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Will Sun Cast a Shadow on Other Database Platforms?

It's rather ironic, but Sun's surprise move last week to acquire database supplier MySQL for $1 billion could actually give the open source DBMS a boost in the market, while at the same time bolstering SQL Server.

Following the announcement, I had a chance to talk with Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg, who had some poignant thoughts on the deal. The way he sees it, the deal probably hurts Oracle the most, since Sun has focused much of its database efforts on Oracle and it is the Oracle customer base most likely -- for pricing reasons -- to be looking to other database platforms.

The deal could pose threats to IBM and Microsoft too, though Feinberg says it could ironically help Microsoft in many situations, given the lower cost of SQL Servers licensing. In fact, customers looking for features such as analytics, reporting and integration services, might be more likely to consider SQL Server 2005/2008, Feinberg says.

That said, Feinberg and fellow analyst George Weiss issued a research note this week, pointing out that the deal will help grow the open source database market as well, especially as Sun adds management and other capabilities to My SQL.

Jeff Gould, CEO & director of desearch at Peerstone Research, is much more skeptical. He asks, how can a company with $70 million in revenues be worth $1 billion?

"Only time will tell," Gould writes. "But in my humble opinion, MySQL's open source business model will make Sun's road to payback a lot steeper than if it had bought a software company with conventional revenues and profits.

Hopefully more will come to light in April during the MySQL conference and expo in Santa Clara, Calif.

What's your opinion on how this move will affect the database platform market? Drop me a line at [email protected]and let me know.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/23/2008 at 1:15 PM

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