Oracle to eliminate budget plans in MySQL license hike

With a pending fee increase and the elimination of lower-tier license plans, customers could see annual costs increase more than four-fold

MySQL users who were once nervous that Oracle would let the popular database wither and die now have a new cause for concern: Oracle recently warned customers of unspecific price hikes in the near future as well as plans to eliminate the two lower-tier, less-expensive licensing plans for the database that were suited for smaller organizations with tighter budgets. Those changes alone could slap an organization with a 400 percent increase in annual licensing fees.

In an email reportedly sent to customers, Oracle sales minions vaguely caution, "We're being told that "there will be changes to MYSQL's pricing and possibly pricing model soon and wanted to let you know."

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The message notes that MySQL license fees haven't increased in six years, yet another of Sun's business-culture quirks that hasn't survived the assimilation. Indeed, Oracle's move further signals the company's general rejection of Sun's open source legacy as it moves to cash in on the technologies -- such as Java and OpenSolaris -- that customers have grown accustomed to using inexpensively or for free.

Whereas Oracle hasn't been forthright yet in its pricing plans, it has made one decision clear: It's eliminating the Basic- and Silver-level licensing plans for MySQL, options that are seemingly tailored and priced to meet the needs of smaller businesses.

The Basic plan is a no-frills option: It's essentially the Pro version of MySQL Enterprise Server with very limited support. The Silver plan is also the Pro version of the database along with feature such as an enterprise dashboard, various advisors, and slightly more support. The Basic plan currently costs $599 per server per year; the Silver plan costs $1,999 per server per year.

The remaining plans, Gold and Platinum, comprise the Advanced version of MySQL Enterprise Server and various types of features and support suited for the larger businesses -- and priced accordingly: The Gold license is currently $2,999 per server per year while Platinum runs $4,999 per server per year.

That means that even without the forthcoming price hike, Basic users will see their annual license fees quintuple as they'll be forced to upgrade to Gold -- that is, if they don't take advantage of Oracle's gracious offer: "If you wish to continue with Basic or Silver you will need to sign a multi-year agreement and you would be able to keep using Basic or Silver for up to another 3 years," reads the sales letter from Oracle.

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