Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The battle against Oracle is probably over but has the real war begun yet?

According to different sources from the web the decision about the Oracle - Sun merger has been approved by the European commission soon. So at least in the West it is clear what is going on. Let us see what the East decides... [1], [2].

Oracles arch-enemy Microsoft has already brought its weapons in position against the target with its: "Microsoft offers Oracle-phobes MySQL migration tool" [3], [4]. So far so good. Nothing new, nothing special.

What made me a bit edgy was the following Oracle blog series about their Oracle Warehouse Builder (OWB):
  • OWB 11gR2 – MySQL Open Connectivity [5]
  • OWB 11gR2 – MySQL Bulk Extract [6]
OWB seems to be a great tool to move data around from different sources, to mix them and to extract some useful results.

It looks like with the new 11gR2 release there "... were significant changes to mapping to support native heterogeneous connectivity to systems ...".

What interests me more is what is MySQL related about it. In the second part of the series I find some text passages like:

"Next on the MySQL series, let's look at bulk extract to file from MySQL. ... and also rather than just unloading to file, we can optimize for other systems such as Oracle and create Load Code Templates that extract in bulk from MySQL (or whatever) transfer to the Oracle system and create an external table as the staging table. ... Hopefully this gives you a taster for the capabilities of the bulk extract capabilities using MySQL as an illustration."

This makes me just a bit nervous. But hopefully I am just overreacting because of the current situation... So let us carefully watch how it continues!

PS: .oO(How would it sound like this: "... and also rather than just unloading Oracle data to file, we can optimize for MySQL and create Load Code Templates that extract in bulk from Oracle (or whatever) transfer to the MySQL system ..."?)

1 Yahoo! NEWS
2 The Wall Street Journal
3 Microsoft offers Oracle-phobes MySQL migration tool
4 Free Download: Microsoft SQL Server Migration Assistant
5 OWB 11gR2 – MySQL Open Connectivity
6 OWB 11gR2 – MySQL Bulk Extract


Robert Hodges said...

Hi Shinguz,

I think you might be over-reading this. MySQL customers have used Oracle to run analytics for years, as it has good support for warehouse schema (e.g., star schemas), includes ETL, has good reporting tools, and can crunch very large quantities of data. I have come across a number of sites over the years that run web-facing applications on MySQL and report on Oracle.

Cheers, Robert

Shinguz said...

Hi Robert,

I hope you are right!

What is interesting to me again and again is the difference between the 2 sides of the Atlantic. In the last 4 years I cannot remember one single customer who moved his data to Oracle after he processes them in MySQL (a selective memory is possible).
In contrary I can remember a big player who moved the data OUT of Oracle because it was too slow there (performance wise and how his wishes were implemented in Oracle).


Robert Hodges said...

I have also seen people leave Oracle for MySQL for a variety of reasons, though never for analytics so far. In general, migrations are very rare, at last in the US, because optimal large system architectures can be quite different for Oracle and MySQL, and there are significant differences in the SQL dialects. PostgreSQL is a better fit for most Oracle apps.

And yes, there are definitely differences in perspective on the Oracle vs MySQL issue. I was definitely in the "what's the big deal camp" on the acquisition, in large part because I do not believe the markets they serve overlap very much.

Shinguz said...

Hello Robert,

Those customers who are leaving I do not see any more. :) But I am sure there are some.
What we see often are MySQL customers trying to migrate from Oracle to MySQL. You can recognize them very well when they are asking typical Oracle-mind-set questions. They are PL/SQL addicted and they want to do the same thing in MySQL. They want to do auditing like with Oracle. They want to replace a RAC with MySQL Cluster, etc.
I agree with you that Oracle is much more mature than MySQL, technically speaking. But we found 7 years ago (!) in a study, that about 75% of the Oracle installations in those times could have been done (technically) easily on Open Source databases. I do not take into account here the migration work, applications that are not supported, etc.
I also agree with you in the better fit of PostgreSQL replacing Oracle.
And even with your overlap opinion I agree (technically). But in practice for the majority of Oracle installations Oracle is much oversized and that's the point where MySQL hurts because of its popularity (not because of its technical brilliance)...

antonio romero said...


I'm the product manager for Warehouse Builder. Don't read too much into this, we are implementing moving data from MySQL to Oracle with Warehouse Builder a) as an example of how you can easily add a new data source type to OWB that wasn't originally designed in b) because, as Robert says, there are plenty of customers who use the Oracle DB for analytic-type DW stuff but who have all manner of data sources, including MySQL, that they're committed to as part of other systems. OWB is not generally used for one-time "abandon ship"-type migrations, it's usually something like a daily batch movement of data for analytics.