Oracle is making a fresh run at Microsoft's SQL Server, claiming on Tuesday that its open-source MySQL database offers up to 90 percent cost savings over SQL Server along with blazing performance on Windows.
An online event is scheduled for Wednesday. During the event, Oracle intends to outline why MySQL is a compelling option for use on Windows, both by software vendors and enterprises. It will also discuss "upcoming milestones [that will] make MySQL even better on the Microsoft platform," and how to deliver "highly available business critical Windows-based MySQL applications."
MySQL user SonicWall, a security vendor, is also slated to discuss why it chose the database over SQL Server, according to a statement.
In addition, Oracle announced an upgrade to MySQL Enterprise Edition that adds capabilities for "hot" online backups, new graphs for visually monitoring systems, a number of data modeling and administration tools, and integration with Oracle's support portal.
This is far from the first time MySQL has been positioned against SQL Server, as its former owner, Sun Microsystems, made similar moves for years.
Comparisons between MySQL and SQL Server "are misleading, since Microsoft has a much richer and more complete platform," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement. "Customers who purchase a MySQL subscription should ask themselves what value they are getting out of it, and what they are missing by forgoing a more feature-complete enterprise database, including rich reporting and analysis capabilities that come out of the box."
Oracle's announcements show it is eager to diminish any lingering perceptions that MySQL, which it acquired through the purchase of Sun Microsystems, is strictly the province of Web companies and startups. At the same time, it wants to retain MySQL's image as a lower-cost alternative to databases like SQL Server.
But the company's competitors have room to quibble over exactly how much lower-cost MySQL is.
The MySQL website features a chart that details Oracle's TCO (total cost of ownership) claims, comparing the cost of a MySQL subscription to licenses and maintenance charges for SQL Server as well as Sybase ASE. However, the figures used do not take into account the ample discounts vendors typically negotiate with customers on license fees.
In addition, the MySQL subscription fee used -- $5,000 annually -- is for servers with one to four sockets. That cost doubles for servers with five or more sockets, according to Oracle's official MySQL price list (PDF).
As Oracle places SQL Server in its sights, it is also facing growing competition for MySQL revenue from startups like SkySQL, which independently offer support services for the database.
Overall, Oracle's marketing and development efforts behind MySQL come as no surprise, one observer said.