Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Congratulations MySQL team!

Great to see that the MySQL team has been rewarded for the hard work they've done over the years.

Digging through my email archives I've found several email exchanges with Monty from the early periods of PHP and Zend (late 90s) where we had several discussions around best ways to implement hash tables, the growth of our businesses, and the communities. Back then their company was still T.c.X ( and a very lean operation. In 2000 we finally met in person for the first of many times in Tel-Aviv when Monty and David joined the first PHP developer's meeting.

Since then a lot has been going on. Probably the two most significant changes were the acceptance of open-source software for business critical environments; the second was a realization after the burst of the bubble that the Java/Enterprise database combination was not the only way to build business critical Web applications. With the growth of the modern Web, PHP and MySQL together have displaced the old school of thinking and today run some of the most critical Web applications on the planet.

With the standardization of this new Web paradigm vendors like Sun missed the boat on the modern Web. Today there is very little of the huge PHP-based Web community that actually runs on Solaris. Open-sourcing Solaris, increasing investments in x86, and variety of other initiatives which Sun has started in the past few years have brought it somewhat back on the radar but still we have seen very little adoption of the OS in this new Web space. This is why I've always thought that Sun acquiring MySQL would be a very wise move on Sun's part. Not only does it give them access to a great community and team, but I believe it can also be the beach head for Sun to get back into the Web server business (after all, hardware is where the biggest chunk of revenue comes from).

In order to be successful Sun has to recognize how significant PHP is for the MySQL user base and has to be pragmatic in how it thinks about and approaches this new business opportunity. By doing so they can truly use this acquisition as an opportunity to become a serious player in the modern Web server market. This means putting religion aside and making sure the Java guys don't have too much influence on MySQL's direction. From knowing many people at Sun I know that religion exists but there are also many people who realize that the hardware and Solaris are really the main drivers and that's what should be the main focus. [Maybe start by changing the ticker to "SOLR"?] I hope MySQL will continue to be as active as it has been in the past in the PHP community  which will also help balance some of the Java thinking inside Sun. I have no doubt that the MySQL team is committed to PHP and will want to continue this way of thinking from inside of Sun.

Again, congratulations to the whole MySQL team; Marten, Zak, Monty, David, Jay, and all the rest! You very much deserve it and I wish you an easy integration. Stay in touch!


P.S.- By the way, don't say I didn't predict that MySQL wasn't going to go public :) [search for MySQL on that page]