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Next MySQL Database Coming Up In 2Q, CEO Says

MySQL is on track to deliver version 5 of its database in the second quarter, according to CEO Marten Mickos.

The MySQL database, in alpha test for a year, promises support for stored procedures, triggers and views--all features on the wish list of larger companies. MySQL co-founders David Axmark and Michael "Monty" Widenius touted the new release and its potential at the company's user conference last year, and will likely reprise that at this year's meeting in April.

MySQL, along with PostgreSQL, is a favorite among the open-source database crowd, who say those offerings could encroach on database standbys such as Oracle and IBM DB2.

Chris Maresca, co-founder of Olliance Group, Palo Alto, Calif., said PostgreSQL is favored by users who need sophisticated database functions such as those found in commercial proprietary offerings. "They want the kind of complex transaction controls, table-level dependencies and triggers that Postgres has and MySQL doesn't," he said.

In an interview at LinuxWorld in Boston, Mickos acknowledged some MySQL-to-PostgreSQL movement, but shrugged it off. "They [PostgreSQL] absolutely try to be an Oracle replacement. We do not. We're here for new markets," Mickos told CRN.

"When we say we want the enterprise, we target new needs [within large companies]," he said, adding that areas of focus include data warehousing and dynamic content, intranets and extranets.

Earlier this week, MySQL unveiled a subscription support model in the hope of attracting enterprise accounts.

Mickos said MaxDB, the database MySQL took over from SAP two years ago, is a more direct rival to PostgreSQL and remains strong in SAP accounts.

Pervasive Software, a commercial software company that threw its weight behind PostgreSQL earlier this year, said Tuesday that its version of PostgreSQL version 8 is now available for download from the Pervasive Web site.

PostgreSQL is typically distributed under the BSD license, so that developers who want to distribute it with their own products can do so. "Anyone or any company can redistribute it as they wish ... install it, bundle it in their software and not pay a cent," said Robby Russell, owner of Planet Argon, a Portland, Ore. developer in the PostgreSQL camp.

"As a programmer, I side with PostgreSQL because it gives my clients the flexibility to take the work I do and resell it as a complete package...whereas with MySQL, they would have to purchase a license that would allow them to do this," he said.

With MySQL, a developer bundling the database in a product, he has to use--and pay for--the commercial version.

On the proprietary database side, others maintain that momentum for full-featured--and full-priced--databases remains strong. "We only see MySQL when we're replacing it," said Ron Zapar, president of Re-Quest, a Chicago-based Oracle partner.

Such posturing comes at an interesting time in the database world. Microsoft is still struggling to get its Yukon release of SQL Server out the door as promised this summer, a time frame many industry observers deem unlikely. Beta three, due out next month, is expected to include Microsoft's newly acquired ActiveViews ad hoc query technology.

And on another front, resellers said Oracle and IBM eventually must adapt their database licensing policies to account for a new generation of Intel multicore microprocessors. Microsoft has said it will let users run its software, including SQL Server, on the multicore CPUs without an additional charge. Traditional Oracle and IBM licensing would charge more for the use of such chips.

One database solution provider, who requested anonymity, said it's inevitable that Oracle and IBM will follow Microsoft's lead on the multicore issue. "Oracle will absolutely have to move but in the meantime will maximize the revenue it can get as long as it can," he said.

Oracle is pushing its database on Linux as a way to cut total cost for end users. But the enterprise version of Oracle 10G costs $40,000 per CPU, plus $20,000 per CPU for clustering. At some point, customers may wonder why they're paying that much for software running on servers that cost a few thousand dollars, several solution providers say.

Mickos said the multicore issue won't affect MySQL. For the commercial version of MySQL, the company charges by the server, not per CPU, he said.

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