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Sun Microsystems Databases Programming Software IT

Can Sun Make MySQL Pay? 273

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oops-to-late dept.
AlexGr submitted a nice followup to last weeks billion dollar Sun buyout of MySQL. He notes that "Jeff Gould presents an interesting analysis in Interop News: How can an open source software company with $70 million or so in revenue and no profits to speak of be worth $1 billion? That's the question Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz has been trying to answer since he bought MySQL last week. Like most commercial open source companies, MySQL makes money by enticing well-heeled customers to pay for an enterprise version of its product that comes with more bells and whistles than the community version it gives away for free. It appears though that the additional features of the Enterprise version are not enough to compensate for the revenue-destroying effects of the free Community alternative. What else could explain the surprising fact that MySQL has quietly filled out its open source portfolio with a closed source proprietary management software tool known as Enterprise Software Monitor?"
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Can Sun Make MySQL Pay?

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  • by TheLinuxSRC (683475) * <slashdotNO@SPAMpagewash.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:27AM (#22152750) Homepage
    How can an open source software company with $70 million or so in revenue and no profits to speak of be worth $1 billion?

    This is where you have to think outside of the box. There are some [webpronews.com] who believe that Sun may simply be the pawn of Oracle. Oracle could not buy MySQL directly because of anti-trust issues etc.. Not to mention, Sun and Oracle have been "strategic partners" for a very long time. However, another company could purchase MySQL to kill it off.

    I am not saying this is exactly what happend, but I do think the above author and Dvorak [marketwatch.com] make some good points. Disclaimer: IANADF - I am not a Dvorak fan :)
  • Java (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ForexCoder (1208982) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:34AM (#22152844)
    He misses the most obvious way of making Mysql pay and that is Java. If Sun goes down the same route that Microsoft is with Sql Server/.NET and integrates Java into Mysql, Sun gets a powerful new platform for the enterprise.
  • Mindshare (Score:5, Interesting)

    by soxos (614545) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:42AM (#22152986) Homepage Journal
    I've pondered this as well. What makes Youtube worth ~1.5 billion? Certainly not the technology. Sun has bought developer mindshare. When you think MySQL now, you're going to associate it with Sun. As long as they don't destroy it, it will reflect well on a company that, till now, has been floundering.

    According to Torvald's biography, Linus walked out of a meeting in the 90's that Sun had called with the open-source community because the license they were introducing didn't pass his muster. It is interesting to see Sun coming around.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong and we could be looking at a storm on the horizon.

  • Back Inside the Box (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:58AM (#22153170) Homepage
    TFA: "Sun would have to grow MySQL's revenues to $500 million per year to bring it into sync with the purchase price"

    That's a 7X increase, no small potatoes, but if Sun is thinking long term (esp., hopefully, w/r/t international markets), I don't think this is as unlikely as the article writer seems to.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @10:59AM (#22153196) Homepage Journal
    The article is also missing one other important fact related to this statement:

    It appears though that the additional features of the Enterprise version are not enough to compensate for the revenue-destroying effects of the free Community alternative. What else could explain the surprising fact that MySQL has quietly filled out its open source portfolio with a closed source proprietary management software tool known as Enterprise Software Monitor?"

    Customers don't pay for MySQL professional because it's not that great of a database. As a "free" option, there's tons of support for it. It was seen early on as "the" database for OSS work. As a result, nearly every OSS tool in existence is built around MySQL.

    However, if we're talking about someone looking to pay for support, we're probably talking about a business of some sort. And for businesses, features like ANSI syntax, transactions, reliability, scalability, tools, familiarity to the DBAs, and a strong reputation for customer service are all factors that play into their decision. Why would they purchase MySQL when options like SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, Informix, Pervasive, Teradata, and half a dozen other RDBMSes with stronger reputations in the market are available?

    While MySQL has made great strides in their progress toward becoming a competitor in the Enterprise market, it's a bit of an uphill battle that they're going to have a hard time winning. The market sees MySQL as an OSS toy that children play with before they grow up and use a REAL database. Changing that perception is going to be hard.

    Worse yet, it's a race against time before powerful new competitors like Apache Derby (formerly Cloudscape) start pushing MySQL out of the market.

    That being said, I wish I invented an "OSS toy". A billion dollars as compensation sounds like a rather sweet deal. ;-)
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @11:01AM (#22153210) Homepage
    Like the wonderful standard for DBA's that MS sets with it's MCDBA qualifications? I've met MCDBAs who couldn't even write a simple SQL query with a couple joins. And don't even get me started on DBAs who couldn't give you a table schema based on a list of requirements of the data you'd like to store.
  • OS config in DB (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @11:09AM (#22153302)
    I have always thought that most of the OS config should be moved to a proper networked DB. Much better scalability, consistant API, Security etc. That along with bundled content management seems like the right direction to be going.
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @11:42AM (#22153708) Homepage Journal

    I agree with everything you say, but I think MySQL has been a thorn in the side of Oracle much more so than Redhat or Sun ever could be. This could just be a stepping stone for Oracle (if any of what I read is true in the first place :).
    It seems I have to be a bit more explicit. Now extrapolate what you just said with I what I said and draw some conclusions.

    See it? (No peaking at the next paragraph until you think about it for yourself for a second.) ...

    Sun bought MySQL precisely because it is a thorn in Oracle's side. They won't want it to go away, they want it to continue being a thorn in Oracle's side.

  • by mvdwege (243851) <mvdwege@mail.com> on Wednesday January 23, 2008 @08:00PM (#22161128) Homepage Journal

    I concur. I have had experience with Sun's Platinum support, and they do good work. You call up, explain your problem to the first line support, and you get immediately put through to an engineer, who'll do the preliminary troubleshooting with you. If you already have done some troubleshooting, the engineer will listen patiently to your results, and if they're sufficient, he'll either provide a fix or send on-site support over.

    No two-week hassle with first-line support who work from a script and are unwilling to escalate to an engineer until you start threatening to escalate to your account manager (like a large firewall vendor I currently work with), just an entire support structure that just assumes that you know what you are talking about, and yet are trained to ask the right questions to weed out the lusers who don't even know how to do basic troubleshooting. Bad disk in a RAID set? Just read the error messages from the log, run iostat -E and report the output, and voila, a new disk is on its way.

    Sun support is wonderful. Lower levels than Platinum may take a little longer, but I doubt that the technical knowledge displayed is any less. Too bad I currently don't need the level of support and reliability Sun provides. If you don't, like me, then Sun kit is massively overpriced. If you do, it's right on the money.

    Mart

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

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