Sunday, April 6, 2008

The coming Open Source Database wars

Well, it's the commercial vendors who will be duking it, rather. With the recent Sun acquisition of MySQL and IBM throwing some dough to PostresSQL, (Enterprise DB to be pedantic), things are getting interesting.

I think it has less to do with database feature sets and more to do with pricing. If I understand something about database licensing, it's done mostly on a per CPU basis or number of cores.

Pricing will determine what kind of technology adoption will happen on multicore chips. While increased performance may be got by putting 4,8 or more cores on the chip, the pricing done on a per core basis will undo all the technical advantages.

If two vendors have the same number of chips on similar systems but one has more cores than the other per chip and the pricing for the Oracle database is done on a per core basis.....you can see where this is heading.

Disaster, for all the technical progress made.

I think that's why SUN bought out MySQL; From Oracle's point of view, putting more cores on a single chip means less revenue as less chips/system does more now. The only way it can make money is to switch to a core based licensing revenue stream. That would mean, SUN's systems would come out costlier compared to a similar CPU based system from IBM, say.

SUN and Oracle has been close for years and the sudden acquisition must mean that the low end SMB market is going to get poached from Oracle.

Soon, expect new TPC benchmarks from SUN using MySQL as the database.

Then the message would be loud and clear to Oracle. As a matter of prediction, Oracle would cozy up to IBM and optimise things for their Power chips I guess.

Update: see this link for more confirmation.