Why did sun really buy MySQL ?

To save Solaris from a certain death ?

Reading Planet MySQL the last couple of hours I'm trying really hard to convince myselve the Solaris offensive there is not orchestrated.. but I can't.
It might ofcourse be the fresh MySQL users that Sun brought in on their platform that started out blogging but hey .. I`m paranoia right :)

Are they really trying to get at least a fraction of the MySQL community on Solaris. Do they really think they can ? Yes they lost a zillion of Solaris customers that were running a proprietary database to MySQL on Linux users ,, but why would they want to move back to a semi proprietary setup ?

According to Linuxjournal Alan Cox seems to think that ZFS is the only thing that is keeping Solaris alive. I don't think DTrace was a bigg mass tool that would convince the crowds to suddenly move to an other operating system.

So is Sun trying to Lock In a community ? Other people would call it a Jail, altough I wouldn't consider this particular type of jail a Luxury one :)

Why can't Sun just drop the whole idea of building its own OS and contribute more , they are slowly learning in some other fields , but in the Operating System field they still haven't realised they should up the fight ... but then again .. I overheard someone say recently "The best fights to watch, are the ones that can't be won anymore .."

So just remember .. the L in LAMP still stands for Linux,


Mike's picture

#1 Mike : it's semi proprietary

because you can't rebuild Solaris with only free tools.
This is the big difference between Solaris and RHEL.
In the Solaris world CentOS could not happen.

Any code you create for Solaris would only benefit, yes you guessed it...

David Comay's picture

#2 David Comay : Why did sun really buy MySQL ?

Also, just a followup that Zones is in no way related to Xen. While Xen provides a hypervisor that allows one to host a complete OS (including different OSs at the same time), Zone/Containers are a far lighterweight virtualization akin to FreeBSD Jails on steroids. :-) One can host hundreds or thousands of containers on a system which can only host 10s of Xen instances.

Xen and SPARC Logicial Domains definitely have their uses (Amazon uses it for their EC2 service) but for many people who are deploying application stacks, a lightweight solutions like Zones is actually far easier to maintain.

Kris Buytaert's picture

#3 Kris Buytaert : Zones related Xen , who gave you that tought ?

David, I would probably be the last person on earth to confuse any chroot on steriods platform with Xen.

David Comay's picture

#4 David Comay : Why did sun really buy MySQL ?

Not sure why you call it a semi-proprietary system - yes, the source code for traditional Solaris isn't widely available but three years ago OpenSolaris was launched and the source code for that is widely available under an OSI-approved license. Sun now ships a binary distribution derived from that source code via the OpenSolaris product and there are a number of other distributions as well along with ports to PowerPC, System Z along with the traditional x86 and SPARC platforms.

As for features that might help MySQL, there is far more than just ZFS in OpenSolaris that would be interest. In addition to having a number of schedulers and the ability to run efficiently on systems with large number of cores, there is service restartability via SMF, low-cost virtualization via Containers and a commitment to ABI compatibility which makes it easier to write code that works in the future (whether it's user-land or in the kernel).

I'm not sure why the Linux community sees this as a war - there's room in this world for multiple operating systems.

Kris Buytaert's picture

#5 Kris Buytaert : Tainted

It's semi proprietary because if it were fully open all the components of it would be fully open, inculding ZFS.

And I`m not even going to start the discussion about Open Source vs Active community outside the companay.

Not sure why I would want restartability from SMF here if mysqld_safe already provides similar functionality.
And it's not like I don't have the choice between LinuxVserver and OpenVZ already if I would want a chroot on steroids virtualization alternative. (Still wondering why I would want to have that for a database setup however.. )

I don't see it as a war .. I`m still puzzled why a company that once bought StarDivision because it was cheaper to buy a full company rather than to buy a corporate Microsoft Office License keeps doing redundant work rather than contributing it's good ideas to an already bigger platform.

And till someone explains me that I`ll continue asking critical questions about the topic.

Tony's picture

#6 Tony : ZFS Open?

But ZFS is fully open now, the Sun license enforces it. Problem for Linux is that the GPL requires linked code to be GPL licensed. It is the GPL that blocks ZFS, not the ZFS license.

Mark Callaghan's picture

#7 Mark Callaghan : MySQL and Solaris

Sun has amazing technology beyond ZFS (Solaris, dtrace, Zones, virtualization, support for big SMP, T2, Thumpers, HA), but I haven't seen much to motivate anyone to run MySQL on it. I want to know how any of performance, availablity and manageability get better were I to run MySQL on Solaris and Sun hardware -- and that message is easier to believe when written in the context of an actual deployment.

A better job could be done to integrate the two:
1) Make it easy to build MySQL on OpenSolaris. It appears to be difficult from blogs written by people who have done this.
2) Make it obvious that MySQL+Solaris is as fast as MySQL+Linux on the same hardware. I have not seen any evidence that this is the case. InnoDB benchmarks on Solaris+ZFS should be faster because the Innodb doublewrite buffer can be disabled without sacrificing safety.

The best marketing for MySQL+Solaris has been done by SmugMug, but beyond those two blogs not much has been written by users that is technically interesting and not much has come from MySQL/Sun.

The OpenSolaris AMI - http://www.sun.com/third-party/global/amazon - requires registration and approval from Sun. I am not sure how registration increases usage.

neel's picture

#8 neel : I had no problems building

I had no problems building Mysql 5.1.28 on opensolaris..http://blogs.sun.com/realneel/entry/building_mysql_5_1_28

Building from bzr is easy _if_ you realize that there are two versions of aclocal and some of the auto* binaries on opensolaris. using the 1.10 version gets you going smoothly.

Kris Buytaert's picture

#9 Kris Buytaert : Amazing vs Redundant Technology

I`m really interested to know what you consider amazing technology :)

ZFS and if I really give in dtrace could be listed as great.

But Zones and Virtualization who doesn't have that, heck it's just Xen under the hood. Solaris is still an antique beast lacking usability, there used to be a time when we called it Slowaris , because that was wat it was. Thumpers are on my , do not buy anymore list , why add the added annoyancy of having to manage an OS when all you need is storage, no thank you.

I`m not surprised that people who want to build MySQL on Solaris claim it is difficult, in the years that I still had customers on Solaris I always added 2 days extra to my quote to first gnuify the machine then start the real work.

And I would love to test MySQL's performance on ZFS , but I don't want to change my kernel and OS environment for just 1 filesystem, thank you there too ... what if Sun would make that easier for us now that would be a change :)

Sriram Narayanan's picture

#10 Sriram Narayanan : Are you using the kernel or the GNU userland

I'm glad that you'd like to test MySQL's performance on ZFS. If you are hesitant in changing your kernel and OS environment, then there are some questions to ask yourself:
1. Are you using the kernel itself or userland tools (e.g. the GNU userland) ?
2. Which GNU tools do you use ?

As a desktop:
Most people think they're using Linux, whereas they're actually using userland tools. If you visit (http://www.belenix.org/content/Screenshots), you'll see that the typical KDE + Compiz environment that most KDE users are used to are available on Belenix. Second,

As a server:
Yes, there are a number of commands that are Solaris specific, and there are other commands that have solaris-specific command line arguments. However, almost all of the GNU userland is available too.

Gnunifying Solaris (10 at least - I've not used 9 or 8), for me has simply been installing SunFreeware, and then adding the bin folder to appear first on the PATH. Today, OpenSolaris does this by default.

Slowlaris is a thing of the past because of the revamped Network Stack. See http://www.sun.com/bigadmin/xperts/sessions/11_fireengine/. Also, a google search for "opensolaris Crossbow" would point you to some even more interesting technology which may be part of mainstream opensolaris in a few months. The Bangalore Open Solaris User Group is going to work on a network distro based on opensolaris crossbow.

I'm not very surprised at the outdated and less informed nature of your comments. This is something that many of us in the opensolaris community are frustrated about -> We do not have a proper marketing mechanism in place, and are not doing enough to educate the world on opensolaris as it is today. I'm going to take this up at the BOSUG next.

Thank you.

Kris Buytaert's picture

#11 Kris Buytaert : I`m using Linux

The Linux kernel, A Linux Distribution, GNU tools, Linux Packages that are available for everything I need.

I use Linux.

Not something desperately wanting to be Linux.

Sriram Narayanan's picture

#12 Sriram Narayanan : Desperately wanting to be Linux ?

Well, you're not the only one who makes such statements. During my conversations in person with such persons, we both conclude that they're focussed on userland tools and commands, and not on other technologies that the opensolaris platform has to offer.

By simply offering GNU userland (which any other Unix too can do), does not necessarily make opensolaris a Linux-wannabe. OpenSolaris 2008.5 bay have it's own choice, different from what a KDE base distro like Belenix would have to offer.

From my perspective (as a sysadmin who supports a number of platforms), you seem to be simply a GNU userland user, and are used to a particular packaging format (No offense meant).

I do not blame you for this (to me) short sighted perspective - I blame Sun, the opensolaris foundation, as well as opensolaris based distros such as Belenix (on which I work), for the poor marketing that we've all done about opensolaris, and about myths and outdated information such as those that you have mentioned here (Yes, I'm maybe speaking toungue-in-cheek, but I'm guilty of not having demonstrable benefits of how an opensolaris distro can have GNU userland and still have a lot of differentiators).

-- Sriram