In my recent post on the EU antitrust regulators' probe into the Oracle Sun merger I did not mention an important class of stakeholders: the MySQL-based special purpose database startups. By these I mean:
I think it's safe to say the first three are comparable in the sense that they are all analytical databases: they are designed for data warehousing and business intelligence applications. ScaleDB might be a good fit for those applications, but I think it's architecture is sufficiently different from the first three to not call it an analytical database.
For Kickfire and Infobright, the selling point is that they are offering a relatively cheap solution to build large data warehouses and responsive business intelligence applications. (I can't really find enough information on Calpoint pricing, although they do mention low total cost of ownership.) An extra selling point is that they are MySQL compatible, which may make some difference for some customers. But that compatibility is in my opinion not as important as the availability of a serious data warehousing solution at a really sharp price.
Now, in my previous post, I mentioned that the MySQL and Oracle RDBMS products are very different, and I do not perceive them as competing. Instead of trying to kill the plain MySQL database server product, Oracle should take advantage of a huge opportunity to help shape the web by being a good steward, leading ongoing MySQL development, and in addition, enable their current Oracle Enterprise customers to build cheap LAMP-based websites (with the possibility of adding value by offering Oracle to MySQL data integration).
For these analytical database solutions, things may be different though.
I think these MySQL based analytical databases really are competitive to Oracle's Exadata analytical appliance. Oracle could form a serious threat to these MySQL-based analytical database vendors. After the merger, Oracle would certainly be in a position to hamper these vendors by resticting the non-GPL licensed usage of MySQL.
In a recent ad, Oracle vouched to increase investments in developing Sun's hardware and operating system technology. And this would eventually put them in an even better position to create appliances like Exadata, allowing them to ditch an external hardware partner like HP (which is their Exadata hardware partner).
So, all in all, in my opinion the EU should definitely take a serious look at the dynamics of the analytical database market and decide how much impact the Oracle / Sun merger could have on this particular class of MySQL OEM customers. The rise of these relatvely cheap MySQL-based analytical databases is a very interesting development for the business intelligence and data warehousing space in general, and means a big win for customers that need affordable datawarhousing / business intelligence. It would be a shame if it would be curtailed by Oracle. After the merger, Oracle sure would have the means and the motive, so if someone needs protection, I think it would be these MySQL-based vendors of analytical databases.
As always, these are just my musing and opinions - speculation is free. Feel free to correct me, add applause or point out my ignorance :)