Oracle Buys Sun Finally

January 26, 2010

So the deal is finally approved by the EU.

Despite the EU objection, I don’t think MySQL was really significant to Oracle in this deal. Oracle bought Sun for Java, which is at the core of both Oracle’s and IBM’s enterprise application stacks. Control of Java is what is important to both of them, which is why IBM made that desperate bid for Sun last year. Surprisingly, both the US and EU regulators did mention Java but both glossed over it. Oracle was probably secretly happy to have the focus on MySQL instead.
Sun’s hardware business does also round out Oracle’s product line up against IBM but Sun’s hardware hasn’t been a great business lately. It is nice hardware, maybe Oracle’s sales force can make a better go of it.

It will still be interesting to see what Oracle does with MySQL. Clearly Oracle doesn’t need another enterprise class database when the flagship Oracle database does enterprise so well and so profitably. MySQL will be cutoff at the knees somewhere and larger customers eased over to the flagship. Setting the bar too low though could help Microsoft more than Oracle. MySQL customers who feel they must move may opt for the simpler and cheaper SQLserver rather than deal with the daunting complexity of licensing and pricing Oracle database, unless the Oracle sales force does a lot of handholding and deal making.

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History of DBs – CODASYL DBs

January 25, 2010

Just finished reading the latest issue of IEEE Annuls of Computing History, volume 31 number 4, on the history of database systems. It covers the early history of the CODASYL-style databases like IMS, IDMS, Adabas, and Total in the 1960’s & 1970’s.

As a database professional who started with relational products Ingres and Oracle back in the early 1990’s, my whole view of databases has been RDBMS centric. It is easy for me to think that Oracle, DB2, and SQLserver dominate the database world and all databases are SQL.

It has been just fascinating to read about what came before the RDBMS. These are the products that established the concept of a database as separate from the OS and in many ways also established the idea of a software product as separate from software that was just included “free” with the hardware. I say they are CODASYL-style because none of them eventually implemented the full CODASYL spec though IDMS is closest as it was used as a basis for the spec. IMS is heirarchical so it was farthest away but still the same style of DML by direct record access rather than querying sets like SQL.

As an RDBMS DBA, it is a bit humbling to realize that these so-called “obsolete” products like IBM IMS and CA-IDMS still process most of the world’s transactions today. They move all this data without SQL of course, these databases are older than SQL, something the new “NoSQL” crowd should keep in mind. They are hardly obsolete either, IBM for example, just released a new version 11 of IMS, with even Java and SOA support.