Will Oracle kill MySQL? Who cares? A lot of people.

Posted on Sun 03 May 2009

I borrowed part of this post's title from an interesting article at The Register. Basically, the article says Oracle now owning MySQL won't change anything, since MySQL is already dying because of the slow pace at which new features are released, and that forks are already in the works to take over (see Drizzle and OurDelta). This fork-and-continue-elsewhere model has already been seen several times when an open source company goes against open development (i.e. community diversity). Now a database is probably something different.

At Goojet we rely heavily on MySQL, as it stores all of our data. The reasons that led us to choose MySQL are quite common among internet (in our case mobile internet) startups: it's free, which is important when you plan to scale out and don't want to spend all your money in costly per-CPU license fees, and it has rather well-known solutions for replication and load balancing, even if these have some shortcomings.

I hear you, die hard bleeding-edge'rs: I've used Hadoop in the past, but it's not (yet) good as a front-end database, and I'm not sure alternative databases such as CouchDB are ready for production, at least for storing the very business-critical data that is our user base. And not everything can be stored in a distributed key-value store. So we stick to MySQL, at least for now.

And here is the main reason why many people will stick to MySQL for a long time: your data is your most precious asset. Having some not-so-stable stuff on the front-end is ok if it doesn't crash your servers, and upgrading front-end servers is a common thing. But you want something rock-solid to store your precious data, and don't want do upgrade it every week.

So, although some of the features brought by the MySQL forks look really interesting, I'm not sure we'll switch until they have serious track records.

Now maybe it's just because I'm no database expert, and inherently cautious with things I don't know well? Most of the MySQL users out there are in the same situation, and Oracle will play with that... until one of the forks is mature enough to take over.

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