Will Oracle kill MySQL?

I get asked this question often. It was mentioned again recently in a NYTECH executive breakfast with RedHat CIO Lee Congdon.

The short answer is No.

There is clear evidence that in the short to medium term Oracle will continue to promote and enhance MySQL. Some of these indicators include:

It is clear from these sources that Oracle intends to incorporate MySQL into Oracle Backup and Security Vault products. Both a practical and necessary step. There is also a clear mention of focusing on the Microsoft platform, a clear indicator that SQL Server is in their sights without actually saying it.

What is unknown is exact how and when features will be implemented. Also important is how much these may cost the end user. Oracle is in the business of selling, now an entire H/W and S/W stack. They also have a complicated pricing model of different components with product offerings. I assume this will continue. There are already two indications, InnoDBbackup included for Enterprise Backup (from April Keynote) and 5.1 enterprise split. (Note: while this split may have existed prior to Oracle, it is now more clearly obvious).

MySQL can never be seen as drawing away from any Oracle sales of the core entry level database product. It is likely Oracle will provide a SQL Syntax compatibility layer for MySQL within 2 years, however it will I’m sure be a commercial add-on. Likewise, I would suspect a PL/SQL lite layer within 5 years, but again at a significant cost to offset the potential loss of sales in the low end of the server market. There continues to be active development in the MySQL Enterprise Monitor, MySQL Workbench and MySQL Connectors which is all excellent news for users.

Moving forward, how long will this ancillary development of free tools continue? What will happen to the commercial storage engine, OEM and licensing model after the 5 year commitment? How will the MySQL ecosystem survive.? There is active development in Percona, MariaDB and Drizzle forks, however unless all players that want to provide a close MySQL compatible solution work together, progress will continue to be a disappointing disjointed approach. The 2011 conference season will also see a clear line with competing MySQL conferences in April scheduled at the same time, the O’Reilly MySQL conference in Santa Clara California and the Oracle supported(*) Collaborate 2011 in Orlando, Florida.

I have a number of predictions on what Oracle ME MySQL may look like in 5 years however this is a topic for a personal discussion.


  1. Mark Callaghan says

    I voted -1 on this because of the picture. Please, no more pictures of Edward.

    I would use different words to describe Drizzle, Percona and MariaDB. I don’t think they are disjointed nor am I disappointed by what they do. I am a happy consumer of some of their products (XtraBackup today), some of their patches and a lot of their expertise. Each has a different goal: Percona specializes on InnoDB and monitoring enhancements, Drizzle has a great community and long-term perspective and MariaDB is rebuilding a MySQL business ecosystem separate from MySQL.

    There are inefficiencies in that some documentation, QA and testing efforts are duplicated. But I don’t think that can be avoided.

  2. says

    @Mark, I definitely don’t like his mug shot either, however this post is also delivered to a wider audience then those that use MySQL. I have however removed it just for you.

    I am happy that we have a diverse community with MySQL that promotes innovation in many different days, however this has come about due to the way MySQL effectively killed an active community of contributions. Stewart wrote an interesting related post about communities.

    I do feel that there does need to be some combined effort to provide a serious MySQL alternative and the two biggest players in MariaDB and Percona seem directly opposed to consolidate efforts. This makes it very difficult for me to recommend either product unless for a given edge case. I would like in future to be able to say to clients there are viable and commercial strength products for general use and with a long term commitment. Perhaps I’m an optimist however I’d like to see a growing MySQL community and not a breakdown of that.

  3. Mark Callaghan says

    That is much better.

    You just provided an incentive for consolidation. You can recommend more business towards them when that occurs. I writes lots of patches for MySQL and sometimes make mistakes that would be caught were I to work with MariaDB and Percona to have them reviewed. I think there is something to gain by having the external community work more closely.

  4. says

    Ronald, how do you see Percona and MariaDB opposed?? MariaDB receives all of what Percona produces, and this is with their friendly help, not something we have to copy in secret against their will. They fix bugs we find, etc.

    That Percona maintains their own version that primarily targets the needs of their customers is not opposed to MariaDB. On the contrary, I bet you that 1 year from now we’ll see more such versions based on either MySQL or MariaDB as a base, and branded with the service provider’s name. Just like in the Linux community, such versions still contribute to the same code base.

    Mark, when I come back to work one day, I had on my todo list to propose that we look into collaborating with QA and reviews. Feel free to go ahead without me though :-)

    Interesting news about Collaborate. Last year they had different weeks. Otoh, it seems the main motivator for shifting it would be avoiding the Easter week. (Oracle’s persistence in trying to shutdown the MySQL conf nothwitstanding, it’s still prudent to make that my first guess.)