MySQL & Sun

I have been noticeably absent on my comments in this topic, something I was pinged about yet again today by another colleague.
Did I have nothing to say? No. It’s just I’ve not been able to say much, or actually do anything in the past 7 days due to strong bought of the flu which has kept me in bed near 5 days straight (coincidently aligning perfectly with MySQL’s recent ACM. Go figure that luck).

So what are my thought’s here. (Ok, I’m going to waffle a bit with my point of view, but my key technical points for those of you that just want that, scroll down to the next section heading)

Overall I believe it’s a good thing, on the surface and at the moment. As mentioned MySQL was on an IPO path, I’d would have liked the option to buy my own MySQL shares, be part of a company that got to that point (have worked for 2 failed startup Internet companies previously). I think there would have been many a proud MySQL employee,ex-employee, and user that day, and that’s a shame for the pinnacle victory of Open Source, to become something of worth, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but be tempted by the fruits enroute. MySQL, like every startup has investors, they have invested in MySQL for quite some time, I’d think probably up to 10 years now, they obviously want their money too.

But the market out there has many larger players, those less understanding of Open Source, more of the corporate giants with larger shares $15 Billion in RDBMS revenues, and willing to either run over, or kill off a smaller weaker competitor by $ size. There has been some press saying it’s a a bad thing, Sun is dead, what a waste of money etc. If Sun did not purchase MySQL I’m sure there was a line that would. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to think of names such as IBM, Microsoft & Oracle. All competitors ironically. One mentioned that was interesting was Yahoo? Had not thought of that, but in that line of thought, would Google do good, or evil.

I’ve worked more closely with Sun equipment in 2007. Indeed my longest engagement and Californian Client recently mentioned in the press as co customer of Sun & MySQL was a very tough engagement stressing both Solaris 10 and MySQL 5 (with custom built binary). (1) Stressing me too very much, regardless of the New York to San Francisco each week for a decent time. I was exposed to Dtrace, I was exposed to zero skills in MySQL, well perhaps one, but he would not return phone calls or emails, that’s just plain unprofessional even to a colleague. I was exposed the warts of legal not allowing me to get Sun help on DTrace even when that was offered by sUN and was to the clear benefit of MySQL. Luckily cooler heads, weeks (more then we had) and a lot of pain prevailed on this said point, but to my point, what a darn unnecessary pain to start with.

I see more of Sun around. I know of other consulting clients (of course we can’t mention), other large sites of Community collegues, e.g. Fotolog are Sun, be it MySQL 4.x days however. I’ve heard the Sun/MySQL relationship is not that good, that MySQL doesn’t work as well on Sun as it could, that there are clear performance gains that can be made under the Solaris OS.

And historically, I stated working with SUN in the early 90s, it might be good to return after my time with SunOS before there was Solaris. I think Solaris started at 2.5.

(1) I mention custom built binary because many people don’t realize, there are actually three paths of getting features into MySQL. Both the Community and Enterprise path are subject to Engineering and the constraints of “Feature Freeze” for example. A Custom built binary, can include a specific feature or features into a supported version of MySQL just for you. MySQL Professional Services has dedicate staff that work in these areas. Our consulting offerings are listed here

My Key Points (Some personal)

  • Access to a benchmarking group, that’s gotta help. MySQL Inc the company has a number of shortcomings, and little movement to excite me, this is one of them. I’m sure Sun will want to provide MySQL this detail, and this can only be a key strength. (Sun people reading this, I want to help)
  • Access to H/W. Ok, so I can’t get any benchmark results out of MySQL, I can’t even get access to several consistent machines to test stuff myself anyway (as if I had that time), but if I’d got allocated a few days a month of dedicated access to a bank of services I’d sure use it. Especially in the area of RAID performance, LVM/SAN Backup & Recovery. (Again Sun people, pick me, I especially want just a dedicated server to test multiple performance tests with different RAID configurations, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, provide figures of how long to recover a degraded system under load. Want the same under a SAN, but that become more political.
  • Access to Dtrace resources. I see this tool as key in my next level of internal knowledge of the server. This will grant me better access to resources, Luckily my Macbook with 10.5 also has Dtrace, a recent new discovery, so that will make getting Solaris x86 Parallels VM a secondary priority. (Sun people listening, a Parallels/VMWare Solaris is on my wish list)
  • Access to facilities. I live in New York. While I have no desire to want to go into an office day by day, to know now I can, say have meeting a room, an area to work for a few days distracted etc, is golden, and a plus for a larger company.
  • Access to facilities for community events. This is gotta help or fledgling MySQL User Groups and MySQL Camp events. I really hope it can actually flow onto helping significantly in event organization taking the MySQL User Conference from it’s present limitations into bigger and better
  • Access to a better expense system. MySQL’s system sucks. Sorry, no other word for it. Scorn me later. I’m at a disadvantage over many other MySQLer’s, a) I’m one of the few that travel all the time, b) I’m of even less few that live and travel not in my country or origin and so I’m confined to the limitations of said countries financial systems. Specifically I own property in Australia, have 20K CC, can’t get a CC to cover a month’s expeneses here, actually can’t get them to cover a week (already have a few). I can’t use my Australian ones effectively here, two problems, one MySQL could never sought out how to cover my “additional expenses” and I was paying out $150 per month on my own dime, plus I had to physically go to a bank and physically transfer money to Australia (all under a magical $10K AUD limit). When you travel every week, and when I had a brutal travel schedule for a while I was not able to actually get to bank for three weeks.
  • If SUN doesn’t provide a corporate card, or handle expense of the two largest ticket items, airfares and accommodation, there will be hell to pay if I’m not re-reimbursed in very timely fashion. I have a corporate card with MySQL, a sore point actually, it took 12 months to get one, to no fault of my own.
  • Employment Visa. As I mentioned my live at MySQL is more complex then others, I work here in the US under the E3 visa, that is tied to an employer. This will need to change, and that I’m sure is no trivial task.
  • Changed Vacation Time (for the worse). MySQL has a very good Swedish Vacation policy, this goes. For an employee under 2 years my vacation time I hear is like a week less then 2+, and overall vacation time in general is less. They say more US based holidays and forced Christmas/New Year. I’m not the family guy, a day scattered here or there doesn’t work for me, I need blocks of time, the world is out there.
  • Java. My core programming expertize is Java. (sh/awk etc would argue a strong case). My strongest non-scripting language is Java, I’ve missed not being able to remain closer to application development, even stack technology, this may provide some opportunity where consulting engagements are MySQL and development related and I can refresh this skills. Going to another Java One again would be bonus :)
  • Additional Development/Testing Resources. Sun is a company 100 times the size of MySQL. Does this grant us dedicate resources that may be able to help the bleeding of MySQL. (Bleeding the time to market for features, quality therefore, and flexibility for growth). All things I consider still going backwards at MySQL. Additional procedures may make things worse, but MySQL I’m sure will remain a key different component for a long time.
  • Community I’m going to end my points on this. MySQL in my opinion does not do right by the community. I have some specific views I’ll be posting soon on this point. How will community function under SUN, will be allowed to thrive, or will it’s path be dictated as it is now, buy a sales and marketing driven focus. There are some things that need to change in MySQL, this is one of them. Will Marten Mickos, the present CEO the head of the MySQL group at Sun see this and have better direction in store. What I’d expect is to see Sales and Marketing be re-organized (this seems most logical), and then that leaves community to return to a key component such as Engineering & Services and not a side thought. I came from the community before I joined MySQL, I am active (less so) in the community while at MySQL, I stand up for the community at MySQL (again more on this soon), and I’ll be part of the community long after I leave MySQL and/or Sun.