Will Oracle let MySQL keep its new enterprise chops?

MySQL just increased its enterprise attractiveness, but Oracle may not let it keep it.

MySQL 5.4 has just been announced, evaporating the open-source database's previous four cores per instance limitation. Now, as Betanews reports, MySQL can handle up to "16-processor ("16-way") support for x86 servers with multiple cores per processor."

In other words, MySQL, long the leader in Web-focused database applications, just became a serious contender in the enterprise. It's unlikely MySQL's new owner, Oracle, is going to welcome this news.

While Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady suggests that MySQL nicely complements Oracle in many ways, he's also right to note that "the Oracle sales force is going to dislike MySQL even more than the Sun sales force did, as it is a low margin product competing--at least in some sense--with a high margin staple."

Oracle has much to gain--and lose--from MySQL. It's an exceptionally well-managed company, so my bet is that Oracle will find ways to make MySQL work for it, not against it. I don't think we'll see MySQL used as an onramp for proprietary Oracle databases, similar to how IBM uses open-source projects like Geronimo to fuel WebSphere sales.

Rather, I believe Oracle will firmly position (and technologically ensure) MySQL as a Web database. Oracle owns InnoDB, after all, the primary storage engine for MySQL. The scalability upgrade I mention above? It depends upon InnoDB. Oracle, in other words, already has the means to constrain the markets to which MySQL is targeted. Expect it to do so.

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.

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