By now, news of MySQL’s $40k/yr for all you can eat MySQL Enterprise Gold is old news.

What really got my attention about the announcement is the way that Zach explains where MySQL is growing:

“Typically, MySQL does not replace the existing legacy databases in organizations. In fact, many of our customers are also users of Oracle, SQL Server and DB2. But they use them in different areas. As Charles Phillips from Oracle said a while back: Oracle and MySQL are both in the transportation business. But Oracle is a 747 and MySQL is a Toyota. Unless you’re very rich, a 747 is not a great commuter vehicle. But admittedly, I would not want to drive cross-country for a meeting in New York. So in most companies, there is room for both solutions.”

Going forward on the message of delivering customer choice is a wicked smart idea. Because, not everybody needs a 747. At the same time, nobody (really) wants a 747 that’s been stripped down to look like a Toyota.

Customers with “747” requirements (for a given project) are going to use a high-end enterprise database of their choice (DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, etc).

Customers with “Toyota” requirements (for a given project) can choose between MySQL, PostgreSQL, Derby/Cloudscape or Oracle, DB2 and SQLSerer (or other comparable product). Most MySQL & PostgreSQL corporate users (i.e. not folks using MySQL for their personal website or side business selling DVDs (plug for a friend)) don’t pay for MySQL Enterprise.

It’s unlikely that the $40k offer will change their minds. Many of these customers are using 1-5 servers for a given project. If they’re not willing to pay the $2,995/server/year for 1-5 server, they’re not going to pay $40k for an unlimited number of servers. (Note: 14 servers is the breakeven point vs. buying MySQL Enterprise Gold individually). The 80/20 rule applies here as some customers will consider all the uses of MySQL across departments and projects and decide to put down the $40k.

It is likely that the $40k offer will cause folks using Oracle, SQL Server or DB2 for “Toyota” projects to think twice. But in these cases, TCO is going to matter a whole lot more than the cost of a database server. We shouldn’t forget that many of the customers using Oracle, SQL Server or DB2 for “Toyota” projects are doing so because they already have an ELA (Enterprise License Agreement) that lets the customer get their hands on the given software at rates much lower than the published per CPU price. Using current skills (i.e. “we have an Oracle admin already”) is going to matter when comparing database server prices. The MySQL announcement may lead to higher discount requests from customers.

Seems like a good move from MySQL, but we’ll have to see how it’s received by “Toyota” purchasers.

[The pic is of a Toyota prototype car from Flickr user jswieringa]