The European Union is not the only one antsy about Oracle taking possession of the open source MySQL database should the commercial database giant's merger with Sun Microsystems get final approval. So are MySQL users. (The E.U.'s executive arm has held up approval of the merger, fearing that Oracle's acquisition of MySQL could reduce competition in the database market, as well as harm the open source nature of MySQL. Sun's stockholders and the U.S. Justice Department have approved Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun.)
"We've got a fair number of databases and Web applications that use those databases in MySQL. If Oracle does something that sort of makes it look like MySQL's days are numbered or something is going to change that we don't like, we'll probably look at alternatives," says Ernest Joynt, a contractor for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Anand Babu Periasamy, CTO of clustered storage technology company Gluster, expresses doubts that Oracle would add enterprise capabilities to MySQL. "I hope that they will retain MySQL. [But] I am doubtful [that] they will ever improve MySQL to take it mid-enterprise level, but at least it will help them compete with Microsoft SQL Server on the low end," he says. (Gluster uses MySQL for its Web site operations.)
Thus far, Oracle has said little about its intentions for MySQL and declined to discuss the issue with InfoWorld. On its Web site, Oracle merely notes that "MySQL will be an addition to Oracle's existing suite of database products."
"I wish that Oracle would broadcast its intentions a little bit more" on the Sun acquisition, says Duane Kimble, a Linux technologist who works in the banking industry. For him, Oracle's ownership of MySQL is a specific cause for caution.
MySQL users start looking at alternatives
A key issue is that Oracle is a main competitor to MySQL, notes Timothy Dion, CTO of mobile and Web apps builder Sensei. "I'm very concerned about what that means," he says. His firm has begun looking at other enterprise-scale open source databases such as EnterpriseDB's Postgres database in case it has to replace MySQL.
Standing to reap a harvest from unease about the Oracle-MySQL pairing are open source database vendors EnterpriseDB and Ingres. EnterpriseDB, which builds its products on the PostgreSQL open source database, has been hearing from concerned MySQL users, says Larry Alston, EnterpriseDB's vice president of product management and marketing. "They're telling us that they're nervous" about the future of MySQL, he says.
Ingres also sees opportunities. "The phones ring a lot," says Ingres CEO Roger Burkhardt.