Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/10/oracle_back_footed_mysql_prices/

Oracle spreads blame for MySQL 'misperceptions'

Support is more expensive — and that's a 'fact'

By Gavin Clarke

Posted in Applications, 10th November 2010 23:44 GMT

Oracle has clarified the pricing and packaging for MySQL while pointing the finger at everybody else for getting the wrong idea in the first place.

The giant has updated its MySQL product page to explain that MySQL's InnoDB storage engine will be included in all three paid editions of the open-source database.

Banished from the site is MySQL Classic Edition, the edition that Oracle's site said would not include InnoDB. This is the version of MySQL built for OEMs and ISVs. You can see the old page here, courtesy of ReadWrite Cloud.

It was Oracle's inclusion of MySQL Classic Edition on the site that appears to have been taken as being the Community Edition and that had people concerned that Oracle was keeping InnoDB back.

InnoDB Tweet

Classic confusion? InnoDB in or out of the MySQL Community Edition?

To be fair to Oracle, it has been consistent in saying InnoDB would become MySQL's transaction engine and it'll be made available to all editions.

That said, it is in Oracle's DNA to hold back product capabilities as "premium" features for which it can charge. This, married with the fact that Oracle bought InnoDB in 2005 before it got MySQL, means it's little surprise people got a little skittish that InnoDB was being kept back.

It's also in Oracle's DNA to not explain things and — it seems — so is a tendency to blame other people when this approach puts Oracle on the back foot.

Oracle senior director of product marketing Monica Kumar chose to blame the problems that it has found it self in cncerning InnoDB on the "misperception created by catchy headlines."

"In part, the confusion was caused by people assuming that the MySQL Classic Edition (an option for embedding that has been around for a long time) is the same as MySQL Community Edition...not so. We have made appropriate changes to our web page to clarify this," she wrote.

So there you have it: Oracle is not at fault — you're just a little slow. But, hey-ho, if Oracle can take time out from its busy day to make things clearer for you, so be it.

Kumar went on to blame "a number of blog postings and headlines" for also giving the wrong impression that Oracle is raising and doubling MySQL's prices.

The facts, Kumar said, are these. All paid MySQL editions now get 24x7 support, unlimited support incidents, access to the knowledge base, and maintenance releases, bug fixes, patches, and updates.

Oracle is right to have leveled the crazy maze that was MySQL support-option setup under Sun Microsystems. The giant tried to be too clever by differentiating MySQL by support options — something that resulted in a confusing mess.

More features also come as standard in all three versions of MySQL, such as connectors and replication. This isn't the big story, though, because — as you'd expect — features in the MySQL packages soon vary according to the more you pay. MySQL Enterprise Edition and Cluster Carrier Grade get database partitioning, MySQL Enterprise Monitor, and MySQL Enterprise Backup. MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade also gets Cluster Manager.

The really big difference is that under Oracle, all MySQL users get 24x7 support — referenced a number of times by Kumar in her blog post. Also, apparently, MySQL support is "global."

Under Sun, users on the MySQL Basic option — killed by Oracle under its new pricing — paid $599 per server per year to get absolutely no phone help. MySQL Silver users paid $1,999 for the right to a business-hours' phone support service with a response time of four hours — no doubt while Sun picked its toenails in the call center waiting for a really big call to come in.

There's nothing like valuing the customer — and, well Sun, that was nothing like valuing the customer.

Under Oracle, it's the 24x7 support that seems responsible for the price hike — people are always the most expensive part of any support operation.

Under Sun, MySQL customers already received some lifecycle support. Most had unlimited support incidents — only the grunts on Basic were cut off at two incidents — and Sun provided access to the knowledge base, which is a cheapo-vendor way of giving you the keys to the library and letting you go find what you need.

Oracle has doubled the price for Basic customers, whose new entry price is $2,000 for Standard Edition per one to four socket server per year. Those on the high end, and who used to pay $4,999 under Sun, now get MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition at $10,000 per server.

But don't take our word for it that this is a doubling. Oracle's own MySQL sales people were out in the field before last week's price hike, busy putting the frighteners on MySQL users, telling them increases were coming. Oracle tried to have people commit to another three years of Basic and Silver rather than have them go get support from some SkySQL or Percona, or migrate their MySQL databases to the cloud with Xeround.

Now the impact of its changes is becoming clear, Oracle has decided that its best to blame others while trying to sooth folks with talk of "clearing the air" and of "value".

Larry Ellison might loathe fellow chief executive Steve Ballmer's Microsoft, but this is exactly what Ballmer's company did when customers revolted last decade against Microsoft's hated Software Assurance license program

Microsoft began adding more "features", such as training and home-use rights, to pad out that program and defuse the argument that SA was nothing more than a price increase that delivered nothing new in return or in value. ®