A call to arms!

With Oracle Corporation purchasing InnoBase, the company providing the InnoDB Storage Engine, and now reliable rumors of the acquisition of SleepyCat, the BDB Storage Engine, both key transactional storage engines for MySQL are effectively owned by a competitor.

While the is a strange and probably unchartered territory for both organisations, I’m personally concerned. I use InnoDB extensively, however if there was a comparable alternative within MySQL I’d consider switching out of principle. Is Oracle purchasing these organisations a bad thing? We don’t know. That’s the problem. While MySQL will undoubtly continue to provide these storage engines as part of the MySQL Database I believe a call to arms is needed.

It’s true that Oracle helped more general adoption of Linux when it announced this as it’s primary platform some years back. I’m sure with a middleware suite such as JBoss this will benefit from Oracle’s exposure, but will it benefit in it’s development? Will funding for development skew the product torwards what Oracle wants, not the community? Even things such as BerkleyDB being embedded in Open Office, and Google wanting to spend into the refinement of Open Office for possible web services options just makes you wonder whats happening. I’m on holiday’s trying to relax, and not do any reading, developing or communicating, but the one thing that makes my mind turn is, why is Oracle doing this?

My concerns are: look what happened to the acquired big commercial competitors, the PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards. Now, it’s a little difficult with the Open Source software, but I’m no licence expert. While it will continue to be available in current licencing options, I’m sure there has to be some concerns. Even something trivial like, all MySQL downloads that include these engines must first be registered on the website, and all these statistics must go to Oracle. Can they do this? I have no idea, but what if they could.

I’m sure internally in MySQL AB there are plans afoot for alternative transactional storage engines. The pluggable nature of these within MySQL makes it easy to move in this direction. I think sometimes, some functionality is kept close to heart, and you only here about it when some actual work is released.

I’m interested to guage reaction to see if a public working group should be setup to specifically tackle the issue of an independent transactional storage engine. Are there others out there that feel the same way I do. Now let me be clear, I’m not anti Oracle, infact rather pro Oracle, but I’m very anti Microsoft. If it was Microsoft buying these companies how would people react?

In my opinion this should be a bold announcement from MySQL now. In stating the development and release of a new Transactional Storage Engine this year, and then not evening mentioning InnoDB and BDB, they are downplaying the Oracle buy in, and emphasising a true Open Source Company option. In no means say they are no longer supporting InnoDB and BDB, but if the media exposure from MySQL continues to mention them, then it’s going to bleed into some reference back to Oracle.

I can’t contribute to the actual development in C++, if it was Java that would be a different matter, but as I move more away from hardcore coding there are plenty of other areas in which I could contribute.


  1. Paul_McCullagh says

    Hi Roland,

    I am wondering if you can contact me directly to discuss your proposal of a public working group for an independent transactional storage engine. My e-mail add is paul.mccullagh(at)primebase.com.

    You see, by an incredible coincidence I started developing a new transactional database engine (called PBXT) for MySQL at the beginning of last year. Well it has taken me this long, but the engine is now almost finished.

    I can demonstrate it working with MySQL 4.1.16.

    The engine is fast: the performance lies between the performance of InnoDB and MyISAM and is optimized for high-concurrency. I have packed quite a bit of experience into this development (I have done database core development for 16 years), and some _really_ new ideas for transactional systems.

    There is still quite a bit of work to be done (in particular – testing), but I still think the time is right to make this development public. This is, my very first announcement!

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best regards,

    Paul McCullagh


  1. […] A few months ago I wrote an article A call to arms!. In some part, I was just giving my opinion and hoping to gee up some support and feedback from the community. Well, the MySQL 5 Pluggable Storage Architecture got a great boost with announcements of transactional storage engines Falcon by Jim Starkey, Solid and PBXT. Add details of InnoDB New Features, MyISAM additions, and indications of other wonderful if not entirely practical options. I’m sure there is much more in stall to come this year that wasn’t discussed. […]