Oracle


NoSQL is still not well understood, as a term or a database market category, by enterprise IT decision makers. However, one NoSQL vendor, 10gen, creators of open source MongoDB, appears to be growing into enterprise accounts and distancing themselves from competitors. If you’re considering, or curious about, NoSQL databases, spend some time looking at MongoDB.

Understanding not only SQL, aka NoSQL
While the term NoSQL suggests a product category that is anti-SQL or anti-relational databases, the term has evolved to mean “not only SQL”.

According to Nosql-database.org, there are over 122 NoSQL database products to date. These products differ from traditional relational databases as they don’t rely on a relational model, are often schema free and support eventually consistent, not ACID, transactions.

While companies needing to manage terabytes of data across commodity servers, such as Facebook, FourSquare or Shutterfly have been early adopters of NoSQL databases, traditional enterprises such as Disney and Intuit are joining the NoSQL customer list.

Max Schireson, president of 10Gen, asserts that relational databases are here to stay and have an important role to play in tomorrow’s enterprise.

Schireson sees NoSQL and relational databases both being used within a given enterprise, albeit for different applications.

If this positioning sounds familiar, recall that MySQL attempted to paint a picture of co-habitation with enterprise database vendors.

If an application is processing sales orders and needs absolute guaranteed transactions, a relational database supporting ACID transactions is a must. If an application is processing millions of events, such as click streams, in order to better optimize an online sales catalog, and losing a few of those events is less critical than being able to scale the application and data across commodity servers, then a NoSQL database could be a perfect fit.

MongoDB distances itself from NoSQL alternatives
While NoSQL databases such as Cassandra, originally developed and used by Facebook, or CouchDB get a lot of media attention, MongoDB appears to be the product to catch in this hot market.

Worldwide Google searches for various NoSQL product names shows the marked increase in MongoDB and Mongo searches since January 2011. Google searches for MongoDB and Mongo exceeded searches for CouchDB, Couchbase, Membase, Cassandra, and HBase combined.

According to Indeed.com, jobs seeking MongoDB or Mongo skills have outpaced other leading NoSQL products. MongoDB and Mongo now represent the most sought after NoSQL skills amongst companies hiring on Indeed.com.

Recently announced platform as a service offerings from Red Hat and VMware featured MongoDB at the data services layer of their respective offerings.

Schireson shared some stats on 10Gen’s commercial business growth into the enterprise with MongoDB.

Six months ago the majority of 10Gen customers were startups; today the majority are traditional enterprise customers. In fact, 10Gen counts five Fortune 100 companies amongst its over 200 paying customers.

With over 100,000 downloads per month and developer attendance to MongoDB conferences increasing 400 percent to nearly 2,000 across San Francisco, New York and Beijing, MongoDB traction continues to increase.

Schireson explained that many enterprises have developers interested in MongoDB, as the above download and conference attendance data backs up. However, enterprises are waiting for their peers to go first into the world of NoSQL.

Schireson revealed that securing Disney as a public MongoDB reference has led to increased enterprise interest in 10gen from MongoDB users.

MSQL poster child Craigslist adopts MongoDB
Another recent coup for 10Gen was winning Craigslist as a customer of MongoDB.

Craigslist’s Jeremy Zawodny, author of the popular High Performance MySQL book, recently spoke about Craigslist adopting MongoDB to handle Craigslist’s multi-billion document deployment. Zawodny explains Craigslist’s evolution from being a MySQL everywhere shop to selecting the appropriate database technology based on varying data and performance needs.

When Zawodny, a MySQL performance guru, gets behind MongoDB, it’s time for enterprises interested in NoSQL to consider MongoDB.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”

Established software vendors face a difficult balancing act between meeting customer demands for pay-per-usage cloud pricing models while guarding against revenue erosion on traditionally priced offerings. If Amazon’s price for Oracle Database on RDS becomes the norm for price discrimination between traditional and per-per-usage licenses, IT buyers could find themselves paying over a 100 percent premium for the flexibility of pay-per-usage pricing.

Note, I am only using Oracle as an example here because the pricing of Amazon RDS for Oracle Database is public. This post intends to make no judgments on Amazon or Oracle’s price points whatsoever.

Pay-per-use software pricing limited to entry level product
Amazon RDS for Oracle Database offers two price models, “License Included” or “Bring Your Own License (BYOL)”. The License Included metric is fancy terminology for pay-per-usage, and includes the cost of the software, including Oracle Database, underlying hardware resources and Amazon RDS management.

Three editions of Oracle Database are offered by Amazon, Standard Edition One (SE1), Standard Edition (SE) and Enterprise Edition (EE), listed in order of lowest to highest functionality.

It’s important to note that pay-per-use pricing is only offered on the lowest function edition, namely, Oracle Database SE1. This should not be a surprise as Oracle, like other established vendors, is still experimenting with pay-per-usage pricing models. Customers can also run Standard Edition One using a BYOL model. This fact, along with Oracle’s list pricing, helps us do some quick and interesting calculations.

Oracle Database SE1 software price-per-hour ranges between $0.05 to $0.80
The License Included and BYOL prices both include the cost of the underlying hardware resources, OS and Amazon RDS management. The only difference between the two options is the price of the Oracle Database software license.

This allows us to calculate the per hour cost of Oracle Database Standard Edition One as follows:

The Oracle list price for Oracle Database SE1 is $5,800 plus 22 percent, or $1,276 for software update, support and maintenance. Like most enterprise software, customers could expect a discount between 25 to 85 percent. For lower priced software like Oracle Database SE1, let’s assume a 50 percent discount. Although, most customers buying Oracle software are encouraged to enter into Unlimited License Agreements (ULAs) which frequently offer discounts at the higher end of the spectrum.

All told, Oracle Database SE1 after a 50 percent discount would cost a customer $3,538 (($5,800 + $1,276) x 50%) for 1 year or $4,814 ($5,800 + $1,276 + $1,276 + $1,276) x 50%) for 3 years on a single socket quad core machine like this low end Dell server. Note that Oracle doesn’t use their typical processor core factor pricing methodology for products identified as Standard Edition or Standard Edition One as they are targeted at lower performance servers.

A single socket quad core machine would offer the performance of somewhere between the Amazon “Double Extra Large DB Instance” and the “Quadruple Extra Large DB Instance”.

Consider the long term costs of per-per-usage
Using “Double Extra Large DB Instance” pricing, with our calculated cost an Oracle Database SE1 software license on Amazon of $0.40/hr, we can calculate a 1 year cost of $3,504 and a 3 year cost of $10,512. These figures represent a 1 percent lower and 118 % higher cost of using Amazon’s per-per-usage offering versus licensing Oracle Database SE1 through Oracle for on premises deployment or a BYOL for deployment on Amazon RDS.

There are obviously multiple caveats to consider, like the ability to get lower or higher discounts from Oracle, or comparing with the “Quadruple Extra Large DB Instance” price point.

A customer that is unable to get a 50 percent discount from Oracle could save licensing costs by using Amazon’s pay-per-usage offering for Oracle Database SE1. For instance, with only a 25 percent discount from Oracle, the customer could save up to 34 percent on a 1 year basis, but stands to pay an extra 46 percent a 3 year basis.

Comparing the cost of Oracle Database SE1 using traditional licensing on premises with Amazon’s pricing through RDS, it appears that customers should look hard at Amazon’s per-per-usage offering for up to a 1 year term, but stick with Oracle’s traditional pricing model if the software is going to be used for the typical 3 to 5 year period that companies like to amortize costs over.

The obvious rebuttal to the above calculations would be that a customer electing for a pay-per-usage model would not necessarily run for 24 hours a day for a full year. While this is true, buyers should understand the long term cost implications before making short term decisions.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”

Oracle’s recently announced a proposal to move the open source Hudson project to the Eclipse Foundation. Should your company’s stance on Jenkins or Hudson change as a result? Short answer, no. The more interesting question is what this contribution means for the Eclipse Foundation.

Eclipse contribution won’t mend the Hudson & Jenkins split
In explaining Oracle’s proposal, Ted Farrell, Chief Architect and Vice President, Tools and Middleware at Oracle, writes:

…I can’t speak for the Jenkins folks, but one of the good things about Hudson moving to Eclipse is that anyone can participate. When the fork happened, I think it came down to a difference of opinion about how to run an open source project. Oracle and Sonatype wanted more of an enterprise focus, and CloudBees wanted more of a grass-roots environment which is how Hudson came to be. I think both are valid opinions.

So when we started talking about this move to Eclipse, we initially focused on talking to people whose views were more in line with our Enterprise focus. Now that the proposal is public, we welcome anyone to join the conversation over the next 2 months while we finalize the submission and get it accepted.

Farrell makes several points that appear counter to the public record.

First, unlike Oracle, CloudBees relies on Jenkins to power a commercial product aimed at enterprises. To claim that CloudBees has anything less than an “enterprise focus” is curious.

Second, when a community around any open source product up and moves to another location, under a different project name, that’s not a fork – that’s a rebranding. Jenkins community member Andrew Bayer told InfoWorld’s Paul Krill:

The Jenkins organization on GitHub now has almost 500 repositories, the majority of those plug-ins, and almost 100 public members, while Hudson only has its core repository available and only four public members. Of the 25 most commonly installed plug-ins from before the split, 21 of them have moved primary development to focus on Jenkins, with the remaining four not having any changes during that time. In fact, 40 new plug-ins have been added to Jenkins since the split, while only one has been added to Hudson. The development community has definitely made its choice heard.

The lack of community response on the Hudson proposal mailing list at Eclipse is not a very good start for the project. Two individuals that have commented suggest they support the proposal if it will unify the Hudson and Jenkins camps. However, there’ no indication of a Hudson and Jenkins unification occurring as a result of the Eclipse contribution proposal.

Eclipse at risk of becoming a graveyard for abandoned OSS projects
Like most, I’m a big fan of the Eclipse Foundation, not simply because Ian and Mike are Canadians!

However, I fear that Eclipse is at risk of becoming a home for projects whose owners are looking to gracefully reduce their investments while gaining some open source kudos along the way.

Rewind to November 2009 when Oracle and SpringSource jointly announced the Gemini project proposal. Gemini was based on SpringSource’s DM Server technology. Two short months later SpringSource announced the Virgo project proposal to contribute SpringSource’s dm Server to Eclipse. Although SpringSource had been a big proponent of OSGi, OSGi and dm Server became less of a priority for SpringSource after it was acquired by VMware.

SpringSource tried to play up the potential for increased community contributions to the Gemini project.

However, VMware/SpringSource killed off their dm Server product as a result of contributing the project to the Eclipse Foundation. The lack of a product and revenue linked to the Eclipse project should have been a warning sign for the Eclipse Foundation.

A year and a half later, while OSGi support is offered by WebSphere, GlassFish and JBoss, and continues to gain developer attention, the Eclipse Gemini project is stuck in neutral.

Does Oracle, or more importantly, the Eclipse Foundation, truly expect a better fate for Hudson?

Oracle doesn’t have a viable business associated with Hudson. This makes any future investment decisions regarding the project at Eclipse tenuous at best. Cue the graceful exit music.

While I agree that, “if you’re going to kill it, open source it!“, I simply don’t think that the Eclipse Foundation needs to be, or should want to be, the destination of choice for these types of projects.

I hope I’m wrong about the fate of Hudson at the Eclipse Foundation. The Eclipse Foundation is too important to open source projects to become, or even just be viewed as, anything but a leading destination of choice for new and exciting projects.

Follow me on Twitter at SavioRodrigues. I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies, or opinions.”

Earlier today Oracle executives laid out their strategy for integrating Sun’s assets with Oracle.  The whole event spanned over 4 hours.  I’ll just update readers on the section that related to Sun’s open source assets.

The GlassFish application server will be repositioned to address departmental needs while the strategic Oracle WebLogic Server product will remain targeted at enterprise customers requiring performance and scalability.  Long-time readers will recognize this strategy as one we’ve been using in the application server market with WebSphere Application Server Community Edition and WebSphere Application Server.  It’s a smart move on Oracle’s part because, as we’ve found, and as MySQL and Oracle DB usage shows. Customers have different middleware needs for different projects.

MySQL will continue to receive investment and be managed within the separate open source division at Sun.  MySQL will also have a separate sales force.  Recall that that GlassFish and WebLogic Server, which compete on paper, but address different use cases, will be sold by the same sales force.  More specifically, GlassFish will be sold by the sales team responsible for selling Oracle’s strategic Fusion Middleware suite. And yet, Oracle has decided to put MySQL and Oracle DB into separate the divisions and assign a separate sales team to MySQL.  Hopefully this is temporary and MySQL will be managed and sold by the Fusion Middleware division in the near future.

OpenOffice will continue to receive investment and will be managed within a separate business unit.  There will be a focus on integrating OpenOffice with business intelligence and content management offerings.

Oracle announced that it has over 4000 customers that acquire Linux and Linux support from Oracle.  Oracle expects to accelerate Sun’s Solaris efforts, but target their investment to drive Solaris further into mission critical workloads and focus less on x86 or the SMB market.  While Oracle didn’t say this specifically, one has to wonder if Oracle’s Solaris investments will regulate Linux to something less than “mission critical” workloads, at least alongside Oracle DB. Frankly, I’d be surprised to see Oracle try to substitute Solaris into existing Oracle DB accounts running on Linux.  More likely, Oracle will offer customers both choices and let them decide.  Although Oracle will likely attempt to influence the decision through better performance and integration with Solaris.

Oracle intends to keep VirtualBox and allow users to crate images on their desktop that can be deployed into OracleVM pools.

Finally, there wasn’t much news about the future of Java, other than the fact that JavaOne will be held September 19-23, 2010 and will be  collocated with Oracle Open World and also expand to local events in Brazil, China and India. While JavaOne will be collocated with Open World, they will be two separate conferences.

Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues

PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”

A quick review of the Save MySQL online petition stats today shows that the results are still in line with the results I reported previously.  Over 90 percent of petition signees would require Oracle to divest MySQL to a “suitable third party”.  I noticed that Michael “Monty” Widenius’ post explaining the petition provided several options for a “suitable third party”.  First off, Monty makes it clear that his company is not interested in acquiring MySQL.  Monty’s list of potential buyers includes IBM, Fujitsu, any of the major Linux distribution vendors or a private equity firm that would take MySQL public.

As an IBMer I was interested to hear more about Monty’s thoughts on IBM.  Note that I do not work in the division where IBM’s database, DB2, is managed.  Nor do I have any information about IBM’s interest, or lack thereof, in MySQL.

I asked Monty this question via email:

Q] Would you require that IBM add the linking exception or have to re-license MySQL under the ASL 2.0 in order to acquire MySQL?

The linking exception or having to re-license MySQL are two of the options that Monty & Florian Mueller would like to see Oracle select before being allowed to acquire MySQL.

Monty replied:

“Personally I don’t consider IBM a direct competitor to MySQL and thus there would not be a need for a licensing remedy…With MySQL, IBM would have a vehicle to become a market leader in databases. IBM could only do this if they keep MySQL free to ensure it keeps it dominant position in units…IBM has more to gain by keeping MySQL Open Source and available to all than they could get by killing it.  With Oracle this is not the case.”

At first I bristled at this reply.  Why should Oracle accept a set of restrictions that IBM, another competitor in the database market, would not face?  However, the difference lies in the market position of the acquiring vendor.  Oracle is the revenue leader in the relational database market with over 40 percent share according to Gartner and IDC.  I don’t have the Gartner data handy, but IDC data suggests that Oracle had approximately a 2 to 1 lead versus IBM and Microsoft individually.  Considering Oracle’s market position versus IBM and Microsoft, it’s understandable that regulators would treat an Oracle acquisition of MySQL differently than, for example a Microsoft or IBM acquisition of MySQL.

One thing that does surprise me, pleasantly, is that Monty doesn’t see a “need for a licensing remedy” should IBM (Fujitsu or any of the major Linux distribution vendors) acquire MySQL.  Many have questioned Monty’s motives for blocking the MySQL acquisition.  Monty’s company competes with MySQL, but, unlike MySQL, Monty’s company cannot provide a commercial license to business partners or enterprises.  That’s why the linking exception or having to re-license MySQL under the Apache Software License 2.0 is seen as a boon to third party providers of MySQL products and services.  Had Monty replied that he would like any potential acquirer of MySQL accept a licensing remedy, one could draw a connection back to his current business interests.

Readers can make up their own mind as to Monty’s or Oracle’s motives.  But like most things in life, the story isn’t cut and dry.  And while I personally believe there is more for Oracle to gain by nurturing MySQL than not, but Larry Ellison won’t return my calls.

Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues

PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”

Florian Mueller begins 2010 by demonstrating why he was named EU Campaigner of the Year by the Economist five years ago. While most of us were prepping for New Year’s Eve celebrations or contemplating New Year’s resolutions, Monty and Mueller spent December 28th launching an online Save MySQL petition against the Oracle acquisition of MySQL via Sun. Mueller reports via email:

“www.helpmysql.org campaign delivers first 14,000 signatures against Oracle’s proposed acquisition of MySQL to European, Chinese and Russian competition authorities.

In less than one week, during the Holiday Season, we gathered 50 times more customer support than Oracle claimed three weeks ago.”

You can read the full press release here.

The campaign is displaying stats from petition signees.  This post is based on the first 16,306 signees as of 9am EST on Monday, January 4th.  If the results change markedly with new signees, I’ll post an update.

MySQL Enterprise Usage
Whether MySQL poses a competitive threat to Oracle’s database business has been a point of significant disagreement between Oracle and opponents of the MySQL acquisition including Monty and Mueller.  Oracle says there is little to no overlap.  Monty argues that MySQL has become feature rich and is a suitable replacement for Oracle’s database in several situations. Nearly a quarter of respondents identified themselves as working at a company using MySQL, and not simply an independent or self-employed software or web developer.  Of the respondents working at a company using MySQL, just over 20 percent worked at a company with 1000 or more employees.  This is clearly a customer group where Oracle databases would compete.  These results would seem to support Monty’s claims about MySQL competitiveness against Oracle.  On the other hand, there’s no reason that a large company wouldn’t want to use both MySQL and Oracle databases for small and large projects respectively.  In such a situation, did the MySQL usage displace Oracle usage, or, as Oracle would argue, SQL Server usage?  The former would support Monty’s claim, while the latter would support Oracle’s claim.  A generalized version of this question would have been a helpful addition to the Save MySQL petition.

Signees Would Require Oracle to Sell MySQL
Of the three solutions that Mueller and Monty suggest Oracle agree to before being allowed to complete the Sun acquisition, over 90 percent of signees believe that MySQL must be divested to a suitable third party.  Only 60 percent of signees believe that Oracle should be allowed to acquire MySQL as part of the Sun acquisition.  These signees would require Oracle to either commit to a linking exception for applications that use MySQL or require Oracle to release past and future versions of MySQL under the Apache Software License 2.0.

Go ahead and take a look at the petition here.

Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues

PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”

Last week Eben Moglen, founder and executive director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), submitted an independent opinion on the Oracle/Sun merger to the European Union (EU). Moglen summarized his submission as follows:

“The GPL was designed specifically to ensure the permanent freedom of software, and the ability of everyone to improve and share their improvements to the program, no matter who acquires the copyrights to the code.  The whole point of GPL as a copyright license is to deal with every contingency that could result in hobbling or destroying the freedom of code shared under it. The drafters of GPL versions 2 and 3 considered scenarios very similar to the ones that the Commission is concerned about now. The design of the license, and the experience we have had using it, show that it can be counted upon to operate as intended in situations like this one.”

Moglen issued the 11 page opinion, pro bono and without the charge, at the request of Oracle’s counsel.  Moglen clarified that Oracle is an ongoing contributor to the SFLC, while Monty Widenius has contributed in the past.  However, neither the contributions from Oracle nor Widenius have exceeded 5 percent of SFLC’s funding since inception.

I found the following paragraph from Moglen’s submission particularly interesting:

“MySQL is now and always has been an atypical GPL software project, because its copyright was highly centralized inside a small commercial firm that considered dual licensing its only commercially attractive strategy for survival. But even MySQL AB’s atypical business model, which was highly unreflective of the mass of GPL’d software development, occurred within the parameters of the GPL’s overall design, which is to ensure the freedom of the software it protects regardless of the commercial motivations or behaviors of the parties distributing the primary upstream version.”

On the other end of the debate, Florian Mueller announced that he has submitted a 31 page rebuttal to Moglen’s position.  Mueller provided a summary of the highlights via email, from which I selected these comments:

“Fundamentally, his paper offers a different prediction as to what would happen post-acquisition. He simply expresses his firm belief that whatever made MySQL successful in the past is not really an indication for the future. In fact he believes MySQL AB had a very suboptimal business model…

If he were right that MySQL AB and all of the companies that succeeded around MySQL didn’t do it right and that a GPL-only approach works best, then actually there would be no point in Sun having acquired MySQL last year nor in Oracle acquiring it now because then the future would at any rate be that someone has to fork it and do a GPL-only project dependent on voluntary contributions. Interestingly, that approach would have been possible during all of those almost 14 years that MySQL has been available and no one, not even Eben Moglen, decided to seize that opportunity.”

Both Moglen and Mueller make strong and weak points.

First, Moglen is too quick to dismiss MySQL as an atypical GPL project.  As Mueller points out, whatever you think about MySQL and their business model, you can’t simply conclude that another business model would be more appropriate.  Just because Linux is licensed under the GPL and Linux vendors, namely Red Hat and Novell are closing in on a combined $1B in revenue, does not mean the GPL is the best license for every open source product with commercial aspirations.  The Linux ecosystem is very different than say, application servers or web content management.  Different markets with different ecosystems require different license considerations.

While Moglen appears to be arguing for a “pure GPL” MySQL, departing from the dual-licensed status quo, Groklaw reports that Mueller and Widenius would like to see the MySQL open source license changed from GPLv2 to the Apache Software License.  According to Groklaw, page 19 of an unreleased submission to the EU from Mueller/Widenius stated:

“We would like to draw attention to the fact that some major concerns about the effects of the proposed transaction could be somewhat alleviated by requiring that all versions of MySQL source code previously released under the GPLv2 license …must be released under a more liberal open source license that is usable also by the OEM users and would also create an opportunity for other service vendors to compete with offerings comparable to MySQL Enterprise. A good candidate is the Apache Software License (ASL).”

Something doesn’t feel right about Widenius proposing a license that MySQL could have chosen “over the past 14 years”.  Clearly MySQL decided against this move as the GPL/dual licensing approach led to a competitive advantage that the ASL v2.0 would not provide MySQL.  But I guess that’s why Widenius suggests Oracle should be forced to re-license MySQL under a permissive license such as the ASL v2.0.

We haven’t heard the last from Widenius & Mueller. Enjoy your holiday season ;-)

Follow me on twitter at: SavioRodrigues

PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”

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