Sun Microsystems on Tuesday unveiled an early look at MySQL 5.4, the next version of its open source database, one day after Oracle said it is buying Sun for $7.4 billion.
The main focus of MySQL 5.4 is improved performance and scalability. The InnoDB storage engine commonly used with MySQL -- and which is owned by Oracle -- can now address up to eight CPUs, twice as much as before.
[ For the full rundown on the Oracle-Sun deal, see InfoWorld's special report | See also: Oracle wins 'Acquirer of the Year' award at MySQL Conference ]
Sun testers have seen "very dramatic" performance gains when moving from four to eight cores, said Robin Schumacher, head of MySQL product management, in an interview prior to Oracle's announcement.
Other improvements in MySQL 5.4 will include subquery optimizations for faster analytic queries and better stored procedure support.
The gains are "transparent," meaning users don't have to do any additional coding to use them, Schumacher said.
But the preview release available for download today will only contain the CPU scalability enhancements, which are limited to 64-bit Linux and Solaris systems, he said. MySQL 5.4 should be generally available by the end of this year, according to Schumacher.
Also Tuesday, Sun announced MySQL Cluster 7.0, a new version of its clustering software for MySQL. One major improvement is the ability to add more nodes to a cluster while it is running. The release, which will be generally available this quarter, also has faster throughput, quicker file access, and support for Windows development.
But now that Oracle is buying Sun, MySQL's future product direction is unclear, even though it is not generally considered a head-to-head competitor with Oracle's database.
A Sun spokeswoman said Tuesday that it is "business as usual" while the deal closes, and declined to comment on its implications for MySQL.
But no matter what happens to Sun, MySQL will survive due to its success as an open source project, said Karen Tegan Padir, vice president of the MySQL and software infrastructure group at Sun, in an interview last week.
"When there's so many people involved in developing and producing the code, it transcends the company," Padir said.
Indeed, the MySQL codebase has already been forked and branched off for a number of projects, such as Drizzle and MariaDB, which is backed by MySQL creator Michael "Monty" Widenius.
Oracle could "kill" MySQL "either directly or by not developing/supporting it fully," sell it off to avoid antitrust issues, or "embrace MySQL and open source and put their technical expertise on it to ensure that MySQL continues to be the most popular advanced open source database," Widenius said in a blog post Tuesday.
But Widenius, who quit Sun earlier this year, added that many other MySQL team members may leave the company post-acquisition.
"The biggest threat to MySQL['s] future is not Oracle per se, but that the MySQL talent at Sun will spread like the wind and go to a lot of different companies which will set the MySQL development and support back years," he wrote. Widenius is "prepared to hire or find a good home for all core MySQL personnel" at his company, Monty Program, or "close to it."