April 14, 2004

MySQL claims first open source database 'clustering solution'

Author: Robin 'Roblimo' Miller

Today, at the MySQL Users' Conference and Expo in Orlando, FL, company CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos is announcing a new product: MySQL Cluster. According to an embargoed press release sent to NewsForge Monday, this is "...a new open source database clustering technology for applications requiring continuous availability. MySQL Cluster combines the MySQL database with a clustering architecture to deliver 99.999 percent availability to mission-critical database applications."A GPL-licensed "preview" version is immediately available for free download and free use in open source software products from MySQL.com. A full "production" version is expected this Fall, available either under GPL for open source developers or as a commercial product for commercial developers with a price tag the company says will not exceed $5,000 per processor.

The press release we received from MySQL about MySQL Cluster included glowing quotes from Lars-Ãke Norling, CTO of B2 (a major broadband and VoIP provider in Sweden), who said, "MySQL Cluster delivers the high-availability that enables us to guarantee continuous broadband Internet access and VoIP services to our subscribers. This has had an immediate impact in significantly improving customer satisfaction, and has also reduced the cost of operating our network. We now have the scalable infrastructure to aggressively grow our subscriber base and offer new value added services."

The press release claims MySQL Cluster runs across a variety of hardware and software platforms, including Linux, Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris, and Mac OS X.

With this new product, MySQL seems to be making a major push into the high-availability, high-reliability enterprise database niche currently dominated by Oracle. Yahoo!, Sabre Holdings, Cox Communications, the Associated Press and NASA already run MySQL in at least part of their operations. (So do NewsForge, Slashdot, and several other OSDN Web sites.)

Actively seeking new business partners

In a separate press release, also scheduled to be made public this morning, MySQL is announcing "...a new MySQL Partner Program that offers improved support, more options and increased revenue opportunities for the growing ecosystem of independent software vendors (ISVs), systems integrators, Value Added Resellers (VARs) and developers that support the MySQL database. A highlight of the enhanced program is the launch of a new online MySQL Solutions Catalog, a convenient place for all MySQL users to search and find MySQL-related products and services offered by MySQL partners."

MySQL says it is already working closely with "Apple, Arkeia, Emic Networks, Intel, JBoss, Novell, SAP AG, SGI, and VERITAS Software." The SAP connection is a big one, since SAP, one of the world's largest and most-respected ERP software vendors, essentially handed off its database development to MySQL last June.

Note that while MySQL is an open source-based company, it is putting an increasing amount of energy into licensing of its commercially licensed (a.k.a. "revenue-generating") products. The pitch for new partners, while it speaks of open source, also contains these words calculated to appeal directly to developers' profit-making instincts: "The enhanced MySQL Partner Program makes it easier and more rewarding for organizations to develop, market, and sell their MySQL-related solutions. The program offers four partnering levels for a range of benefits and costs."

The four levels range from a "Developer Connection" that costs participants nothing, and offers "visibility in the MySQL Solutions Catalog and... MySQL sales opportunities, among other benefits," up to "an invitation-only MySQL partnership level for industry-leading ISVs, services providers or hardware manufacturers who are interested in a customized, strategic alliance with MySQL AB."

It's time for enterprise users to take MySQL seriously

For years MySQL has been dismissed by analysts and others who follow enterprise software markets as a feature-lacking database suitable only for the simplest applications. This perception is obviously no longer valid.

Here's the big question raised by MySQL's latest moves: How will Oracle and other enterprise database vendors react to MySQL's new push into "their" marketplace?

Click Here!