Sun buys Mysql

So Sun continues their buying spree. First with CFS, and now Mysql. This is quite relevant to HPC for a variety of reasons.
Customers have been telling me that they are quite worried about Lustre as a result of the Sun acquisition. There is a lot of speculation about its (likely) limited future outside of Solaris.

Then there is ZFS, the sort of – kind of – open source file system that is sort of – kind of – better than anything else. Sort of – kind of . It still remains to be seen if it is really open source … I will leave the judgement of whether or not it is better for another day. FWIW: preferred file systems on Linux are xfs and jfs. ext3 is ok for small boot partitions if you like, and even every now and then, for the OS drive, such as on laptops. Xfs is and has been an industrial strength fs for a while, and at least the Irix version had some of the rudiments of volume management integrated in … though I never personally used them. You can see some of this in older manual pages on xfs.
The question is, Sun with its somewhat new, and uncertain record of OSS support and maintenance, its internal battle with Linux (that its customers are apparently deciding more in favor of Linux than Solaris, despite Solaris shipping default on every machine), what does this portend for Sun purchases? If our customers’ reaction to Lustre and CFS is any indicator, I expect to see Postgres usage on the sharp increase.
Of course, another important question is, what does Oracle think?
Mysql has been used by many HPC projects as a data repository. Many of these are open source. At least one of these, Rocks, depends critically upon it.
We are agnostic, our JackRabbits will run all manner of DB with great speed. I personally like SQLite3 for small tiny simple DBs, and Postgresql for more complex bits. The latter is quite nice, we are using it with DragonFly and other tools. FWIW: using the very nice DBIx::SimplePerl perl module (one of the better ones, wink wink) switching between DBs is very simple. We just did this with DragonFly, switching from SQLite3 to Postgres in a few minutes (mostly editing, and then fixing some add/updates to use NULLs where needed).
Not sure what the purchase portends, other than it could piss off a large Sun developer, and cause consternation within the OSS community. I hope I am wrong.

7 thoughts on “Sun buys Mysql”

  1. Keeping in mind Sun is also investing in PostgreSQL and does not intend to stop, and keeping in mind that despite your misgiving Sun has a solid track record on OSS over its 25 year history (we do so much that it’s inevitable there will be some issues from time to time), I can’t say I share your misgivings. Or indeed your view that ZFS is somehow not open source – Apple certainly don’t agree with you! I’d be pleased to chat if you want – you have my e-mail.

  2. I agree with Deepak’s analysis

    Glyn???s quite right though. Sun is buying its way into the LAMP stack. Like him, my biggest fear is Solaris sticking its nose

    I wouldn’t call it a fear, more of a certainty. My concern is that MySQL will now become Solaris centric, with Linux as a second class citizen. Which is odd as Sun is shipping more Linux (last I checked from the online media, though the information is several months old now) than Solaris … or at least the Linux demand is higher. Sun is pushing Solaris hard, and there are a few constituencies that this plays well too. Just not to new customers and growing markets. The IDC and other numbers (Gartner et al) that I am aware of indicate this.
    This is not to say bad things about Sun, but like SGI and many other firms I have worked with/for over the past decades, it gets very hard to get out of the way of corporate ego and the not-invented-here syndrome. That is, if it isn’t invented here, it can’t be as good. Solaris is in that mode. Speak to (and I have) Sun internal techies, and they are smitten with Solaris. Speak to the customers (that we do), and they can’t wait to get rid of it. Fewer OSes == less support money.
    Again, I have used MySQL, it is ok, I slightly prefer Postgresql. In the short/medium term, I don’t see serious impacts from this (apart from getting some good folks at MySQL AB a nice return on their investment). Longer term (several years) the question remains high, exactly what are Sun’s intentions.
    And this is a good segue into Simon’s response. Simon, for those of you who don’t know is Sun’s Open Source exec (COSO or some similar title).
    Sun has invested in Postgresql for quite some time, and I do remember seeing efforts at offering it as a sort of low end Oracle for some customers, complete with Sun support for the software. One stop shopping.
    Simon claims a solid OSS track record during its history. Not sure I and everyone else agrees, but that is more of a marketing point than otherwise. Recently, within the last ~1.5 years, this has changed strongly for the better. I presume this coincides with Simon’s appointment/responsibilities at Sun, the hiring of Ian Murdock, and a few others. Sun’s OpenSolaris is indeed an OSS product, as are its compilers, GridEngine (which we use/support extensively).
    My view on ZFS is not that it isn’t open source. It is that there are license issues. We cannot move it into the Linux kernel, which incidently, would be a very good thing, due to license conflicts. Not technology conflicts. The Linux kernel is open source, and generally, there shouldn’t be (modulo license) issues leveraging technology between OSS projects. Simon pointed out that “Apple doesn’t agree with you!” I presume refering to the “open source” nature of ZFS.
    Hmmm. That last point is interesting. Might be worth asking Apple when they open sourced their OS. Last I heard, MacOSX was closed source. I can’t get source to it. Yes, it is based upon Darwin, which I can get source to. If that is what you mean’t, well thats great that its in there. If that isn’t what you meant, by all means, please help me understand it.
    My point is that the license issues are the impediment.
    That said, Chris Samuel at VPAC had been working with/blogging on fuse with ZFS. This looks like interesting work. That is of potential interest.
    All this said, my hope is that MySQL gets a shot in the arm, ZFS becomes integrable with the Linux kernel, and that Sun continues to step up with the OSS technologies. I am not belittling the work of anyone, or Simon’s/Ian’s others efforts within Sun. I know just how hard it is to turn a large organization towards a good idea, especially when there is a huge orthodoxy within the company that finds these changes repugnant.
    More power to you Simon (and by extension Ian and team). Lets get ZFS into the Linux kernel, and see no significant alterations to MySQL support/development, etc. relative to Linux.
    FWIW: Our DragonFly software is OSS. Has been from the get-go. Should have an external server with it up soon, it just emerged from the cocoon/chrysalis two days ago, and is drying its wings.

  3. What I meant by saying Apple thinks ZFS is open source is they have happily taken the ZFS source and ported it to their (closed-source) operating system.
    Thanks for the comments though, encouragement appreciated.

  4. @Simon
    Ok … that clarifies it. Personally I would love to see MacOSX opened up, as I would like to try it on non-Mac hardware.
    I would like to see ZFS in more OSes. Right now my favorite fs is xfs. Despite what Redhat claims, ext3 is not really a reasonable substitite, either for huge storage, or for fast storage. The license impediments are frustrating, but I hope that the zfs-on-fuse project continues. Sadly, it does look like it has not been kept up .. last commit was on 6-March-2007 … nearly a year ago. Thats the downside to non-kernel projects, they don’t get a huge developer base’s attention.

  5. Joe,
    You are on the Grid Engine mailing list, and you know that Sun puts as much effort into Linux and other OSes as they do for Solaris.

  6. @Rayson
    Good to see you here. Yes I am on the GE list. I do lots of development in and around SGE. Our DragonFly software is an example (though it will be able to talk to any queuing system, SGE is the initial target).
    Sun does put significant effort into the Linux port of SGE. Of that there is no doubt, no one claims otherwise.
    Sun also gives short shrift to various architectures/products with its other tools. Say for example, Java. Could you kindly point me to the 64 bit Java plug-in for Firefox? Or to the updated JDK for our IA64 machine? These aren’t the only issues that illustrate the point.
    Fundamentally, what some of us worried about, aloud, was that Sun would turn MySQL away from its roots, and try to nose into the LAMP by making the “M” portion a first class port on Solaris, and leaving Linux a second class port. That way, MySQL becomes a gateway to SAMP where S is Solaris. There are lots of people worried about this. Simon Phiipps indicated that we shouldn’t worry, and I am going to take him at his word on this.
    The subsequent meme is what is more interesting. Call it the second order reaction if you will. Many MySQL customers are seemingly of the opinion that Sun may significantly help MySQL out. They say this, as apparently, unbeknownst to MySQL AB, some of their customers have issues that have not be resolved well.
    The meme I see emerging is that Sun will save MySQL from itself. I am not sure I completely agree with all the assumptions, but while some have been worried about the M going away in LAMP, it looks like the more pressing issue is how to solve the missing features/performance/functionality/scalability problems, that some GPL patches have helped with. My question relative to this is how will Sun do so without abandoning the value of the acquisition.
    If they made it completely open source, and sold support atop that, this is one way, but it wouldn’t be worth a $1B acquisition price. This is going to be hard to solve. This may not even be a problem Sun wishes to solve.
    Again, see the next MySQL post for more details.

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