MySQL fills Oracle-consumed hole in database

Open-source database company, with its own storage engine in the works, renews contract with Oracle around InnoDB.

Employees and customers of MySQL got a jolt of concern in October, when Oracle bought Innobase, a small company supplying an important component of the MySQL open-source database.

Now MySQL has a plan to calm any lingering nerves.

The upstart database company is developing its own transactional storage engine, which can effectively be used as a replacement for the Oracle-acquired technology, executives said.

MySQL has also renewed the Innobase contract Oracle inherited. The contract has a term of less than 10 years and calls for Oracle to update Innobase's InnoDB storage engine--as it had been before the acquisition--on the same terms, Marten Mickos, MySQL's CEO.

"It's pretty good having Oracle as a subcontractor."
--Marten Mickos, CEO, MySQL

"Oracle told us that it's business as usual--they don't want to slow us down, and they will fix bugs," Mickos told CNET on Wednesday. "It's pretty good having Oracle as a subcontractor."

The MySQL database can work with different storage engines, including InnoDB. Until now, MySQL has relied on engines written by a third party and bundled with the rest of the database.

Oracle's purchase of InnoDB, which is tuned for business-oriented transaction systems, set off a wave of speculation on Oracle's intentions.

Some wondered whether the move was meant to stall MySQL market momentum or kill a popular MySQL-tied product.

RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady said MySQL's decision to write its own storage engine is a direct response to Oracle's purchase of Innobase and Sleepycat Software, another open-source database Oracle bought that works with MySQL.

"Given the shot across the bow those acquisitions represented and the potential for customer disruption, it probably was in MySQL's best long-term interests to control that technology," O'Grady said.

Innobase was a small company with only five employees, and it didn't represent a large financial outlay for a company of Oracle's size.

But having control over Innobase gave Oracle valuable information on how customers use MySQL, and it offered the potential to rattle customers, O'Grady argued.

Featured Video

The Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint is automotive aristocracy

Charles Morgan is back on Carfection, this time looking at the Alfaholics GTA-R 270, a re-imagined Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. The tweeks that have been made make as fast as a modern day sports car while retaining it's classic beauty.