MySQL Launches All-You-Can-Eat Enterprise Support

The open-source database vendor on Tuesday launched an all-you-can-eat enterprise support option for its database for $40,000 a year. MySQL's usual enterprise support agreement costs $3,000 per server per year, and the a la carte option launched in November is still available, said Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of products for the Cupertino, Calif.-based company.

If the $40,000 figure rings a bell, that's because it's the list price of the Oracle enterprise database SKU. Oracle service and support costs about 22 percent of the list license price per year.

MySQL's price tag covers as many servers as a company can deploy plus includes 24x7 phone and Web support, hot fixes, patches, emergency coverage and knowledgebase access, Urlocker said.

As always, MySQL walks a fine line between head-on competition and collaboration with the Oracle database juggernaut.

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"From a technical perspective, we're not saying switch off Oracle servers or migrate. It's a great database. But the business model of paying millions of dollars for enterprise software -- we think something's wrong there," Urlocker said.

"If you need all that functionality, great. But for a lot of people, that's overkill," he added. "We want people to understand there are alternatives. Many of our customers have [IBM] DB2, Oracle and our stuff, so they co-exist."

A privately held company, MySQL has been planning an initial public offering for some time. In a statement, the company said it added more than 2,500 new customers in the past year.

As an open-source product, MySQL competes with Pervasive and PostgreSQL, as well as Oracle's free Oracle Database 10g Express Edition.

Oracle is something of a wild card in the open-source database mix. MySQL CEO Marten Mickos has said he expects Oracle to launch a MySQL support option. Oracle launched a similar attack last fall on Red Hat Linux.