Only 5 weeks after completing the acquisition of Virtual Iron, a promising virtualization start-up, Oracle goes out and kills it. To make matters worse, Oracle has done it in a very brutal way. In 11 days even existing Virtual Iron customers will not be able to buy additional licenses. Or to quote the The Register article that broke the news:
“So basically, anyone that built their hosting infrastructure on VI…is now totally in the shit,” that partner tells us. “Unless they buy a whole bunch of licenses before the end of June, they will be unable to buy any more node capacity for their clusters. Oracle are shutting down the product, without giving customers some sort of replacement. That’s a huge customer/partner channel shafting.”
So, if you are a poor chap who convinced your CIO that virtualization is the right way to go and that a start up called Virtual Iron is the right way to do it, you may want to consider freshening up your resume compliments of Oracle. The worst part is that you were probably right to choose Virtual Iron as it indeed had some very good technology.
I’ve blogged about my opinions about what the future holds for MySQL customers in light of Oracle’s acquisition of SUN and MySQL. I predicted, contrary to the opinions of some of the industry pundits, that MySQL within Oracle will wither and die. I stand behind my prediction; in my mind it is not if but when MySQL will cease to be an Oracle offering. A number of people disagreed with me, going as far as accusing me of spreading FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt). Indeed, there is a lot of fear, uncertainty and a lot of doubt in the MySQL customer base; it is not because of my little blog spreading FUD. I am guessing that this precedent with Virtual Iron is going to spook a lot more of the MySQL customers.
My advice for anyone paying for MySQL Enterprise is start calling alternative providers like Percona.com, or Monty Program AB. At least these folks really know what they are doing with MySQL. Most of the key people have already left MySQL even before Oracle announced that it was buying SUN and hardly any are expected to stick around after the acquisition is complete. True, both Percona and Monty Program are very small and are not likely to be able to take on majority of the MySQL customers but what they lack in size they compensate for in their expertise. For the lucky few who go with them before Oracle pulls the plug on MySQL Enterprise I think it will make a big difference.
There are other options. You can decide that you really don’t need support (not likely for enterprise users) and just go with one of the MySQL open source forks and rely on the community for help. Or, you can contemplate switching to a different database. PostgreSQL is a good alternative but if you are looking for support you would again be relying on a small player like EnterpriseDB. I think that for anyone using MySQL Enterprise i.e. those relying on vendor support, DB2 Express-C makes a lot more sense. Just like MySQL, DB2 Express-C is available for free to use in development and production environments. Unlike MySQL, it can also be redistributed free of charge by ISVs as part of their solution. And just like with MySQL, optional low cost support is available for a price that is $4 cheaper than MySQL Enterprise Gold. Migration from MySQL to DB2 should be pretty simple as DB2 and MySQL are very compatible. For those using dynamic language frameworks like Ruby on Rails and Zend Framework or Django it should be a no-brainer. You can expect very good performance (better than what you have with MySQL) and loads of new function (like hybrid engine with full XML support) that are simply not available in MySQL. The best part is that you are guaranteed not to be left in a lurch. DB2 Express-C is exactly the same code base as the other DB2 products. This means that you have 100% guarantee that any application written to work with DB2 Express-C will continue to work if you were to upgrade your database server to a higher value edition of DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows. In many cases you would not even have to install another edition but should just be able to activate a new license.
You can wait and see if Oracle will put MySQL on death row or you can get ahead of the curve and start to plan for the alternatives like getting in touch with alternative MySQL support providers or take a look at DB2 Express-C and see if that is the right way for you to go.