Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oracle - Sun Update

Oracle boss Larry Ellison

Oracle - Sun Update

The News

The New York Post reported today that the Oracle-Sun merger may be getting the approval of the European Commissioner.
Neelie Kroes approved the deal after Oracle agreed to fund the open database software, dubbed MySQL, for the next three years at more than $24 million annually.

At the same time, Oracle will form an advisory group of MySQL customers.
The Facts 

The facts in the Oracle acquisition of Sun (who formerly acquired MySQL) are pretty clear:
  • No company can control an kill an Open Source project: if there is a problem, the project will just fork using other available developers - so there was little reason for the European Commission to express concern over the acquisition using the basis of MySQL.
  • It does not take a genius to figure out that Sun invested $1 Billion US$ into MySQL and Oracle would need to fund MySQL from dying in order to make a return on that investment, when they purchase Sun. Oracle already funds InnoDB annually, so this is no surprise.
  • There is little confirmation that Oracle would be able to raise $1 Billion US$ by selling them off, since the true monetary value of the (free & open source) MySQL is with the assets & service that are sold around it (i.e. servers, support, integration, etc.) Of course, any other company willing to buy MySQL would come under the same EC scrutiny, deterring other buyers.
  • It also does not take a genius to figure out that MySQL is no competitor to Oracle, since Oracle already owns InnoDB, which is the main transactional heart of MySQL. The acquisition of MySQL by Oracle will allow for closer integration and higher transactional performance.
  • It only takes a primary school education (i.e. the ability to read) to understand that the vast majority of applications which use Oracle do not offer MySQL as an alternative.
The European Commission Position

In short, this seems like a reasonable way out, for the European Commission, of the position they placed themselves in, by making an attempt to stop a merger on baseless grounds and a misunderstanding of Open Source software.

While some people ignorant of Open Source Software felt uncomfortable with the acquisition, the facts in the case did not merit concern.

The EC found a way to save face - good for them!

The Network Management Position

This is very good news for the world of Network Management. Why is that?

Network Management, especially from a Managed Services perspective, is a very costly ordeal. When a Managed Services company wants to provide a view of their network from a Network Management tool to a customer, if a database is required (always required for large installations), then databases like Oracle require a Service Bureau License - which is very costly.

Many Open Source Network Management tools, in an attempt to scale to the sizes from commercial vendors, need an database. An Open Source database like MySQL, with tight ties to Enterprise Databases like Oracle, is a huge benefit to all.

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