Sun's Open Source Buying Spree

After MySQL acquisition, Sun plans to pursue other open source vendors.

Look for Sun Microsystems Inc. to continue its aggressive spree of buying open source vendors. Sun officials said as much upon completing its $1 billion acquisition of MySQL AB late last month.

While no specific targets were cited, Sun President and CEO Jonathan Schwartz said the MySQL acquisition will be a pivotal component in Sun's effort to transform itself into a key provider of open source software.

"Open source is really in the DNA of Sun," Schwartz said. "As such, when we look across the marketplace, those companies that have built good high-integrity communities and have broad distribution and some measure of commercial success are the ones we're going to be most interested in."

One such company that fit that mold is Innotek GmbH -- its open source VirtualBox desktop virtualization platform works across client operating systems. Sun finalized its acquisition of Innotek just days before announcing the completion of the MySQL deal.

Sizable Community
Despite Sun's moves to position itself as a key open source provider via OpenSolaris, Java, NetBeans and its GlassFish application server, company officials said gaining MySQL will let Sun tap from MySQL's stated community of 11 million users, while giving credence to MySQL as an alternative database platform to enterprise customers.

"MySQL is one of the most valuable brands in the free and open source software world," said Rich Green, executive vice president of Sun's software business. "This combination strengthens Sun's position as the largest contributor to the open source community and offers Sun a dramatically greater reach."

Sun completed the deal just six weeks after announcing the agreement to buy MySQL in January. MySQL's CEO Marten Mickos confirmed he would stay on with Sun as senior vice president of the company's new database group.

Sun also moved quickly to transition the MySQL product line. Users can currently download the database free of charge here, according to the company. Enterprise customers can also now subscribe to MySQL's complete product line. Sun said it would be offering trial subscriptions free of charge. The company also launched MySQL Enterprise Unlimited, a subscription-based service for the deployment and management of any number of MySQL Enterprise Servers.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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