Here Comes Sun and It's Nominal subject logo: UNIX
Posted by: badanov

I was shocked to read the news that Sun Microsystems bought out MySQL. I knew that Sun had been moving slowly into open source software, but I never imagined that a popular database would be one of their acquisitions.

MySQL is probably the most popular open source database around.It can be found as a backend to nearly every hosting companyon the planet. It is, they say, easy to set up and easy to use and is the perfect database for websites with dynamic content such as this blog you are reading.

MySQL's nearest competition was PostgreSQL, but Pg wasn't really much competition as MySQL was developed by Finn corporation MySQL AB, while Pg has been developed by a group of independent users,including one guy from Sun Microsystems.

Now, I have never used MySQL. I tried back about five years ago to learn it in addition to learning PostgreSQL, but I had problems setting it up, this product that was billed as easy to setup.

My main reservation concerning MySQL, however, was its nebulous licensing for businesses. Since I run a small hosting company I decided early not to offer MySQL to my customers, offering instead PostgreSQL. Understand that using their product was free, but as a business I was under some constrictions as to making it available to customers.

As popular as MySQL is, it was only in the last two years or so that it could claim some adherence to ACID standards,which are critical in some financial and mission critical uses. Clearly what I saw of the MySQL setup was they were using much the same database design extant with the old DBFIV format; getting this conclusion with the three files used for a database data stoarage: one for the data, one for indexes and one for, I assume, executables and other database metadata.

I started on DBFIV, and once I learned just how constrictive it was as opposed to PostgreSQLin actual use, I really never looked back.

Until AMD's Opteron's 64 bit offering just three years ago,there were only two other options for a 64 bit platform, for servers and other uses, Apple's G5 and Sun Microsystems RISC 64 bit platform. Since then Sun has been under some competitive pressures, so they, like IBM, chose open source.

Sun opened up Solaris as well as a number of other applications,even funded Open Office,a format compatible office suite with Microsoft's Office that I use. Last year, with Oracle going hard against RedHat by offering support for RedHat platforms which host Oracle databases and then Oracle's recent purchase of BEA Systems, Sun apparently is looking to compete with the big four: IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP in enterprise databases.

It could be a good move for Sun if they chuck the DBF file format and opt for a more modern setup, making database data and metadata easier to access through the native interface but harder to transport as freely. It is likely Sun will follow a dual track with MySQL making the database freely available, without the enterprise rewrites they will need to make to compete separate as closed binaries.

I can see it in two years: Sun offers a database with a huge user and expert base with a turbo charged enterprise product which they can then bundle with their most excellent 64 bit platforms.

I guess I missed with MySQL revolution,huh? Oh well: back to programming with the Blue Elephant.

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