A Ray of Sunshine?


I didn’t think anything could lift my mood on this cold and gloomy Monday until I heard that Oracle was to acquire Sun. My immediate thought, albeit selfish, was that this was fantastic news for Actian. I suspect that Oracle sales reps will push MySQL users who have transactional applications toward the free Oracle Express Edition, and from there they’ll be pushed to the Standard Edition and the price tag that comes along with it. Actian is now the obvious alternative for these open source proponents, and we are being handed an incredible opportunity.

Oracle is the anathema of the open source database community. I remember in the day or two after we announced our plans to open source Actian back in 2004, we met with Marten Mikos, who welcomed Actian into the open source community and said that MySQL wasn’t in a position to do damage to Oracle, but that we were, and that he would support our efforts to do so.

I suspect that projects like Drizzle will also benefit tremendously from today’s news as open source community members jump ship to other open source projects related in some way to MySQL. Drizzle takes MySQL back to its roots, both technologically and philosophically and will appeal to many of the MySQL community developers.

I’ve been absent from my blog for a while because I’ve been out on the road preaching our New Economics of IT message. This message has resonated with a variety of audiences from technicians to IT decision-makers, and I believe that after today it’s a message that will resonate even more. To boil the New Economics of IT message down to its barest essence, it highlights the importance of embracing open source, an open architecture, and open standards to avoid vendor lock-in and to provide for predictable, scalable pricing in the uncertain times ahead.

The CIO who a few years ago decided to strengthen his bargaining position by choosing separate vendors for his development tools, middleware, database and operating system/hardware technologies now faces the prospect that Oracle can apply the screws and—with their reputation for being able to draw blood from a turnip—he may be forced into a position where he has no choice but to make decisions that will impact the long-term viability of his business in order to be able to pay the bills.

It will be interesting to watch this drama unfold. Tune in regularly for updates and share your thoughts below.

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About Emma McGrattan

As SVP of Engineering at Actian, Emma leads development for the Actian Vector team, including the Ingres and X100 components, and the Actian Matrix Planner team. A leading authority in DBMS technologies, Emma is celebrating 20 years in Ingres and Actian Engineering.

View all posts by Emma McGrattan →

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