How to kill mySQL? Keep adding features…

I was reading this article the other day and it reminded me of a conversation I had at ODTUG about mySQL. I know nothing about Oracle’s plans for mySQL and I’m only a casual user of mySQL (for about 6 years), so don’t consider this an inside scoop, it’s just some idle whittering…

If Oracle truly wanted to kill mySQL how should they do it? My answer was keep adding features. Why?

  • Adding features would keep everyone off their back because they would be seen as actively supporting mySQL. This would allow them to blamelessly kill mySQL… Mwahaha (in a DR Evil style).
  • Ease of Installation: mySQL is really easy to get hold of because it comes with a couple of clicks from pretty well every Linux distro. As the feature set and flexibility of mySQL increases, it’s not unlikely that the installation process could/would become more complicated. If it were complicated enough to not allow a 1 click install during OS installation, then the ease of installation is gone. So keep adding features until you lose the ease of installation.
  • Speed: For basic workloads mySQL is very fast. I’m guessing the vast majority of mySQL installations have a very simple workload profile, like the zillions of blogs, forums and wikis out there. Remember, there is a difference between the number of operations and the complexity of those operations. As you add features you are increasing the amount of code in the engine, which invariably slows it down, but more importantly you are also increasing the expectation of the users. As users start throwing increasingly complex workloads at the engine, it gets proportionally harder to keep delivering top performance.
  • Ease of Use: mySQL is considered a very easy engine to use. I could argue that point, but lets run with it. So we add a bunch of features and people start to use them. Oh dear. Stops looking quite so simple to dip your toe in…
  • Cheap: mySQL is free (sort of). I don’t see this as a major issue. Look at the companies who spend the real money. They just want something that does the job and are prepared to pay for it. Oracle has never been about the low hanging fruit. Fast forward a few years and I doubt we will see any DBs in SMBs. They will all be managed services by Oracle, Amazon, Google etc. For those where “free” is an issue, adding features can complicate the product to the point where support becomes a necessity. It’s no longer free then…

That’s what I would do. :)

Cheers

Tim…

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