Open source database developer MySQL has launched an attack on the enterprise database business. The company on Tuesday revealed a new enterprise subscription pricing strategy that lets organizations deploy an unlimited number of MySQL databases in their environment and still get enterprise-class levels of support and monitoring services directly from MySQL.
The new subscription comes in at US$40,000.
“The offer is targeted to companies that have enterprise license agreements with Microsoft, Oracle, DB2 or others,” Zack Urlocker, MySQL executive vice president of products, told LinuxInsider. “In many cases we know that companies are spending more than a million dollars in license fees, but we’ve priced MySQL Enterprise Unlimited so that it’s affordable to medium-sized businesses also.”
Breaking Into Enterprise
MySQL is already in use by some large organizations, including Cisco, Electronic Arts, Nortel Networks, Sprint and The Walt Disney Company. In addition, MySQL powers large Web applications like YouTube, Flickr, Second Life and Weather.com.
MySQL has added 2,500 customers in the fourth quarter of 2006 and claims 10 million active installations. Most MySQL usage, however, has tended to come from smaller organizations — or in niche applications in larger organizations.
“The majority of MySQL installations serve Web-based applications or content-based applications that share information on the Internet, and in some cases these are powerful applications,” Noel Yuhanna, a senior analyst for Forrester Research, told LinuxInsider. “We are still not yet seeing any large deployments of transactional environments — the transactional and data warehouse applications are still in early adopter phase, especially for larger applications.”
Yuhanna also noted that while the MySQL technology is solid, enterprise-level customers have so far been hesitant to compare it to existing enterprise databases like Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server when it comes to running their core business databases.
Disrupt vs. Displace
It’s unlikely that MySQL can displace the most popular business-class databases currently in use around the world, especially for running core business applications. The primary issue isn’t whether MySQL could theoretically handle existing workloads, it’s a matter of economics.
“MySQL’s strategy will certainly help the adoption of MySQL, but the biggest problem is that the migration from Oracle or SQL Server to MySQL is not straightforward,” Yuhanna said. “Even though MySQL is making the $40,000 offer … you still have to make more investment in effort and budget to migrate.”
More important than migration, MySQL wants to disrupt the legacy model of how enterprise software is sold, Urlocker told LinuxInsider, and at the same time help chief information officers get open source on their agenda.
“We’re not trying to displace Oracle, DB2 or Microsoft with this move,” he explained. “Those are all great products, and there are some applications where those databases are more suitable; however, for most database applications, those products are overkill. We think customers should use the right tool for the right job and not pay for features they don’t need.”
A MySQL Enterprise subscription consists of MySQL Enterprise Server Software, which comes with monthly software updates, quarterly service packs and emergency hot fix builds.
It also includes a customizable MySQL Install and Configuration Wizard for a wide range of platforms; MySQL Network Monitoring & Advisory Services, which is a dynamically-delivered subscription offering where MySQL Network continuously monitors a user’s database servers, alerting them to — and helping them solve — potential problems before they can impact critical applications; and Premier Enterprise-class Production Support, which provides around-the-clock telephone support from MySQL, as well as Knowledge Base and Web support from the developers of MySQL software.