MySQL Wins at LinkedIn!

I was with a customer last week, who leads technology and operations for one of the world’s largest companies. We were talking through his priorities for the upcoming year, and on a page filled with various traditional priorities (consolidation, energy management, disaster recovery, regulatory compliance) were two interesting words.


“Open Source.”


I asked what that meant, why it was there. He said they’d done an audit of the firm’s development activities, and found an overwhelming number (“hundreds”) of open source


projects that had been completed behind the scenes, beyond management’s oversight. The projects were designed to solve problems deemed too expensive or difficult to solve with proprietary technologies – from meeting a tough budget, to automating a new process. And rather than fight the trend, they figured it was delivering real benefit, something to explore more fully. And they were asking for Sun’s help.

I’m seeing this with nearly every customer I meet, the invisible hand of open source – communities of individuals equally devoted to their employers, and to personal and peer productivity. These communities, within companies as well as across industries, are solving problems without having to involve procurement (while religiously adhering to policies surrounding privacy, intellectual property protection and software licensing). They’re delivering unquestionable value.


Now, is unprescribed technology usage all that unusual in the workplace? I don’t think so – it’s similar to choosing your favorite search engine or social network, choices we all make (even CIO’s) without purchase orders, that definitely bear on workplace productivity. Most progressive CIO’s are trying to embrace this trend rather than fight it, figuring out how they can mandate as little as possible, not as much as possible – selecting only the most critical policies and standards to drive efficiency or compliance.



The invisible hand of open source adoption is definitely changing IT, and it’s changing Sun’s market opportunity – in software, servers and storage systems. Before Sun acquired them, MySQL had already established themselves among the world’s open source communities, and invisibly penetrated an enormous breadth of companies across the world. From where I sit, the acquisition changed MySQL’s standing not so much among developers, but among traditional technology decision makers – by bridging the divide that separated them. A well adopted product became a safe choice for enterprise deployment. The acquisition opened new doors and business dialog – we’ve seen a substantive increase in sales and download activity since it was announced. We’ve also seen a fair number of CIO’s, as above, asking their teams – “where are we using MySQL?” The answers are always interesting.


As those conversations transition to sales cycles for MySQL Enterprise subscriptions (for those seeking mission crtiical support, eg), the number one question I get asked by traditional customers has become… “…but does MySQL scale?”



And there’s no better way of putting that question to rest than citing the global businesses powered by MySQL – at least one of which is often used by the very individual asking the question: LinkedIn. Click here to read how Sun and LinkedIn are working together to serve one of the world’s largest, most valuable, and fastest growing social networks – at truly global scale.


At the pace LinkedIn is growing, they will be managing services to far more accounts than most of the world’s banks… and building exceptional value along the way. (And if you haven’t signed up yet, you really ought to…)

37 Comments

Filed under General

37 responses to “MySQL Wins at LinkedIn!

  1. Anonymous

    Jonathan,
    It all sounds nice and neat. But, as an investor, I have to ask: Where is the beef?

  2. Joe Awesome

    The question shouldn’t be, "does MySQL scale", it should be "HOW does MySQL scale?"
    I can scale out any database with a lot of time and manual work. What I’m looking for are technologies that help the database do that work for me.
    That being said, I don’t know the particular limitations of MySQL since I’m more of a Postgres guy, but as far as I can tell we’ve got a long way to go…
    Still, every little bit helps.

  3. Kevin Hutchinson

    On last quarter’s earnings conference call I think you implied that Sun would soon be releasing its own cloud computing type of solution for Web 2.0 type businesses, but things have been quiet since. Is MySQL a part of this cloud vision? Can you give any details about how this will compete with Google’s AppEngine (e.g. BigTable), Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) and others. Is this "Project Caroline", "Project Hydrazine", or something else entirely? When do you think you’ll make it generally available? I’ll tune in on Friday evening to hear how things are going.

  4. Franci

    Maybe it is not case but why login @ https://www.linkedin.com/secure/login returns "Connection Interrupted
    The connection to the server was reset while the page was loading.
    The network link was interrupted while negotiating a connection. Please try again."

  5. ilovemysql

    This is amazing, I love LinkeIn! Now, I think all the other social networking sites will have to jump on the bandwagon and start to use MySQL. This is the most significant open source win ever!

  6. I am surprised you don’t steer customers to PostgreSQL when they are worried about scale. We find that many of our Enterprise customers (especially IT people) are looking for a chance to tryout PostgreSQL as a possible replacement for Oracle. We don’t hear that regarding MySQL. Also, as a software vendor who must support several database options for customers, we find that MySQL has trouble with nested action queries that are easily handled by PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server and iAnywhere. And here’s the kicker: Sun can earn the same Enterprise subscription revenue off PostgreSQL as MySQL.

  7. Well

    Do you know a MySQL fork Drizzle (http://krow.livejournal.com/602409.html)
    for web applications just announced by former MySQL employees.
    While Sun trying to make MySQL more suitable for Enterprise, Drizzle heads to
    different direction:
    1) Web based apps.
    2) Cloud components.
    3) Databases without business logic (aka stored procedures).
    4) Multi-Core architecture.
    It will push MySQL in between Postgresql and Drizzle, lose its position.
    So please don’t screw up the 1B acq again.

  8. Hi Jonathan … iam a big fan of Sun Servers and Solaris, I work as Infra Administrator, of servers from Sun, HP, etc. I was waiting for a big … big … BIG … BIG comment of the new processors US64 vii … and nothing happend ……
    The big bussiness of sun is hw … at least it deserves a comment …
    What about Rock ???’ … we need yo change an old 15K and 25K, and we are waiting for the rigth moment. don’t be late ….

  9. Jonathan – I just stumbled upon your blog, and lucky for me that I did. First of all, in my work I specialize in helping people become more passionate and energized, therefore when I see someone who is highly energized I recognize it immediately. Your passion jumps off the page. Truly inspiring. Second, I’ve been meaning to join Linkedin, so thanks for the encouragement!

  10. stevengeorge

    One of Jonathan’s best blog that I’ve read. My SQL is a very interesting product and perspective on the database and data center. It may not be for everyone, but it adds to the discussion and is good have on the table.

  11. Colorado Harry

    The world is not only Open Source. Some ISVs which supported Linux in the past are stopping to support Linux now. Reason, no customer demand.
    But really does it make sense to compete with Oracle??? From a technical point of view Sun can’t, from a marketing and sales point of view Oracle is a giant. What Sun could loose? The installed hardware base which Oracle is running on. Guess much more money than MySQL will leverage in 10 years.

  12. Think of Sun

    Being in touch with customers, and being aware of (and perhaps sharing) their concerns, is a necessary part of management – so, congratulations on that.
    Where I find your view totally lacking is there’s no mention of how Sun profits from this.
    So, Open Source
    -is good for the community
    -helps customers cut costs
    -allows others to participate in other companies software development
    However, Sun is supposed to be a PROFIT-MAKING organization, not simply a charitable public service corporation.
    Shareholder value has been destroyed by 50%+ in the last year.
    Unless/until Sun management change to their mindset to "this is good for the community AND this is how we’re going to profit from it", then we’ll continue sinking

  13. ElderTwelve

    Hey Think of Sun, you should read the release – LinkedIn is a CUSTOMER, not simply a user, they are PAYING Sun MONEY FOR PRODUCTS. Are you a Sun employee? Sometimes it feels like your own employees are the biggest cynics about where Sun’s headed.

  14. BuzzCut

    Stop blaming the economy, no one else is having a problem in the US, it’s just made up to give you an excuse. You and VMware just can’t execute.

  15. HeWlEtTpAcKaRd

    So, you guys won linkedin? Well, did I tell you that we own EDS, as of today. Good luck selling now.
    Muwahahahaha muwahahahahhh ahahahah muwahahahha

  16. Lewis Clarke

    Awesome stuff and great progress. Can’t wait to see what’s next. Keep up the great work!

  17. Matěj Cepl

    Yeah, this is really nice blog post, except for http://gnu.wildebeest.org/diary/2008/08/01/the-javafx-trap/ … you know sometimes words are pretty cheap.

  18. MySQL is a very interesting product and perspective on the database and data center. Keep up the great work!

  19. Think of Sun

    Elder Twelve – I’m a Sun shareholder and what I see is that since acquiring Sun shares (2-3 years ago) they’ve continually lost me money.
    Perhaps we should stay away from Marketing/PR announcements and look at publicly available facts.
    Namely, Sun shares are down over 1 and 5 years much more than IBM, HP, Dell, Microsoft. For example, HP UP over 100% in 5 years, Sun DOWN 38% over the same period. IBM are UP over both 1 and 5 years.
    Even in a difficult economic climate, those companies are managing to control costs and make money, Sun aren’t.

  20. TB

    Perhaps it’s time for Sun to buy back some of it’s own stock–It’s pretty cheap.

  21. Keith Brown

    Hmmm…. "The invisible hand of open source adoption", eh?. Well… It certainly appears to be invisible on your Income Statement, doesn’t it?!

  22. A Close Observer

    Elder Twelve,
    The problem is that Sun’s management aren’t able to articulate how it’s strategy will produce revenue in the near/intermediate term and, even worse, there are no results. It’s hard to be bullish on JAVA in the absence of either.
    Sun has lost market share *each and every quarter* under Schwartz’s leadership. And if you think I’m being too harsh on Schwartz (i.e., it’s only been two years), consider (1) that it didn’t take Gerstner or Hurd this long to show positive results at IBM and HP and, (2) Schwartz was COO for two years prior to becoming CEO. His fingerprints are on 4+ years of losses (both profits and market share).
    It’s unconscionable that the board hasn’t made a change yet. They obviously haven’t clearly thought through their fiduciary responsibility to shareholders, or their personal liability as directors exercising too lax oversight.

  23. A Close Observer

    A key component of Jonathon’s strategy to build Sun’s business is to acquire 15,000 new customers this year. Traditionally, these kinds of customer acquisition initiatives have yielded a single purchase, then no additional.
    Jonathon wants to acquire these 15,000 new customers while they’re still in their dorm rooms – to capture the next Facebook or MySpace. I call this his Lottery Ticket strategy. He’s going to buy 15,000 lottery tickets and hope that one pays off.

  24. Kebabbert

    I want to discuss some strategy.
    Linux grows so quickly because people try it at home for free. They become accustomed to it and bring it their work.
    Solaris is now free so this is the right way to go. More and more discover Solaris and ZFS and wants to bring it to their work. To make Solaris easier for home users, you need to make it easy to use. OpenSolaris is the right way to go. Continue this way.
    BUT. You need to bundle video and MP3 codecs with Solaris. It is a major pain to watch video and MP3 for a casual Solaris home user. This is important. People are using ZFS for setting up a home file server for free, but to replace Linux, they need Solaris easy to use. Video codecs. Fix that. Pay the royalties.
    And, to earn big money, "masses always beats classes". Microsoft are in widespread use, and cheap. They earn little money, but sell lots. Thats the way to go. The opposite, to sell a few super computers a year is not a good way to make profit. You should sell more and cheaper. Maybe a value line. Or a new cheap SUN brand but with a different name? Just as Cisco and Netgear(?).

  25. MySQL is one of the positive examples of open source. However, I find that far too many people go for open source due to short term advantages (e.g., it is free), without adequate consideration of the full cost/benefit considerations and the long term implications.
    To begin with, to a certain extent you get what you pay for. If the package is free, then the support and service is going to be limited as there is no funding for it. Not many people would buy a commercial package with no guaranteed support, so likewise they should carefully consider this for open source.
    Secondly, although packages such as MySQL have a large development and user community, many other open source packages have a limited development community. Often the development and support community is largely driven and organised by a single individual or small group of individuals. When these people move on, even though the design community may still exist, the driving force to make it effective is lost. This is much less likely with a commercially successful package, which is protected by past financial investment and commercial commitments and future revenue streams. When looking at open source, one must ensure that the support and development community is sufficiently large and diverse that this is not an issue.
    One also needs to consider the purchase price savings, in light both of the total cost of the project and in light of potential risks. A hypothetical example: an open source accounting package for free or a commercial one for $10000. The former provides a substantial day-1 saving. However, if one has 3 staff using the package full time (moderately large company) to input information then the labour costs alone are about $300 000 per year. So the $10 000 saving is trivial in the bigger picture. A commercial package which has a 5% more efficient interface will more than pay for itself in less than a year on labour cost savings alone. Also, support and documention limitations typically asssociated with open source can easily cost more than the initial savings.
    As a software integrator, my experience makes me very wary of open source. There are of course noteable exceptions (such as MySQL). However, in most cases I find that commercial packages are a better long-term business decision than open source.
    I’m also wary of people why say they they will try open source and if it doesn’t work out they will switch to a commercial package. Although this is possible, the costs of migrating data, changing procedures and modifying interfaces to other software can be prohibitive.
    Am I’m being overly negative about open source? Perhaps so. However, it is a reaction to the overly optimistic and niave approach that I often see to this subject.

  26. Sun Fan

    Jonathan,
    Your open source vision will take time but it is the right path for Sun. You and the BOD deserve Kudos for sticking with the strategy during this "storm". You could have easily reverted to what Wall Street wanted but true visionaries have what it takes to stick to their guns. Keep the faith.

  27. Still a shareholder

    Ironic that Sun does not use mySQL for ibis rather prefers to pay hundreds of millions to Oracle!
    Please eat your own dog food first.

  28. wanderer

    To kill and criticize something positive but not completely capitalistic or commercial is easy. To have a foresight and support that, which will brighten the future is rare.

  29. dave

    @ Sun Fan – right on🙂
    To Jonathan: this week I purchased my first Sun Server (entry-level x86). Not much, but it’s a start. A Solaris 10 contract will be next as soon as I can manage it. Eight short months ago I barely knew who Sun were and what they did. Thanks to the software products being open there was no barrier to entry and exposure to some amazing technologies, which simply would not have been possible nor practical any other way (for me).
    To quote Steve Ballmer (sorry!) – "I love this company!"😀

  30. Another Observer

    I couldn’t agree more with "a close observer". As a very longtime investor with incredible losses to show for it we have to cut through the ideology of it all. As a publicly traded and owned company the CEO and BoD have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. I also do not understand why the BoD is not more aggressive on setting and meeting milestones by the CEO, CFO and
    EVP of Sales (especially the VP of US Sales).
    As "a close observer" mentioned, HP and IBM have made things work but not without some courageous changes. Does Sun have the mettle?
    I used to think it did…..

  31. Hi Mr. Schwartz,
    Interesting Reading the blog comments on MySQL.
    This MySQL Stuff and Open Source… Its great stuff. I’m hearing rumors about IBM DB2 being open source soon, we got IBM doing support for that if it does become fruitful. Guess which becomes a better data warehouse? MySQL or DB2? DB2 also does come out to have strong Management Tools, not to mention its good integration with popular Business Intelligence Tools – Picture the power of Cognos. I bet its not only IBM under Open Source pressure. If not open source their products, other vendors will make suitable prices for purchase of their software and licensing. MS SQL Express Edition is a good start for small and medium sized businesses, then we have MySQL Enterprise and SQL Server Enterprise – Tool support, Business Intelligence, etc etc. Who wins? Coz believe me, the CEO and CFO and CIO all look at a database from two major points of view – Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing.
    I know, core business is the Hardware, and then there is all that stuff about Economic recession and all that stuff guys say are "excuses", evident or not. You don’t seem to get it. You got all the Key Strategic Infrastructure in place. The best you can do is use Software to sell your Hardware, better still make sure you get Software as a major strategy for you. Invest in the development of Open Source software development in the areas of Business Intelligence and Data Warehousing and Tools support, that way you don’t only get the Software Market, you get an excuse to push out openSolaris on SPARC. And if Open Source revenue does get to its peak for Sun, you may call hardware a "Secondary" concern. Just get the Software Strategy right. Customers don’t want to know what you can do, they want to know how they can get results. A mix of PR (Open Source, i.e.) and Correct Software Strategy, will get you results. Its interesting to note that you got all the Infrastructure in place for all this.

  32. Your open source vision will take time but it is the right path for Sun. You and the BOD deserve Kudos for sticking with the strategy during this "storm". You could have easily reverted to what Wall Street wanted but true visionaries have what it takes to stick to their guns. Keep the faith.http://www.kswchina.com

  33. Arthur

    @Still a shareholder
    Since when does Sun use its own products? I was at Sun Tech Days. Not a single Solaris user among the speakers and almost all were Sun employees. Unbelievable!
    Look at the sreenshots throughout the Sun network and the blogs. Nobody uses Opensolaris although it is great.
    How can convince others to use your products if not even your own employees are using them?

  34. dave

    @ Arthur
    Au contraire, I have the Sun Blogs permanently bookmarked, and many, many users are using OpenSolaris. I’m not going to use the blog of Sun’s CEO to cite examples, merely point out that you should look a bit harder before making blanket statements…although it’s nice we agree that OpenSolaris is great🙂

  35. Ogutu Ochieng

    Sun has great products but what are you doing about support in Africa? People chose HP over sun not because it has superior products but because it has excellent support. You continue like this, sun will be history very soon in Africa. Very soon!

  36. Open Source Open Question

    Here’s an open question to Jonathan or anybody else that can answer it.
    Can you show me any FACTUAL relationship between the growth in Open Source within Sun and growth in profits ?
    Given Sun have been Open Source for many years (5+ ?) but their share price has DECLINED over the last 5 years, this should be interesting to see.
    (And, please, spare me the "Open Source WILL make money, it’s just a matter of – unlimited – time")

  37. Respondent

    To the question from "Open Source Open Question," well, let’s look at the facts.
    Sun’s operating profits are up. Its cash flow is up. Its gross margins are up. So it seems like they’re making more money today, in an open source world, than they were 4 years ago, in a proprietary world. Open source is a vehicle to drive adoption of your products (which seems to be working for Niagara and your x64 products), so you can better monetize datacenters that run those products.
    But you’re confusing share price with profits – and they’re not tied together. What matters more to Wall St. right now is revenue growth, and with the US economy in the drink, growth seems hard for you all to come by.

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