Matthew Aslett got a hold of MySQL AB CEO Marten Mickos yesterday and asked him about plans by Oracle to provide support for MySQL on their Unbreakable Linux distribution. Mickos seemed almost welcoming of the move implying that MySQL AB was supportive of having Oracle serve as a distributor of their database management system. Obviously, as is the case with Unbreakable Linux only Oracle is fully aware of its intended purpose and underlying strategy. However, here are some things to take into consideration:
- Oracle already realizes that MySQL AB is eating its lunch from the bottom up, MySQL support on Unbreakable Linux can help them hold onto customers who might be seriously considering making the transition.
- MySQL continues to gain some serious traction. Plus, they're not going to exactly disappear anytime soon with an IPO in the works. It only makes sense to respond to their growing status as a competitive threat in some form or fashion.
- Large proprietary vendors like Oracle already understand that countering the growth of open source ecosystems will entail different methods and approaches from those which are used with closed sourced types. The Microsoft-Novell pact is an example of how their strategies have changed to reflect the unique and potent threat that open source embodies.
- MySQL support is only the first of a series of moves by the database giant. They're in this for the long haul and will continue to remain increasingly active in parallel areas, especially if MySQL AB continues to exhibit such strong signs of growth.
- Open source and proprietary software are already being deployed juxtapose within progressively heterogenous IT environments. Seeing how this is a trend that promises to spread with time, aligning with open source makes good business sense.
- No, Oracle isn't going to fall off the end of the earth, but all this talk about disruption isn't for nothing. The traditional software business is, in fact, experiencing a shakeup at the hands of a number of inter-related occurrences (open source, SAAS, Web/Office 2.0). The result will be an entirely new landscape that is being shaped as we speak.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Oracle plays its cards, especially against the backdrop of a potential MySQL AB IPO. Oracle doesn't need to undercut MySQL in the traditional sense, but it can't afford to totally disregard this gathering snowball either. I still view this as Oracle attempting to bottle and clone naturally forming disruption while it continues to refine its competitive strategy. Maybe not, but either way it should be fun to watch.