Oracle played a big card when it bought InnoDB, the most popular way to inject data into the open source mySQL database.
Monday mySQL responds by getting Solid™ Information Technology, a proprietary database vendor, to take its solidDB Storage Engine for MySQL open source, under the GPL, starting in June.
Solid has its base in telecommunications and transaction processing, which had been considered a completely different market from the small fry mySQL supplies. It has 3 million copies out at places like Alcatel, Cisco, EMC, HP, NEC, Nokia, and Nortel.
The addition of Solid technology to mySQL, the company said, puts mySQL into the enterprise league and makes it a direct threat to Oracle.
But does it? After all, Solid is in that enterprise market, albeit a niche within it. Solid is not going away, and this is supposed to be a complementary deal.
So I talked to Paola Lubet, vice president of marketing for Solid, She told me her 14-year old company had been looking for a way into the broader enterprise market for some time, and sees open source as a "go to market" opportunity.
"Our decision at the moment is to go into the open source track and use mySQL as a channel. So we’re going to make available code that works only with mySQL. On the side we have a proprietary line of products."
Going to open source with mySQL was also a comfortable decision for Solid. Both companies were founded in Finland, and still do most development there. The U.S. arms of both companies are in the same building in Cupertino.
Stacey Quandt, research director for the Aberdeen Group in Boston, told me the deal also opens new markets to mySQL. "For years mySQL has defined itself as not being a competitor (in the enterprise space), but with a transactional engine that gap can be narrowed," she said.
Web 2.0 projects built on mySQL can also move ahead with confidence they’re ready as they move into transactions and as users "rush to the rail" to support them.
"There’s more work to be done, but the gap is narrowing," Quandt said of mySQL. "What I would look for in terms of feature initiatives and measuring success is for mySQL to now get into telco and manufacturing and other verticals." And for Solid? "The network effects of open source may help them grow their installed base."
You might say that Oracle’s open source problems are far from…Finnished.