux. Oracle databases used to be the balliwick of Sun's SPARC and Solaris.

Same could be said for others (1)

PowerEdge (648673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152764)

Such as VMW and XenSource and every ORCL acquisition. It's the potential that the companies and investors are buying.

Mod article -1, Troll (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152776)

MySQL doesn't make money by enticing the customers with the 'extra bells and whistles' of MySQL Enterprise. They make money because companies who base any important part of their IT infrastructure on MySQL or any open source product will want to pay for support. It's the same reason companies pay for RedHat or SuSE. Who has better support for an open source product than the developer of that product?

Re:Mod article -1, Troll (4, Insightful)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153186)

Actually, it has less to do with support and more to do with the fact that companies that develop commercial, proprietary, closed-source applications using MySQL are required to purchase MySQL Enterprise if they want to use MySQL. Otherwise, they have to look to completely free alternatives, such as PostgreSQL.

There are certainly customers that adopt MySQL Enterprise purely for the support, but I believe the majority of customers are using MySQL Enterprise for commercial purposes because they have no other choice if they wish to adopt the MySQL platform.

Re:Mod article -1, Troll (1)

raynet (51803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153534)

If they use MySQL via ODBC, JDBC whatnot and don't include the MySQL client libraries in their code, I don't think they need to get the commercial license. For example, Extensis Portfolio SQL Server on Windows uses MSSQL and on Mac it uses MySQL, but it doesn't ship with MySQL. It uses ODBC and the manual just says you need to get and install MySQL to use the product.

Free software, Paid Support (-1, Redundant)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152788)

Free software, Paid Support

Does this really require yet another discussion?

MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (2, Insightful)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152996)

Free software *which is painful as hell to use*, paid support. If your software is well-documented, configuration is easy, and it isn't effectively broken in important respects... what do you need support for, again?

Re:MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (2)

slashpot (11017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153148)

Because MySQL works great for small to medium businesses... you can even grow to fairly decent size with MySQL's cripped master/master multi-slave abilities.... and then when all of your companies architecture is built around the brain dead way you have to scale the MySQL backend - and you start hitting bottleneck's that even massive EMC san storage can't fix - well - then some suit thinks its a good idea to switch to the Enterprise version to get the support you "need"... and after you pay for it the consultants will tell you your screwed you have to change your architecture - but can't tell you how so it will scale any larger than what you've already got - and then they'll hide behind MySQL's immaturity and avoid an direct statements to reinforce what your sys admins have been screaming for years - go Oracle or DB2 - but oops - too late ... and then you have disastrous fallout that kills the small to medium business that saved a few bucks back in the day but starting on MySQL.

But screw it - MySQL got there money in the process.

Re:MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (2)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153538)

Why not just start with the SQL Server free version.....it scales all the way to SQL Server Enterprise with no code changes.......all you get are extra features as you progress up the scale. It's a standard, supported system. There is tons of information on using it.

Oh wait, I know.....It doesn't run on Linux, so everyone here will trash it.

Layne

Re:MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (2, Insightful)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153228)

what do you need support for, again?

Because the vast majority of corporations don't want to be solely dependent on "Harry the IT guy" and want to have a responsible party to address issues that may arise. If you are a middle manager in charge of a solution based on some software, and that software starts misbehaving, you want to put "working with XXX support to resolve" in your executive summary, regardless of who actually ends up fixing the problem (and regardless of who actually caused the problem).

Re:MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (2, Informative)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153292)

This is a common misconception that a lot of people seem to have. When they equate support with phoning up a tech guy to get help with their laptop not booting etc.

Companies get support contracts for various purposes. In some cases you might need to talk to a development team about adding a feature. Good luck if you're not paying for that kind of level of support. You might also need to have the product deployed across 500 servers and you need to brainstorm with the company's technicians about the best way to do that effectively. Oh and if something does break, if a bug is found etc. it is always nice for your own IT department to be able to get a support rep, developer or technician on the phone at 2:30am on a Sunday morning when your critical sites are down and costing you money by the second etc.

Re:MySQL forgot the important part of the equation (1)

paskie (539112) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153418)

You need support for:

(i) Non-obvious usage issues. No documentation is perfect and you might need to do something obscure that isn't well documented, and want to be told how to do it.

(ii) Bugs. If you are depending on MySQL and discover some nasty bug, you need the vendor to fix it and fix it soon. This is the major reason why companies purchase support.

Java (5, Interesting)

ForexCoder (1208982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152844)

He misses the most obvious way of making Mysql pay and that is Java. If Sun goes down the same route that Microsoft is with Sql Server/.NET and integrates Java into Mysql, Sun gets a powerful new platform for the enterprise.

Re:Java (2, Funny)

slashpot (11017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153054)

Integrate java into MySQL?

Oh god. Someone shoot me.

Re:Java (1)

bluFox (612877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153378)

It might be useful and faster than java in the Desktop for the reason that you can make do with a single (or pooled) JVM(s) on the database (which starts up once and stays there.) Pretty similar to servlet model. So the slow and memmory hungry model will not apply.

Re:Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153102)

Except for the minor problem that MySQL isn't written in Java.
There are full Java RDBMSes out there which would be a better fit. Probably cheaper to acquire aswell.

Re:Java (1)

bluFox (612877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153412)

It does not need to be written in java, you can instanciate a pool of JVMs on the db and use it (the same way native webservers allow servlets on them.) This is the model followed by oracle who also support java stored procedures.

Re:Java (1)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153742)

Except for the minor problem that MySQL isn't written in Java.

I don't see how this is a problem. Embedding C/C++ stuff in Java is quite easy.

Re:Java (0, Troll)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153510)


If Sun goes down the same route that Microsoft is with Sql Server/.NET and integrates Java into Mysql, Sun gets a powerful new platform for the enterprise.

So a crappy database server with some Java tacked on somewhere? No thanks. Microsoft has the advantage the SQL Server is actually a good database. If I wanted to choose something open source, I'd just pick postgresql, as it's a hell of a lot closer to the Oracle/SQL Server class of products.

Can Sun Make MySQL Pay? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22152928)

Those bastards!

Sun will make MySQL pay. Boy, will they pay!

Mindshare (5, Interesting)

soxos (614545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22152986)

I've pondered this as well. What makes Youtube worth ~1.5 billion? Certainly not the technology. Sun has bought developer mindshare. When you think MySQL now, you're going to associate it with Sun. As long as they don't destroy it, it will reflect well on a company that, till now, has been floundering.

According to Torvald's biography, Linus walked out of a meeting in the 90's that Sun had called with the open-source community because the license they were introducing didn't pass his muster. It is interesting to see Sun coming around.

Of course, I could be totally wrong and we could be looking at a storm on the horizon.

Re:Mindshare (0)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153272)

it will reflect well on a company that, till now, has been floundering

I'm sorry, how do you define floundering [google.com] ??

Re:Mindshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153528)

From the page you linked to:

Sunoco, Inc. (Sunoco) operates through its subsidiaries, as a petroleum refiner and marketer, and chemicals manufacturer with interests in logistics and cokemaking. The Company's petroleum refining and marketing operations include the manufacturing and marketing of a range of petroleum products, including fuels, lubricants and petrochemicals. Sunoco's chemical operations comprise the manufacturing, distribution and marketing of commodity and intermediate petrochemicals. The petroleum refining and marketing, and chemicals and logistics operations are conducted principally in the eastern half of the United States. Sunoco's cokemaking operations are conducted in Virginia, Indiana and Ohio. The Company operates in five business segments: Refining and Supply, Retail Marketing, Chemicals, Logistics and Coke.

Perhaps you meant Sun Microsystems? [google.com]

Re:Mindshare (1)

retzkek (1002769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153564)

Um, you might want to try this one [google.com] instead.

Re:Mindshare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153682)

Certainly not by pointing to the ticker SUN, which is Sunoco (historically called the Sun Oil Company of Ohio) a petroleum and petrochemical company. Which is vastly different from Sun Microsystems (ticker: JAVA), a maker of computer systems and software.

Value has nothing to do with it... (-1, Troll)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153034)

How is it a company like AAPL at 200 had a higher valuation than a company like Walmart?

The answer is that you only need a sucker to pay such astronomic values. Oh, wait Apple is trading at 137... Hmmm, a 40% drop, and only 20% drop in NASDAQ...

Re:Value has nothing to do with it... (1)

beezly (197427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153466)

Try looking at market cap instead;

WMT: nearly 200 Billion.
AAPL: nearly 120 Billion.

Comparisons between individual share value are pretty meaningless.

Re:Value has nothing to do with it... (2, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153630)

P/E.....P/E.

Apple's P/E is way out of whack (30's when most everyone else is teens to 20's). If the NASDAQ / DOW / S&P falls, those with higher P/E's fall faster.

http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NYSE%3AWMT [google.com]
http://finance.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:AAPL [google.com]

Layne

Re:Value has nothing to do with it... (1)

greg1104 (461138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153770)

If the NASDAQ / DOW / S&P falls, those with higher P/E's fall faster.


That isn't necessarily true, as stocks aren't traded based strictly on P/E. The figure for how volatile a stock's price is relative to the market at large is the stock's beta. That's what tracks how fast it's expected to rise/fall relative to the market at large.

From the reports you linked to, Wal-Mart's beta is 0.25. Apple's is 1.6.

Obvious answer: They are buying influence (1)

zig007 (1097227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153176)

Sun is buying direct influence over millions of websites through owning the database product that powers them.
And maybe even more importantly they establish a customer relation with their owners.
That's half a sale right there, or at least a direct channel.

I am not saying it comes at a bargain price, though...

I didn't go to business school, but... (4, Funny)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153242)

Jeff Gould presents an interesting analysis in Interop News: How can an open source software company with $70 million or so in revenue and no profits to speak of be worth $1 billion? That's the question Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been trying to answer since he bought MySQL last week.
Wouldn't it seem like a good idea to answer those questions BEFORE spending a billion dollars?

Re:I didn't go to business school, but... (1)

PinkPanther (42194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153368)

I'm going to guess that one or two people at Sun DID think this through, they just forgot to fill Jeff Gould in on the details so he didn't have to do any thinking before writing his article.

Yes Jeff, Jonny Schwartz spent $1B and THEN he started trying to figure out what to do with it.

Re:I didn't go to business school, but... (4, Informative)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153496)

Quoting Schwartz's blog [sun.com] :

Where are the revenue synergies?

The more interesting question is "where aren't the synergies?" Wherever MySQL is deployed, whether the user is paying for software support or not, a server will be purchased, along with a storage device, networking infrastructure - and over time, support services on high value open platforms. Last I checked, we have products in almost all those categories.



In addition, the single biggest impediment to MySQL's growth wasn't the feature set of their technology - which is perfectly married to planetary scale in the on-line/web world. The biggest impediment was that some traditional enterprises wanted a Fortune 500 vendor ("someone in a Gartner magic quadrant") to provide enterprise support. Good news, we can augment MySQL's great service team with an extraordinary set of service professionals across the planet - and provide global mission critical support to the biggest businesses on earth.




So yeah, he's got an idea for the answer, but the author of the TFA knew he didn't have a story if he had read the entire blog entry :-P

I think the idea that people will go "hey, that sun mysql worked out pretty well for us. let's go over to sun.com and see what else they have." isn't a bad one. I think the real kicker will be support. Have some random problem in mysql that's killing you? Pay for an incident with Sun support, and the customer could be well satisfied with what they get back. They like the idea of having a vendor that will actually fix things for you, and suddenly you look at other stuff sun sells that you could get support for.

To put it in perspective, I've got a sun desktop machine (nothing fancy, an amd box that was a lot cheaper than my macbook pro) and it was getting a harmless error message. I put in a support call to sun. Until the issue's fixed (they want me to upgrade the firmware), they've been stalking me to track the ticket. E-mails and voicemail messages ("Did you get a chance to upgrade that firmware yet?") more often than you'd get from a real-life stalker. These kids don't screw around with support. I'm kind of afraid of them for that.

But I'm sure that if you have a problem that's important, you'll appreciate the dedication.

I'm sure there's a lot to be said about companies trusting mysql more now that a big company like sun's behind them, but I'm still in academia, so I donno how much of a factor that is. Probably lots.

OS config in DB (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153302)

I have always thought that most of the OS config should be moved to a proper networked DB. Much better scalability, consistant API, Security etc. That along with bundled content management seems like the right direction to be going.

cheapskates (2, Insightful)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153316)

Perhaps it wants a db it can install for all the cheapskates who buy their hardware but don't want to fork out for an expensive db.

Re:cheapskates (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153384)

Perhaps it wants a db it can install for all the cheapskates who buy their hardware but don't want to fork out for an expensive db.

Well tough - we use PostgreSQL already!

Maybe it's worth the money indirectly (1)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153332)

Maybe they won't make profit from MySQL directly. But being able to bundle it and support it could mean more sales of sun solutions with an integrated database vs. paying for oracle licenses. Just a thought.

So wait... (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153362)

What is the enterprise management utility? Is it like the enterprise manager in oracle? In which case I'm all for it. MySQL is amazing even in its "free" incarnation, and everything you need to manage it can be done with either front ends or from the command line. However if there is a supported manager utility like in Oracle, I think it'd totally be worth the purchase - ESPECIALLY if its as useful as the oracle one. Sun is a company who has made a ton of strides towards working with the open source community, but first and foremost they are a company.

AAPL losing ANOTHER 30 Today SELL SELL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153376)



AAPL losing ANOTHER 30 Today !!

SELL

SELL

SELL

Accountability maybe another thing... (1)

citizenklaw (767566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153416)

A while back I remember I had a conversation with a manager guy I used to work with about OSS software. We were talking in particular about Linux, but I'd guess it would apply to MySQL. He said that companies don't go for OSS because they'd have no one to sue and/or hold accountable if the software fails. Not his literal words, but it went something like that. This makes some sense, in a twisted sort of way. I'm not a licensing expert, but how many companies enter this sort of agreement? Big guys? SAP, Oracle?

Simple: Niagara (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22153432)

How can Sun sell enough hardware to justify this purchase? What if they have a platform that (should a major database vendor optimize their implementation for that platform) has a significant advantage over any other platform?

Databases are one of the most common applications that need lots and lots of concurrent threads.

And Sun has a unique platform that provides that support: Niagara Optimizations for MySQL [tweakers.net] and a list of other cases in Sun's performance contest [sun.com]

Sun will make money off of MySQL IF... (1)

mbaGeek (1219224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153518)

My guess is that Sun is going to "optimize" MySQL for their hardware - then they will be able to "bundle" MySQL software/Sun hardware

Sun will make a profit by selling more hardware - I don't know how long it will take to make 1 billion dollars (insert evil laugh) but at least it sounds like a good decision

Can Sun Make MySQL grow up? (1)

oni (41625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153586)

MySQL is great, don't get me wrong. I used to poopoo it when they didn't have foreign keys, but now it seems fairly mature.

But the name. Oh my god, the name. Anything with "my" in front of it sounds like the intended audience is a four year old. "it's mine! my computer. my space. my toybox! I'm special. This is mine!"

I always feel like an idiot when I say it.

its even worse for me (3, Informative)

Phantom of the Opera (1867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153794)

I can't see it or say any other way than "My Squirrel"

Building a truly Enterprise competitor to Oracle (1, Flamebait)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153684)

I have to agree with other comments so far. MySQL has built its business on charging $3500 here and there for "Enterprise" support. They have also made a big push to sell their MySQL Cluster based on NDB. Unfortunately, NDB doesn't work for about 99% of the systems out there. That hasn't stopped them from selling it to customers that don't need it or can't use it.

In terms of their other high availability solutions, they are mostly hacks. Their multi-master replication option uses an auto-increment offset workaround to keep inserts from stomping on each other, but this isn't without its problems, also, recovery isn't easy. Their cluster solution uses DRBD and Heartbeat to compete with things like Veritas Cluster Server, it's okay but it's really not innovate, it's another patchwork of technologies. Finally, Without point-in-time recovery through the use of something like rollback logs, it's highly dubious to put anything requiring truly ACID type compliance on MySQL.

Sun needs to put resources into plugging all these holes. If they can fix the major shortcomings with NDB, and get cluster to work for more people, they may actually have a hugely successful "enterprise" offering.

hmmmm didn't the ceo swear they wouldn't do this? (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22153700)

I seem to recall asking the CEO about this when he came on to discuss the company going public. At that time he said they wouldn't be selling or allowing the company to be bought out. I always preferred mysql as my open sql database but if this is managed like Sun manages openoffice then I'll be moving to another platform.
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