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MySQL AB is inching closer to certification with SAP's mighty business applications suite, nearly three years after the companies first united.

The open source database vendor, making in roads among developers, told The Register it had completed 10 out of a total 12 tests in order to become officially certified with SAP. MySQL expects to be fully certified this year.

Certification should mean MySQL is officially capable of handling large transaction volumes and the data sets associated with running lots of concurrent users on an SAP system. The companies announced a development and cross-licensing deal in May 2003.

Until now, SAP customers have relied on the scalability and reliability of closed source databases to support the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite. Such is the importance of this market that Microsoft talks up the ability for each new version of its own SQL Server database to support ever larger numbers of users and amounts of data in SAP.

However, Zack Urlocker, MySQL's executive vice president (EVP) of marketing, promised "an incredible" return on investment (ROI) for customers using an open source database. The latest version of MySQL, version 5.0, introduced improvements in reliability and performance targeting enterprise users.

Urlocker expects organizations using Linux will start to run their business applications on an open source database in new projects and roll outs. "Once they get comfortable with Linux it's a comfortable next step to run applications on an open source database," Urlocker said during a recent interview.

There is, of course, an added twist to this tale for SAP, itself. Customers who chose to run SAP on an Oracle database are literally funding SAP's business software rival by paying Oracle's licensing and maintenance fees.®

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