MySQL is Officially a Part of Sun

Today, Sun announced we’ve closed the acquisition of MySQL – MySQL is now officially a part of Sun! From a dinner meeting back in late November, through some introspection from MySQL’s CEO, to a closing today in late February – everyone involved showed a great sense of pace, urgency and excitement. And now, it’s off to the races!

Since the announcement, I’ve seen and heard near universal support for the relationship – most everyone wants to know where we’re headed, so here’s a quick overview of our initial plans.

Starting today, we’re rolling out global programs to raise awareness and adoption of MySQL among more established enterprises – you’ll see ads like this (to the right) targeting institutions and independent software/service vendors (ISV’s) looking to standardize on open source architectures. As the ad highlights, we’re introducing global, enterprise support programs for MySQL – offering the largest institutions on earth a new option in mission critical deployment. We are going all out to sign up new customers, extending MySQL’s reach.

The overall message is simple: we’re bringing our largest customers the innovation and performance the world’s most important on-line companies are already experiencing – giving them the option of putting MySQL into global, mission critical deployment.

Internally, the more than 10,000 people that make up the Sun engineering community – of which the MySQL team is now a core part – have begun to engage across a dizzying array of touchpoints. From diagnostics and technical integration, to performance engineering, hardware and software optimization and, leveraging our large scale benchmarking facilities, going after a few more world records. A breadth of projects are underway to enhance the value MySQL can deliver in a diversity of settings – and we’ll work hard to ensure MySQL flies like a dolphin on Linux, Windows and Solaris, and on systems built by Dell, IBM, HP, Intel, AMD, Sun, Fujitsu (ie, everyone).

As importantly, our market development teams are also spooling up – to assist ISV’s who rely upon MySQL (along with those that are newly interested in doing so) with the engineering, marketing and sales support they require. Functionality aside, what matters most to ISV’s is ready access to markets and customers – what’s known as “go to market” partnering with ISV’s has always been a long suit for Sun. So over the next few months, you’ll start to see a parade of new wins – which we’ll be winning with ISV’s, and with partners, arm in arm, across the world.

The big MySQL user conference is coming up, too – to which I’d like to invite all interested in the future of MySQL (partners, ISV’s, customers, developers, all). You can get more information here.

Now, although the feedback has been hugely positive, across the globe, there have been a couple snarky comments from a cynic here and there, whose concerns I thought I’d put to rest right here, once and for all.

There are still folks in the world who don’t believe there’s an economic model behind open source – they thus believe $1 billion is an outlandish price to pay for MySQL. The most extreme among them see Linux, OpenSolaris or companies like SugarCRM as nothing more than playgrounds for hobbyists.

Most of the IT world knows quite the opposite.

Companies that freely distribute their products, rather than limit access via pricing or proprietary licensing, are simply prioritizing adoption over immediate revenue – a good example of this is Microsoft’s recent attempt to revive adoption of their developer tools in universities by lowering some prices to free.

There is a clear economic model behind open source, eloquently summarized by Marten Mickos, MySQL’s CEO: the spectrum describing the marketplace spans those with more time than money, who form the user and developer communities around free software; and those with more money than time, who purchase commercial support contracts typically in more mature enterprises. To win in the long run, you have to win on both sides of the spectrum – with the same product. Crippling products, or sneaky licensing exceptions don’t work – freedom does.

In terms of the price we paid for MySQL (roughly $800m in cash, $200m in assumed options), we thought about it this way – first, the standalone business, unenhanced by Sun, was on a ramp to an IPO. The IPO would’ve been priced, by our calculations, at near the purchase price we paid. Remember, we’re buying a financial asset as well as a strategic one. We paid a control premium to convince their board to go with Sun, obviously. But then we figured we could amplify their success as a software company by aligning with Sun’s 17,000+ person global sales/service/support/channel organization – we can together reach a far broader customer set than MySQL could on their own, which generates upside for Sun. And, although a small (but growing) percentage of their downloads convert to purchase orders, 100% of those downloads require a hardware purchase – for many, a server and storage device (for just as many, a laptop). We’d like to believe we can earn some of that business with solutions optimized for MySQL – even if the end customer isn’t (yet) paying for software.

Finally, remember that database licenses often make up a considerable part of any company’s budget – to the extent we can introduce new options for those customers (even via the appearance of a well designed coffee mug on the procurement agent’s desk), we can free up budgets for new investments. Which drives more customers to seek out Sun – vendors that save money with better performance are well liked.

Net/net, we believe we paid a fair price (and all that said, remember, we’re not a monopsony).

Now, another concern forwarded to me was the conspiracy theory that wondered… as soon as a big company owns MySQL, surely they’ll adopt a nefarious proprietary license that levies extortionate rents for the simple act of storing and retrieving data?

Anyone who thinks that hasn’t be following Sun of late.

One reason the integration of Sun and MySQL has gone so smoothly is our development and business models are nearly identical – we both invest in very high quality free software and the cultivation of large communities, then turn our efforts to monetize at the point of value for companies that want commercial support. We’re peas in a pod.

And to prove the point – I would like to formally invite you to try MySQL, with a free download (just click the logo). While you’re at it, why not give Glassfish and NetBeans a swim around the tank, too… Web developers never had it so good…

It’s truly a great day for free software – and for the growing majority of companies across the globe that look to open solutions for choice, value and innovation.

I hope to see many of you at the MySQL Conference! I’m quite confident it’s going to be an interesting event for everyone.


Filed under General

54 responses to “MySQL is Officially a Part of Sun

  1. Krishnan Sengupta

    Great news!
    Will there be any plans to make Java hosting now affordable in the in the shared hosting space as suggested here?:

  2. Jonathan, thank you for the clear points about why giving the products away is good business. I especially like "prioritizing adoption vs. immediate revenue".

  3. Greetings & Well Wishes
    Iam an American residing here in Tidewater, Va. I really like your website, it’s design and displayed very nicely. However, since Iam Novell Specialist, I would like to ask you this good question: Is Sun MicroSystems still manufacturing Mainframe Hardware Computers & what O/S or O/Ss are you using to run them. Thank you for your time & Systems Tunning.
    Sincerely Your’s,
    Doug Bynum

  4. David

    Meanwhile, IBM introduced its new z10 mainframe today. The technology and price/performance gap between IBM and Sun continues to grow…

  5. Rob

    Great mug, where can I get one?

  6. Umberto

    Congratulations Johnathan for bringing such innovation and future ahead in the only dedicated open source company known as SUN MICROSYSTEMS.

  7. schwartzlovesyou

    Your analogy is one for the ages — time is money. I love that both Sun and MySQL save people time, and money. I mean, why purchase a license for a supported product, when you can pay for support only when you want to? I think people will pay for support out of the kindness of their hearts. Only good customers use open source software anyways.

  8. This are Great News.

  9. Johnathan:
    When we were putting the blue prints together for our Social Computing Appliance, we had a series of discussions with SUN for OEM, but to our surprise, we felt that SUN didn’t really put its best foot forward and we were compelled to look elsewhere.
    The synergies between our two companies are enormous. We felt a paternership between us would make for a great win-win.
    In the last few months that we have been selling Appliances, they have already made their way into the datacenters of 10 of Fortune 150 companies.
    I’d be anxious and very happy to discuss with you ideas I had on a joint partnership. We are a Silicon Valley DNA company, and passionate about open source and java.

  10. markmatthews

    Hi Johnathon,
    When will we see a non-GPL version of Connector-J?

  11. [Trackback] Many people often find it difficult to get their heads around how exactly open source companies survive, after all they give their product away for free. Today, one of the largest open source companies in the world, MySql AB, was purchased by Sun Micr…

  12. In true open source spirit I think you should give us all one of those cool mugs for free and then we’ll consider buying coffee off you to put into it.

  13. Awesome news! congratulations!

  14. David McDaniel

    Since you now have formal ownership of the IP, I think it would be a boffo idea to review the concepts and capabilities of Clustra. Some of the distribution, availability, speed, and federation capabilites would make MySQL a real product singularity.

  15. Steve

    Can we also expect Sun/PostgreSQL branded coffee mugs and posters in the future? Or is Sun planning on winding down your PostgreSQL efforts in favor of putting more emphasis on MySQL to customers and partners?

  16. Anonymous

    Re: Meanwhile, IBM introduced its new z10 mainframe today. The technology and price/performance gap between IBM and Sun continues to grow…
    Just wondering what the numbers would be for this comparison.

  17. Anantha

    Great, now I just hope your execution is more Afara than Cobalt (or pick any of the companies Sun has bought since the late 1980’s starting with Encore.) Good luck, you need it.

  18. James

    Steve, unfortunately I think we both know the answer to your question, Sun is now backing MySQL, an inferior database system, they made their choice. I’m sure some lip service will be paid to pgSQL support for a little while, but that will pass.

  19. The purchase was no doubt a great move for Sun. The sceptics will see that in the future.
    I think your post is missing one paragraph: I really would have liked to read your response to the (absolutely ridiculous in my opinion) theory that Oracle paid Sun to buy MySQL – I’m sure your response would have been quite entertaining.
    Keep up the great work!

  20. What Startup want
    Hi Jonathan ,
    We are a startup and we heavily use Sun and open source products like netbeans ,
    javadb , grizzly, linux etc and also SSE member .I am sharing my experiences and needs
    Rather selling your hardware to customers specially startups try selling CPU hours, after all Sun is the company who invented this phrase “Network is computer”
    Startups like US will never most probably see or setup their physical servers nor do we want to ….why because its waste of time and money .We dont need servers we need uptime , flexibility or ability to use computing power like electricity use as much as you want and when you want , so what makes more sense trying selling electrify plants to customer or supplying electricity to customers . So for stuff like cloud computing like amazon ec2 where its possible to provision a new Server with pre configured os image (os + application + configuration ) in minutes why would anybody buy a server, specially startups .Also have you ever configure LAMP is popular because of cheap commodity hosting and efficient managed tools like cpanel etc , you can get cheap hosting with 200 -400 gb of space of LAMP around 5-6 $ per month , try matching that to Java hosting .
    Good news is Sun already has hardware and Software catalog to do this
    My point is Sun should build a Cloud Computing service like Amazon Ec2 and integrate with its product like Netbeans (deployment , Image management ) , Solaris Containers and Virualization , ZFS (On demand storage like amazon’s s3), easy provisioning of mysql clusters,predefined and ready to use images for glass fish
    CTO Alabot
    You may also choose to our AI and NLP engine alabot ( for intuitive management and control, which allows users to talk to application over IM , mobile , web
    example user : Can pl initialize a new 4 core server instance with 16 gb Ram for next 4 hours or Can u send my server utilization report etc , In fact we already building one for amazon ec2 for our internal use

  21. Great mug, where can I get one?

  22. Great mugs. Where to get one?

  23. I remember many years ago going to a talk given by Richard Stallman. He made the same point about Free Software in the following terms: "By making the users give you money, you are disincentivising them from using your software".

  24. Dan

    Your letter "MySQL Acquisition Close: Customer Letter From Jonathan" uses light gray type on a white background. I suppose it said something interesting.
    Please don’t ever do that again.

  25. Zenwalker

    Hi Mr. Jonathan,
    Very amazing news you and your amazing company given to the world today. I am sure youll have a great success of all times. Keep innovating more and more. Grow Open Source Communities. Finally i wish to see Open Source communities and its supporter company such as Sun to rock in the global market.
    Keep it.

  26. Jerry

    At $1 billion, Sun paid less for the world’s leading open database company than Microsoft got fined today by the EU ($1.3 billion, $2.4 billion total) for being proprietary.

  27. Hi Jonathan,
    I was just wondering Do you actually read all these comments and reply to these or there is PR/Marcom team doing that 😉 ….and how many ideas have you actually implemented …some stats would be intresting …………

  28. Chad

    I do not understand how this fits with the fact that Sun already ships and supports PostgreSQL.

  29. Sambasivan

    Jonathan, Way to Go…
    Open Source will unlock value tremendously for Sun.

  30. Roy

    Can you buy AMD/ATI next?
    Thanks =)

  31. Raghunath

    Your sales team need to ask themselves a question how can we be helpful to customers?and how meet their needs in time with in their budget?
    Your chip design team should ask themselves a question how can i make processor that can compete with x86-64 in performance.
    Your chip manufacturing partner need to ask themselves a question how economical can be this manufacturing/assembly test/packaging can be?
    If all the above people get such thoughts in their mind then Sun will start growing in the market and Wall street will notice it.
    If Sun is holding on to it business it will not create any interest in them.
    Think how you can influence this as Leader , yes i meant more of Leader than CEO as need of the hour is strong motivational Leadership.
    Now let me ask you a question? how can I help to solve your problems/achieve goals?

  32. Paulo Costa

    "To win in the long run, you have to win on both sides of the spectrum – with the same product. Crippling products, or sneaky licensing exceptions don’t work – freedom does."
    Jonathan, wouldn’t this mean that Sun should end the dual offer StarOffice/, which confuses customers, and concentrate on only and a good enterprise support for it?

  33. Congratulation.
    I love Sun and MySQL.
    Good luck!

  34. sunnydelight

    I think you are finally taking Sun in the direction it is destined to go. Sun has been a hardware company for years, but now, you are going to make it into a successful software company. I think you are uniquely qualified to do this, since you started your career in a software company (I regret never having the opportunity to use your products), and through the years you have managed to gain the most experience understanding how to make free and immensely popular software within Sun.
    The MySQL acquisition is another example of your dedication to software, and, it shows where your priorities are (you seem to have given this priority over your Sparc products, which I would gladly see delayed a year if I can now get some commercial support from Sun for my MySQL databases).
    Other companies who ‘dabble’ in software clearly don’t have a plan as good as yours. Microsoft, Sun, IBM, Oracle, Adobe, and others are simply not up to the task of competing against open source software. It must be an honor for Sun to be providing this software to the world. Not only is it the best, but it is also free.
    Clearly, you are taking Sun in the direction that no-one else dares to go. That is the sign of great leadership.

  35. Zenwalker

    Hi Jonathan
    Please concentrate India and its fast growing IT sector in pledging Open Source Software and community awareness as well as Sun products deep into Indian IT market.
    Not only in India, as well as in Asia too. Most Indians are dumb stickers still sticking to M$ and thinks its the only stupid god present!
    So please change this thinking!

  36. Sun everywhere, here we come. 🙂

  37. Software Guy

    Sun’s support infrastructure is hardware oriented. I have to say your software (or middleware) product support is really really BAD. Are they qualified ? A typical Sun support engr can only ask customer run explorer, collect core dump, and never promise a schedule.
    Take a look at your field front. Sun’s Software and professional service people is leaving, or being forced to play with hard stuff. Hardware sales dominate. Everyday, they’re thinking how to throw more machine into customer side with whatever reason….now MySQL is another talking point.
    Whenever you say "software", it imply "Solaris". What’s the point of a rock solid OS ? A Sun Java Architect told me he was asked to get Solaris10 admin certified.
    Your Solaris10 may not crash once a year, but many J2EE app or containers may have several Oooops each month. The service money is going to the painful issue. Got it? Your support engineer should all get J2EE and App Server Certified !!
    Although some think your are trying make Sun a software company, I feel doubt. By what I see.
    About Sun-MySQL, congratulate and don’t screw it up.

  38. Thank you software guy

    Somebody speak out ! Thanks
    As a field delivery guy, I’m the only one who deliver "Software" project in this "country". Although my focus is IM (IDM + AM + LDAP), other JES product delivery and existing MA are coming to me. The worst thing is there’s JES partners in this "country". Many pre-PS guys delivered various projects across JES products and left, most now in pre-sale team, and they are "legally" not allowed to "deliver"(safe harbor).
    What’s wrong with this company ?
    The manager just don’t have idea on software project. It is not like server. Messaging Server differ from Web Server like X4200 machine differ from X4100 ?
    I urge top executive to re-think your software strategy. Keep it or not.

  39. Chris Peden

    Jonathan, where can I get one of those mugs? That would make morning coffee even better.

  40. An Inconvenient Truth

    The "cheaping out" of Sun Services is starting to show. The support people want to do the job they have been hired for, but attrition has hurt and there are no people in the pipeline. Exceptional support takes time. You work at it, no you PRACTICE it because it is a never ending loop of new, new, new and you had better have a sense of determination and dedication to succeed. Some of these support engineers have 20+ 30+ years in software support, training, networks, programming, etc. It doesn’t come from a "phone script". It certainly doesn’t come from an outsource partner whose people rotate through a revolving door.

  41. Can you buy AMD or ATI next ?

  42. Congrats to Sun and MySQL for officially completing the deal!
    I look forward to seeing what happens in the future.

  43. Kevin Hutchinson

    Here’s a useful link for anyone looking to run JRuby on Rails on Glassfish with MySQL:

  44. Wow, I like this new ides. MySQL becomes part of Sun, surely Sun will develop MySQL quicker that it will be before. Cong, good job.

  45. Sean

    Please buy AMD/ATI !

  46. Congrats go to Sun,
    This seems like a perfect fit MYSQL being ‘the’ open source database right now.
    We do a lot of MySQl integrations and it will be interesting to see if Java will become as popular with MySQL as PHP is. Very positive move by Sun I think.
    R. Hayes,
    Director (and ex Sun Employee)

  47. Jonathan,
    I went to grab a copy of Solaris the other day, and I noticed that has the following content:
    Use Solaris 10 for:

    Get the assurance of an
    advanced database", etc.
    To be sure, PostgreSQL is a wonderful product, a truck of an RDBMS, to be sure, but I’m thinkin’ that’s a good spot to tout MySQL.
    I’m just sayin’
    Justin Shoffstall

  48. wariola

    why you never talk anythg about Innotek acquisition on this blog? is it you are not serious abt it?

  49. Its great fantastic !!!!

  50. Anne

    I listened to what Greg and many others from Yahoo, Google, Oracle had discussed in a panel about what is next? There are some companies out there doing just that. Your progress continues, Congratulations! I am sure your company is interested in what’s next? It is happening now!

  51. Anon

    Good article… I posted this above in the Super Computer related article as well.
    SUN should buy Intuit… ! Port all business apps to GPL’d OS’s!
    And setup a partnership program with all the CPA’s (Associations) for sales and support of OpenSolaris (on SUN hardware, including a port of Intuit products to either LINUX or a GPLv3 OpenSolaris with NSA SELinux tech included)!
    It is predicted that the number of CPA’s are declining in numbers, as the schools are tuning out fewer of them, as not many students want to study in this field, and so the existing ones need a quick clean program to be able to service their customer base! Note that the reason why business keeps buying Quickbooks is that they need the tax table updates/support for the payroll parts of the application and they are forced to upgrade because of changes all the time to the MS OS. It is also a fact that many CPAs use Quickbooks payroll, as well to manage customer payrolls. Of course the integration with Tax software makes the CPA’s job easier as well.
    And being able to use MySQL, integrated with Quickbooks accounting engine, on an GPLv3 OpenSolaris platform, would interest 3rd party integrators/developers to use Quickbooks and build out from there!
    A whole new "SUNSPOT" for small and medium business idea could be born around this with hardware & software support in one package! And if you threw in a software service part that could work with MySQL, Tarantella (former), StarOffice, Solaris(OpenSolaris), etc… all tied into use with dedicated OPEN SUN software and hardware to match (using Tarantella, and not web or html, to access data via MIDS and UMPCs, all of course with the added security gained by the blocking of ports to the accounting machine (built-in) and mission critical apps (something that small and medium business does not do well), where only one port is allowed and the data stream is monitored for packets that are consistent with security rules).
    SunSpot… Oh – and one more additional promise to business, that Microsoft can’t provide… The thing that business wants is hardware that will be the same, that will mix and match the same processor, the same RAM, for 10 or more years (meaning that there is no problem to migrate between boxes when you want to upgrade, or suffer a direct lightning hit damaging equipment, of course using virtual sessions makes this easy too). There really is no reason to change the processor/drive/RAM/other hardware designs if the device is using very little electricity (green systems – Sun/Solar Spot systems from SUN)! The cost of energy for computing, must drop (it’s a CO2 thing), and it’s a budget thing too!

  52. Here’s an honest question:
    How does Sun explain free-sourcing to its own employees? Do
    you (not yet) pay them for real work on projects that have
    (not yet) turned a buck? And if you are paying them from
    corporate savings, then surely you understand that even
    payments in Rupees will, at some point, dry-up your company’s
    Companies often funnel money into something that will make them
    coin later down the road. But no company, to my knowledge,
    has ever made money of any significance by giving things away
    for free. Your employees — the ones that are left — are paid
    by your products that are actually sold for real money.
    I’ve watched many companies come and go in the Silicon Valley.
    But I was hoping that Sun Corporation wasn’t going to be one
    of them.

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