Thursday, January 17, 2008

SUN acquires MySQL, Day2

I am trying really hard to get it.

So I have retreated to my batcave, I have put on my thinking cap, I have closed off the door so I could think more than 23 seconds without being interrupted by the kids. I have reach that inner zen point where the walls are transparent and I can see, I can see where the industry is headed. I have called good friends in the industry to get their perspective, I have expensed great brain power to analyze the implications SUN/MySQL merger. I have come up with this:

ABSOLUTELY ZILCH.

I must be getting old and out of touch, the dark side, everything clouds, because you know $1B is a billion dollar and Pony Tail Boy is no dummy. SO I read his blog, someone explained the transcript to me but I feel like Harry Seldon in "The Foundations" series when the diplomat visits: 30 minutes of words later and I still don't have any signal. I recheck my equipment but sorry, I come up with ZILCH.

So I will repeat the party line as if I had understood it.

MySQL is everywhere (true). They had flat revenues because they couldn't monetize their installed base due to lack of services (probably true). SUN will be able to monetize this by bringing to bear a huge structure that gets it and will sell, sell, sell (maybe if they don't mess up the integration and SUN has a really bad track record here but whatever). The most insightful thing I have heard from a good friend is "the margins on MySQL will be higher than anything they have seen in hardware".

So I turn to other aspects of analysis. Vanity provides some avenue of progress. PTB's quote that this is "the most significant acquisition for SUN" points to a CEO wanting to make his mark on the company he heads. It is vanity, but in this particular case, vanity served by intelligence so it is worthy of praise as it shows COJONES.

The most signal I get is in marketing. For anyone that doubted that SUN wanted to be a software company, this is it. I mean how more serious a signal do you need. SUNW makes 13B in hardware and is saying loud and clear: software is our future.

Because, unlike IBM and ORACLE they have NO SW business to speak off, they can embrace OSS fully. Fair enough. All I have to say to them is God Speed to them.

PS: And now I am going to speak some heresy: maybe, just maybe this help SUN get off the Java wagon a bit and embrace PHP, Ruby and all these non-java thingies, because you know, JBoss got RedHat onto the Java wagon and that was a good thing so maybe the vice-versa work too. Right? remember there is more than Java to LAMP, he he.

22 comments:

John Koenig said...

Maybe one reason Sun acquired MySQL is Sun's way of going after Oracle, who has been damaging Sun the past few years with Oracle RAC (Real Application Clustering) on Linux servers. In short, companies who buy Oracle to run application clusters didn't need Sun servers anymore. Maybe now it will be Sun's turn to put some hurt on Oracle licensing by offering MySQL for the enterprise.

Before Oracle offered RAC, many Oracle customers ran Oracle clusters on Solaris. This made Sun and Oracle good friends. But when Oracle started offering RAC for Linux (Linux doesn't have clustering itself), customers no longer needed Solaris servers to do Oracle clustering. They could do it on Linux servers running Red Hat Enterprise. This made Sun and Oracle worse friends.

There was an analyst report on this topic a in 2004 discussing how Electronic Arts bought Oracle RAC for the SIMs online game, running it on Linux servers. Electronic Arts saved about $1.5 million. Even at that, Oracle made about an extra $1 million selling Electronic Arts the RAC license. If Electronic Arts had bought standard Oracle on Solaris, they would have paid an extra $2.5 million for the Sun hardware to get the equivalent Solaris clustering.

Oracle has reported in the past that the Oracle RAC for Linux license fees provide substantial income to Oracle.

Of course, there are arguments about MySQL not being robust enough, or not as robust as Oracle. But MySQL seem to support Yahoo, Google, and the SaaS vendor applications okay. With Sun salespeople visiting the customer CIO's office, maybe support questions and mission criticality concerns about MySQL won't come up anymore.

For this acquisition, all the due diligence was probably completed for MySQL to file for an IPO. Doesn't look like the market timing for a IPOs is right at the moment. Sun put an offer on the table. The situation was right for MySQL AB.

Marcf said...

John,

you are probably right, thanks for the informed view. It is the going after ORA that as difficult for me and you provide a motive here although I would want to see a breakdown of the real numbers of ORA on Linux/Solaris before I believe this is a defensive move on SUN's part. Those numbers would need to be close to nothing.

Yes the IPO was going to be filed but the growth was not that attractive for a "growth" company. I mean ORA delivers 40% growth on a MONSTER. See my other thread about OSS b-model limits.

Subconscious Mind said...

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ZUrlocker said...

Marc,
no MySQL revenues were not flat. Growth was very good. But the combination of MySQL + Sun will accelerate that growth even further. It is a great strategic fit. Sun is betting heavily on open source software and in that sense, it has been a significant signal to the market. And I agree, Jonathan has cojones.

--Zack

douglas dooley said...

Marcf,

What do you think about Zend, apologies if I have missed a post on this prior to, but it seems that its valuation just went up dramatically, although Sun is certainly going to stick with Glassfish, would another vendor want a different type of app server to deliver on the non-Java platform?...

dd

Marcf said...

Don't mean to do a plug here but if you look at what I am involved with over at Appcelerator (www.appcelerator.com) you will see that I believe that cross language widgets is an important approach. Someone that aims to be at the center of the web NEEDS to be language agnostic because you know, it is not all java out there. Appcelerator delivers .Net, Ruby, PHP, Java and that is the way to go.

BTW this links to the thread I have with Matt Asay which is that the problem with current OSS companies is that they are PRODUCT companies and so we end up spending a lot of effort convincing people to use OUR stuff vs other stuff. But with OSS people make up their OWN mind and so that train has left the station.

A service based OSS company with the head of projects (Professional Open Source type) wouldn't suffer from that problem.

Marcf said...

Hey Zack,

Good to hear from you, and thanks for the correction. Also congratulations on the sale.

Keep it real.

NPE said...

What about PTBs last sentence in his blog post?

Shaun Connolly said...

I agree on the Java, PHP, Ruby, etc., etc. running on scalable enterprise Java platform.

Savio covers cloud-based computing models (and how MySQL may fit there).
http://weblog.infoworld.com/openresource/archives/2008/01/more_thoughts_o.html

I believe these two reasons fit together.

John's point re: Oracle RAC may make some sense when cast within a cloud-based deployment scenario. Not so much on big iron RAC installations since that is not MySQL's shtick.

Marcf said...

NPE...

starting with the letter M? meaning there are more to come?

maybe

Marcf said...

Shaun,

probably right: they are covering an area with RAC is weak. But let's face it there is going to be a HUGE overlap...

jck said...

shaun,

This article is a pretty good reference for my position.

Shaun Connolly said...

John,

The article you link to is good background on how scale out vs scale up is key in database race. I get that. While MySQL is not mentioned in the article you reference, I can logically extrapolate how MySQL can become a dark horse in this particular race.

The missing piece for me is how Sun helps them towards this end. OK...Sun has $$'s....but do they have additional tech that they will bring to the MySQL database game? That's my missing "aha!" piece of this Sun buys MySQL equation.

Maxwell Ferris said...

No one uses MySQL, they are a total niche provider used by college kids and programmer wannabes. And Sun's proprietary Solaris operating system is no match for the power of RED HAT's truly open source Linux, partnering with Oracle on the future of freedom and innovation. Oracle + Red Hat is the future, not toys and proprietary OS's.

aarone said...

Reward buyout.

Sun has already made a fortune off of MySQL. So has Oracle, so have Microsoft, Redhat, IBM, and Cisco.

Sun isn't really trying to make money off of MySQL, they're trying to make money off of the *next* MySQL. I don't know what that is. But it will be open source, and it will increase productivity immensely. It will, as Bob Young say "grow the pie."

Before MySQL there were two types of databases, Oracle and Access. Oracle was really good and Access had a lot of users. MySQL currently has *way* more users than Access did when MySQL came on the scene, and MySQL now is probably a better database than Oracle was then.

That's not saying MySQL is so great, but that technology has come a long way. Did Oracle in 1995 have some features that MySQL doesn't? Sure.

Whether you're using Postgres, SQLite, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, HSQLD, Firebird, Derby, or whatever, you're benefiting from the popularity of MySQL. If you're still using Progress, dBase, or Sybase, maybe not.


My point is that MySQL did for databases what Netscape did for the internet, what Apache did for web servers, what Star Office did for alternate word processors, what Sendmail did for email servers, and what JBoss did for J2EE.

In the startup investment averse climate these days, acquisition is the way the market rewards innovation. You of all people should be aware of that, Marc. But perhaps you're a little too close.

Despite the real value that JBoss brings to Redhat, (and perhaps MySQL will bring to Sun) the biggest reason for its acquisition is making you rich.

Because when the next Marc Fleury comes along with a silly idea to quit his job and move into his in-laws' garage for a year to work on an idea he has for some open source application that will vastly increase the market size of technology X, the RedHats and Suns (and Ciscos and Dells) of the world want him to succeed. Or at least believe he's got a shot.

Redhat itself was probably the biggest reward acquisition of all time. Only it was an IPO climate then. People wanted to reward Bob Young, and Alan Cox, and Linus Torvards, Tim O'reilly, and many open source folks they knew (or hoped) were in on the IPO.

That's not to say the market always does what it wants or is always rational. Not everyone with a great (and successful) idea is always rewarded. Eric Allman, by all rights, should be almost as rich as Marc Andressen. While I doubt he's doing too badly, I'd say email was as at least as big of a productivity gain as the browser. Maybe its because sendmail wasn't as revolutionary as Netscape, or because it was open source, or because he had more modest ambitions, or greater risk aversion.

While I worry about JBoss "stagnating" at Redhat or MySQL "floundering" at Sun or Tangosol getting "buried" at Oracle, I'm not too worried. Because these products have already made huge productivity gains, and even if they died instantly on acquisition, they've already done the damage of 1) releasing their ideas and 2) showing other bright young entrepeneurs it can be done.

If only my in-laws had a garage.

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