So, 23. Juli 2006, 00:00

Reader's Questions to MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos

Mårten Mickos answers the questions posed by the Pro-Linux readership. The spectrum of the questions is quite broad and generates interesting answers about all aspects of MySQL.


Last month Pro-Linux asked its readers to propose questions to ask the MySQL CEO Mårten Mickos. Many readers took part and posted their questions to our forum. The topic was apparently interesting enough so that many comments, critical remarks, and questions were posted. Originally we intended to choose the ten most interesting questions for Mårten Mickos who had kindly agreed to give us an interview. But things took a slightly different direction. Since Mårten Mickos speaks German, he read the questions in our Forum as they were posed and answered nearly all of them. So we are proud to be able to present a very comprehensive interview that contains interesting questions and answers about all aspects of MySQL.

The Interview

Mårten Mickos

Thomas Schönhoff

Mårten Mickos

Question: Will Oracle's acquisition of InnoDB have any visible impact on MySQL's development?

Mårten Mickos: Oracle acquired the Finnish company Innobase Oy in October 2005. Innobase develops the InnoDB storage engine for MySQL.

It was a surprise to me personally when Oracle made the acquisition, and many users were shocked by the news. But today I think MySQL is stronger than then. Let me explain.

We always knew that InnoDB may not be truly devoted to open source. That is why we acquired the Cluster storage engine from Ericsson in 2003. MySQL Cluster is a main-memory based OLTP engine for MySQL. And that is why we continued with other development projects.

In January we acquired Jim Starkey's company and software that he had developed. Jim Starkey is one of the gurus in the DBMS world. He coined the term "blob" and he developed the first MVCC solution. MVCC means multi-versioning concurrency control and is a key design issue in real-time OLTP databases. With this acquisition, we also acquired the Falcon storage engine which is a high-performance OLTP engine for web and other transactional applications.

And in April we signed up Solid Information Technology as a storage engine partner, and we also welcomed PBXT - a new open source transactional storage engine for MySQL.

Around those times, Oracle also came back to us and wanted to renew the agreement around InnoDB for several years without any changes.

In summary, I therefore think that today have more to offer our users than we had before. The open source world has shown that even if closed source companies acquired open source products, open source will prevail. This is a great victory for the free and open source software movement, and for the users of MySQL.

As for InnoDB, it continues to be a popular engine and Oracle is committed to maintaining it. You might even say that InnoDB is safer today, because it is not maintained only by a small 4-person company in Helsinki but by a 50,000 employee-company in Silicon Valley. And even if they would close source it (which they say they won't), the community can always continue to maintain it.

Question: By the way, don't forget about Sleepycat.

Mårten Mickos: My view is that Oracle's acquisition of Sleepycat had nothing to do with their acquisition of InnoDB. It should be noted that Sleepycat's Berkeley DB never caught on in the MySQL community, because it didn't have the performance or ease of use that our community is accustomed to. So it was no loss that Sleepycat got acquired. Instead, this should be seen as a telco play. Some time ago, Oracle acquired TimesTen - a main memory database for telco and other use. Now it seems that Oracle is with Sleepycat adding more technology around TimesTen. Oracle has acquired other companies in this space as well. But at the heart they still lack the massively scalable and performant database that they would need for competing with MySQL Cluster which is based on technology developed by Ericsson in Sweden.

Question: Why should enterprises use MySQL instead of running PostgreSQL/EnterpriseDB?

Mårten Mickos: We don't mind if people use Postgres or EnterpriseDB. But if you ask MySQL's users why they chose MySQL and not one of the other open source databases, the answer is mostly around performance and scalability. MySQL has a modern design that is very well suited for online, web and telco applications with heavy transactional load.

Question: Does SAP recommend MySQL instead of Oracle products to it's costumers?

Mårten Mickos: SAP definitely recommends MySQL, but we are not ready to run the main SAP applications yet. So if you have an R/3 installation from SAP, you will still have to wait some time before you can migrate it to MySQL. But you can migrate it to MaxDB which is the database that SAP develops and we market and sell.

Question: Will MySQL support XML in the same way DB2 currently does?

Mårten Mickos: We have implemented some key XML functionality in the newest versions of MySQL. As our users ask for more XML functionality, we will implement it.

Question: Are there any plans to produce CRM/ERP solutions like Oracle?

Mårten Mickos: No. We are a database company and that is what we are best at doing. If you try to do too many things, you may not be that good at anything.

Question: Will MySQL ever meet existing SQL standards? The requirement for non-compliant workarounds is annoying!

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