20 April 2009

Sunrise, Sunset. Game, set, match

Well, the other shoe dropped. Oracle has bid for Sun. In my tracking of speculation, Oracle had more weight than IBM. And so it as turned out. This might end up being a problem for IBM.

IBM has made MySql one of the databases on its iSeries (nee: AS/400). Interesting to see how that goes. The not often mentioned fly in the MySql ointment had been the transactional engine, InnoDB, was own by Oracle for some time, and the putative replacement, Falcon (which wasn't very transactional by design) died aborning.

Assuming this gets past regulatory complaints, and there could be due to the fact that MySql represents a measurable fraction of installed databases. Since it is "free" software, sort of, using common measures such as license fees and similar will make the calculation fuzzy, but a case could be made (and I expect that IBM will make it) that Oracle will control too much of the relational database market. Time will tell.

This is not good for IBM. Following the Gartner reports for the last decade, carefully read, might lead one to conclude that DB2 depends on mainframe installs for its continued existence. With the iSeries moving to use MySql (and we'll see how that goes in future), the Linux/Unix/Windows version may be the red haired stepchild. IBM may conclude that it has no reason to exist. It hasn't made significant inroads against Oracle and SQLServer in the decade. IBM has never been shy about cutting its losses. We may have to wave goodbye to LUW. Sniff.

How would this affect the point of this endeavor? We would be left with just two industrial strength databases on *nix: Oracle and Postgres. Both are MVCC engines, not lockers; does this distinction matter with regard to SSD hosted databases? I think not. While the MVCC approach eats more memory, I don't see that base table storage should be affected. Oracle has Times Ten and IBM has SolidDB in memory databases, so both are working that angle; adapting to SSD should only be a baby step away.

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