MySQL's Mickos: Open Source in the Enterprise: Page 3

Posted November 17, 2006

James Maguire

James Maguire

(Page 3 of 5)

Q: I recently interviewed the platform architect for the city of Chicago, and she told me she uses MySQL for lower priority databases, but uses Oracle for mission critical applications. How can MySQL grow in the face of this attitude?

Many say that about Microsoft's SQL Server as well, yet it makes $3 or $4 billion in annual revenues. What I mean is that this is not a half-empty glass, it is a half-full glass.

mysql, open source database, MySQL CEO Marten Mickos

Marten Mickos, MySQL CEO

We have reached various levels of mission-criticality depending on the sector. In the Web world we are completely mission-critical – just look at Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and others. In the OEM world we are completely mission critical – just look at Nortel, Alcatel, Nokia, etc. [All powered by MySQL.]

In the so-called enterprise market we are coming up from the grassroots. Many apps are mission critical, and many are not. A third of all Oracle users also use MySQL. Sure, Oracle by tradition has the heavy ERP applications. But the big growth is elsewhere – it is in data marts, ETL, Web front-ends, e-commerce and distributed apps – and that's where we are strong.

So we see an enormous growth opportunity here, evidenced by our sales growth. And we are specifically NOT trying to migrate Oracle apps to us. That's an uphill battle that we happily leave to others.

So we see it as absolutely great that we are on the radar of the city of Chicago, because we never spent any marketing dollars to get in there.

Our motto is like Wayne Gretzky's: skate to where the puck is going to be.

Look at when Toyota and the Japanese carmakers entered the U.S. market. People, said, ‘Yeah, I have a second car which is a Japanese car and it’s small one, but it’s not the big one and the main one.’ But today, who is the dominant leader in the car space? It’s Toyota, with Lexus, with big SUVs, with everything – the highest quality, the most affordable prices, and it’s just an amazing business.

Tech Quotes
“Our motto is like Wayne Gretzky's: skate to where the puck is going to be.”

–Marten Mickos

Q: That would suggest that you do intend to go head to head with Oracle.

I think we will grow into more and more mission critical use and we do it by the day – we see it happening every day. And it’s the innovator’s dilemma here at work. I’m not saying that we’ll make the old guys completely irrelevant, but look at what happened with the main frames, and then came the minis. And the minis took all the new business and the mainframe still remain. And then the PCs came and did the same thing to the minis.

Q: And there are still mainframes.

Yes, and there will be, and it’s good business. So in the same way, Oracle will always have good business somewhere there in the back room, and in something old and classical. But the interesting thing is the new growth.

Next page: Tackling the Enterprise

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