Oracle Commits to MySQL with InnoDB

Oracle is serious about growing the MySQL database.

That’s the message from Edward Screven, the company’s chief corporate architect, who on Tuesday outlined the way forward for MySQL under Oracle’s (NASDAQ: ORCL) direction following the acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

As part of that direction, Oracle today announced the beta release of MySQL 5.5, and said that the InnoDB engine would become the default storage engine for MySQL. Overall, Screven stressed that MySQL is a critical asset that Oracle intends to develop and expand.

“MySQL is important to Oracle,” Screven told “It’s important to us in business terms and strategically.”

He noted that Oracle’s corporate strategy is to provide open and integrated solutions for customers by offering components at each level of the stack, from middleware to hardware. Oracle sees MySQL expanding the breadth of options the company can offer customers at each of those levels.

“If you look at MySQL, it has some properties that are different than the Oracle database,” Screven said. “MySQL is small, lightweight and it’s easy to administer, install and get going with if you’re a developer.”

The upshot for Oracle is that MySQL could help it address a segment of customer problems that Oracle doesn’t address with its namesake database.

“That’s why it makes sense for us to continue to develop, invest in and promote MySQL,” Screven said. “We’re going to make MySQL better.”

Today Oracle is announcing some of its first steps in making MySQL better with the beta availability of MySQL 5.5. MySQL 5.5 has been available in development builds since December.

In one of the key changes in the MySQL 5.5 beta, Oracle has now designated InnoDB as the default storage engine for MySQL. Oracle acquired the InnoDB technology from database vendor Sleepycat in 2006 in a move that at the time was seen by some as a threat to MySQL.

Back in 2006, MySQL started up its own project called Falcon as a way to combat Oracle’s ownership of InnoDB. Oracle has now shut down Project Falcon.

“Falcon was a fearful reaction to Oracle’s acquisition of InnoDB,” Screven said. “There is no place for it now.”

Bringing together the MySQL and InnoDB development teams will benefit MySQL users, Screven said, noting that the collaboration will speed enhancement and integration of the two technologies.

Oracle will also focus its development effort on improving MySQL on Windows platforms. While MySQL is popular on Linux, it is also widely used on Windows, and Oracle will increase investment to ensure that adoption grows there as well, Screven said.

While Oracle faced some obstacles in acquiring Sun due to the MySQL database, Screven noted that the actual integration of MySQL into Oracle has been relatively painless.

“MySQL had an independent identity within Sun so we haven’t had to do any major restructuring,” Screven said. “Our vision inside Oracle is that we want to have a specialized MySQL development organization and sales force. As those things were still intact at Sun we haven’t had to make a lot of big, hard changes.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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