Open-Source Database Convergence: MySQL To Adopt SAP DB

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MySQL will take over development of SAP DB, the open-source database heretofore fielded by SAP, both companies said Tuesday.

Walldorf, Germany-based SAP will continue to offer the product, which will be renamed. Both databases are respected in the open-source world, but SAP DB, by virtue of its presence in SAP ERP accounts, is probably better-known in the enterprise, industry observers said.

"There are two interests merging. We wanted to increase the speed at which we adopt enterprise features in the product, and SAP would like to exit the database business," MySQL president Marten Mickos told CRN. "We've always had great grassroots user support--now we've struck a deal with one of the biggest enterprise software companies on the planet. It shows the world needs proprietary solutions, but it definitely also needs open source."

MySQL, working with SAP, will ensure interoperability between SAP DB and MySQL, he said.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but as part of the cross-licensing deal, MySQL is now a global technology partner of SAP, the companies said. The renamed SAP DB, like the existing MySQL, will be offered up both under the General Public License (GPL)--so common in the open-source world--and as a commercial product that costs $440 per server, they said.

The renamed SAP DB is slated to ship by the fourth quarter, the companies said in a statement. Under the GPL, all tweaks and applications developed for the database must be released to the community. That restriction does not hold true on commercial versions.

SAP's R/3 ERP software runs on most common databases, with an estimated 60 percent of its customers using Oracle, the company said. SAP DB currently supports Linux (Intel), Windows NT/2000/XP, IBM AIX, Sun Solaris, Tru64 Unix and HP-UX. OS/390, ZLinux and Microsoft .Net are also expected to be supported in the near future, according to information on the SAP DB Web site. Of 1,100 SAP DB customers, an estimated 40 percent run the database on Linux, according to SAP.

While MySQL is typically positioned as a commodity database that works in concert with higher-end offerings from Oracle or IBM, that perception is flawed, solution providers said. They believe MySQL is increasingly coming into its own as a full-fledged competitor. (See story.)

Solution providers with a Linux affinity were bullish on the SAP-MySQL deal.

"This is a great idea. The SAP DB stuff was underrated. . . . It was kind of late and they didn't make enough noise about it," said Anthony Awtrey, vice president at I.D.E.A.L. Technology, an Orlando, Fla.-based solution provider. "It's not so much that a product isn't enterprise-ready but that people don't believe it's enterprise-ready. This should help that perception."

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