Speaking at the 2007 MySQL Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, CA, MySQL CEO Marten Mickos said the company is working toward an IPO, isn't bleeding cash and did $50 million in revenue last year, compared to an estimated $34 million in 2005 (see Stephen Shankland's full report). That success and growth is also causing frustration among customers, including ZDNet's database guru.
ZDNet's vice president of engineering John Potter attended the MySQL Conference and Expo this week and came back with these impressions of the leading open source database:
What was most striking about attending the MySQL conference this year is the extent to which it has become focused on the enterprise. MySQL AB's CEO Marten Mickos' keynote balanced his paean to open source with the announcement of a new $40,000 Gold unlimited server support package and a hard-sell of MySQL's new monitoring service. He also made a point of noting MySQL's penetration into telcos.
In addition, companies like Oracle, Unisys and Microsoft were well represented at the conference, along with open-source competitors like Red Hat. This was not the case last year.
The other focus of the conference was scale, particularly on the Web. How to deal with installations containing hundreds of servers was a common concern. The tutorial on "Scaling and High Availability Architectures" on Monday overflowed the ballroom in which it was held. Almost every session title included either the word "performance" or "scaling." On Monday, Google announced the release of some patches that enhance the reliability and manageability of MySQL. YouTube received an award as part of Mikos' keynote.
The downside of all this success is an increase in customer frustration. As more demands are put on MySQL installations, and the costs of using the enterprise version increase, there is less inclination to put up with MySQL's continued lag in getting long-desired features out. Clustering is still restricted to the in-memory NDB storage engine, a limitation that prevents most people from using it. While MySQL version 5 has finally given us row-based replication, performance is still not acceptable. In both of these areas, MySQL remains years behind their big enterprise competitors. So far, MySQL has successfully competed on price. As customer demands increase, though, this may not be enough.