Sun Acquires MySQL… Early Thoughts

MySQL + Sun I was dropping the kids off at school yesterday when I got a call on my cell phone from an editor I’ve worked with before at CIO.com. It took a minute to sink in, but she was telling me that Sun Microsystems had just purchased MySQL. They wanted to get a story up fairly quickly on what this meant for CIOs, and they thought I’d be a good person to tackle it. Now, the last time I wrote for them about MySQL (of which I’m a fan), I got raked over the coals a little, but then I was writing as the dark horse. Of course I took this one on anyway, and “Sun Acquires MySQL: Impact on the CIO?” was up within a few hours. Go ahead and read it; I can wait, then we’ll carry on.

One of the primary goals was to get something up quickly that offered a mid-level depth of analysis, some kind of early verdict. This meant there wasn’t a lot of information available yet, and I didn’t have a lot of time for reflection, nor for lengthy interviews with sources. In the end, it wasn’t a long piece but I think it hit the major points. Verdict: the acquisition is good for both companies, and CIOs who may not have looked very closely at MySQL should do so now. Or next year perhaps, after the dust settles… but it doesn’t hurt to start investigating early.

Of course, now that I’m writing on my own blog, I can toss out more opinion and speculation than was appropriate in the CIO story. First of course, I view the acquisition favorably. I think in the last few years, Sun has reinvented itself enough that it is now ready to adopt an Open Source icon like MySQL and not cause an implosion in the process. Five years ago, this would have been a bad deal, but that was before Sun really started getting behind the Open Source software revolution. The upshot is that the timing is right for Sun. I’m going to say it’s right for MySQL as well, since they get a shortcut to enterprise support and scalability. The alternative was an IPO and a lot of work to build the infrastructure that Sun already has — to say nothing of the enterprise experience they’ve amassed.

As for the market conditions, this is a good move for MySQL to stay on top of and for Sun to gain a hold in the crest of the Web 2.0 wave. A lot of analysis is yet to come, but as the title suggests, these are early thoughts. Also kinda fun, yesterday Robin Miller had closer access, and “corraled MySQL CTO (and original MySQL creator) Michael “Monty” Widenius and MySQL chief database architect Brian Aker, and got their opinions about how the acquisition might work out and what it means for both companies.”

For sources on yesterday’s story, I managed to slot in a five-minute telephone conference with Sun’s software VP Rich Green. When I got on the line, it turned out that MySQL CEO MÃ¥rten Mikos was also with us, which was interesting. Were it not in the midst of what would be an endless day of such interviews and were it not 15 minutes to my story deadline, I would have liked to draw the conversation out a lot longer. Having recently joined, I also decided to see what LinkedIn could do for me to find another source, preferably a consultant familiar with MySQL. This is how I found Zak Greant, an interesting fellow whose Foo Associates has a client waiting list until 2011. Somewhere in his history he worked as MySQL’s community advocate, and I appreciated his thoughts on the deal.