We announced big news today – our preliminary results for our fiscal second quarter, and as importantly, that we’re acquiring MySQL AB.
If you’re interested in the financial details for the quarter, tune in to our conference call (see details on sun.com) today – we’ll obviously have more to say as we release our formal results on January 24th.
But the biggest news of the day is… we’re putting a billion dollars behind the M in LAMP. If you’re an industry insider, you’ll know what that means – we’re acquiring MySQL AB, the company behind MySQL, the world’s most popular open source database.
You’ll recall I wrote about a customer event a few weeks ago, at which some of the world’s most important web companies talked to us about their technology challenges. Simultaneously, we gathered together some of the largest IT shops and their CIO’s, and spent the same two days (in adjoining rooms) listening to their views and directions.
Both sets of customers confirmed what we’ve known for years – that MySQL is by far the most popular platform on which modern developers are creating network services. From Facebook, Google and Sina.com to banks and telecommunications companies, architects looking for performance, productivity and innovation have turned to MySQL. In high schools and college campuses, at startups, at high performance computing labs and in the Global 2000. The adoption of MySQL across the globe is nothing short of breathtaking. They are the root stock from which an enormous portion of the web economy springs.
But as I pointed out, we heard some paradoxical things, too. CTO’s at startups and web companies disallow the usage of products that aren’t free and open source. They need and want access to source code to enable optimization and rapid problem resolution (although they’re happy to pay for support if they see value). Alternatively, more traditional CIO’s disallow the usage of products that aren’t backed by commercial support relationships – they’re more comfortable relying on vendors like Sun to manage global, mission critical infrastructure.
This puts products like MySQL in an interesting position. They’re a part of every web company’s infrastructure, to be sure. And though many of the more traditional companies use MySQL (from auto companies to financial institutions to banks and retailers), many have been waiting for a Fortune 500 vendor willing to step up, to provide mission critical global support.
So what are we announcing today? That in addition to acquiring MySQL, Sun will be unveiling new global support offerings into the MySQL marketplace. We’ll be investing in both the community, and the marketplace – to accelerate the industry’s phase change away from proprietary technology to the new world of open web platforms.
The good news is Sun is already committed to the business model at the heart of MySQL’s success – first investing to grow communities of users and developers, and only then creating commercial services that attract (rather than lock in) paying customers. Over the past few years, we’ve distributed hundreds of millions of licenses and invested to build some of the free software world’s largest communities. From Java to ZFS, Lustre to
Glassfish, NetBeans to OpenOffice.org and OpenSolaris, we’ve been patient investors and contributors, both. Free and open software has become a way of life at Sun. MySQL’s has similarly driven extraordinary adoption of their community platform, with more than 100 million downloads over the past 10 years. Their users, as with Sun’s, run MySQL across every major operating system – Linux, Windows, Solaris and the Mac; and every major system platform, from IBM, Intel, AMD, Dell, Sun and HP.
Not coincidentally, those companies are exactly the companies with whom Sun has signed OEM relationships – so the integration of MySQL into Sun’s ecosystem and channels will be exceptionally straightforward.
So how do we plan to go after this new opportunity? In a few fundamental ways.
We’ve historically worked at arm’s length to optimize MySQL on Sun’s platforms. Just as we did for Oracle in their early days, our performance engineering teams will sit (virtually) with their counterparts in MySQL and in the community, leveraging technologies such as ZFS and DTrace (which we didn’t even have in the Oracle era) to ensure Sakila flies – along with the rest of the LAMP stack (from memcached and php, to the broader ISV community around MySQL). MySQL is already the performance leader on a variety of benchmarks – we’ll make performance leadership the default for every application we can find (and on every vendor’s hardware platforms, not just Sun’s – and on Linux, Solaris, Windows, all). For the technically oriented, Falcon will absolutely sing on Niagara… talk about a match made in heaven.
Second, I’ve asked our team to negotiate an arms’ length commercial transaction, prior to closing, that allows us to provide Global Enterprise Support for MySQL – so that traditional enterprises looking for the same mission critical support they’ve come to expect with proprietary databases can have that peace of mind with MySQL, as well. This gives traditional enterprises a world of new choices and competition. As I said, if there’s one item customers have been asking from us for years it’s more innovation in the database marketplace – we’re now in a position to respond.
Third, we’ll be announcing some exceptionally attractive platform offerings, leveraging the success Lustre and ZFS, along with new systems platforms (like the new 48TB Thumpers and 64 thread Niagara2 machines) to deliver eye popping price performance. Ultimately, that’s what customers want – real value, supported globally, with quality and performance. Most importantly, MySQL’s partners are going to be the centerpiece of our solutions and offers – just as we’ve done with Solaris and Java, we’re going to work very hard to make our ISV’s wildly successful as we broaden the market. It takes decades to build a broad partner portfolio, and they are an enormous part of the value customers see in Sun, and we certainly see in MySQL.
And finally, this acquisition will kickstart a new set of investments Sun will be making into the academic community. Why universities? As we continue to invest in open source software development across the world, it’s apparent that nearly all roads lead to academic environments – and it’s high time we (as an industry) started watering the trees at their roots. It’s one thing to say you’re committed to education, it’s another to put your money where your mouth is. Within the next 60 days, Greg will be announcing a new set of global research fellowships designed to advance the state of engineering on the internet. (Stay tuned on this blog, and on Greg’s, for updates.)
So why is this important for the internet? Until now, no platform vendor has assembled all the core elements of a completely open source operating system for the internet. No company has been able to deliver a comprehensive alternative to the leading proprietary OS. With this acquisition, we will have done just that – positioned Sun at the center of the web, as the definitive provider of high performance platforms for the web economy. For startups and web 2.0 companies, to government agencies and traditional enterprises. This creates enormous potential for Sun, for the global free software community, and for our partners and customers across the globe. There’s opportunity everywhere.
To the folks at MySQL, from employees to customers and partners – welcome, and we’re thrilled to join you. This acquisition spells the beginning of a new era on the internet.
Starting with the letter M.