MySQL, Oracle Agree On InnoDB Deal

    April 11, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

A multiyear agreement between Oracle and MySQL over the InnoDB storage engine license should put an end to fears of a potential Oracle-fueled money grab for MySQL’s customers.

Fortunately for all of MySQL’s users, including some large corporate names, collectors from Oracle won’t start visiting them and requesting the immediate payment of licensing fees for the InnoDB technology used in MySQL.

Oracle purchased InnoDB last November, sparking controversy that its top executive, Larry Ellison, could use the purchase as a wedge to dislodge MySQL from companies using it. However, Oracle president Charles Phillips assured MySQL that wasn’t the case.

IDG reported from LinuxWorld Boston 2006 that the agreement was in place. Neither side will be releasing details of the agreement, such as the term or the license fee paid.

A formal agreement will be signed during the MySQL user conference starting on Arpil 24th.

Between 30 percent to 40 percent of MySQL users are using InnoDB for online transactional processing, Zach Urlocker, vice president of marketing at MySQL, said in the report.

It appeared MySQL had made a defensive move by acquiring Netfrastructure after Oracle’s InnoDB purchase. Netfrastructure’s Jim Starkey, well known for his database architecting skills, has experience in crafting the type of transaction processing engine MySQL would need to replace InnoDB.

The possibility remains that MySQL and Starkey could develop a replacement for InnoDB anyway, to eliminate the need to license it from Oracle.

That likelihood was reinforced by another report, from ZDNet, that indicated MySQL would build its own transactional engine now that InnoDB and another Oracle acquisition, Sleepycat Software, are off the market.

“Given the shot across the bow those acquisitions represented and the potential for customer disruption, it probably was in MySQL’s best long-term interests to control that technology,” RedMonk analyst Stephen O’Grady said in that report.

Until that happens, MySQL and Oracle are in a unique situation, according to MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, who commented in the article, “Oracle told us that it’s business as usual–they don’t want to slow us down, and they will fix bugs. It’s pretty good having Oracle as a subcontractor.”

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.