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Probing Oracle’s NoSQL Agenda

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mariadb logomysql logoThere’s been media noise of late around the question of Oracle’s intentions (some would say laziness) concerning keeping it’s acquired MySQL database product relevant within the BD website backend niche. Two topics of conversation arise: the contest between MySQL and newcomer MariaDB in this arena, and the re-positioning going on concerning Oracle’s own flagship database regarding NoSQL and Big Data.

MySQL vs. MariaDB

Readwrite and Monty Widenius contend that Oracle has deliberately been slowing down the open-source community community improvement pipeline to the MySQL database, essentially forcing MariaDB into a corner. MariaDB has been developing hooks into NoSQL for it’s open-source db as part of an effort to distinguish itself from the well-established though perhaps more staid MySQL, but it needs to simultaneously preserve compatibility with MySQL, otherwise migrations for existing websites will be discouraged.

“MySQL has become increasingly isolated as an open source project since the open-source database was acquired by Oracle when the software giant purchased Sun Microsystems.”
                                                                                                             ~Brian Profitt (@ReadWrite)

Monty Widenius is a unique figure within the MariaDB/MySQL cosmos because he is both the original developer for MySQL and the current lead developer at MariaDB. He departed MySQL basically because Oracle acquired it, and is determined that no corporate ownership ever befalls his new database. The strategy to further this goal is to have as robust a collection of involved or sponsoring companies as possible — and to this end Google recently joined the party.

Cassandra nosql support within MariaDB

Cassandra nosql support within MariaDB

Widenius pegs the current feature margin of MariaDB over MySQL at about 30 developer years. Two blog pages are constantly tracking the differential, one from the perspective of pure improvements and the other from that of compatibility maintenance. You’ll note in the former that the Cassandra storage engine support has already been implemented, and MariaDB is at work upon supporting other popular NoSQL engines. Here’s where you can obtain the latest version of MariaDB for a test drive.

Oracle seems to be walking a balance beam between keeping true to form concerning it’s habitual disdain for open-source and avoiding wholesale desertion of it’s entrenched MySQL enthusiast community. They’ve outlined a hybrid open-source contributor agreement (OCA) which some deride and others champion. Giuseppe Maxia, himself a MySQL contributor, over at the Data Charmer blog, seems to have a fairly balanced assessment.

Oracle 12c and NoSQL

oracle marketing team spotted off coast of Indonesia

oracle marketing team spotted off coast of Indonesia

Meanwhile, what’s happening with Oracle’s flagship database regarding NoSQL support? It seems a longshot for the Oracle DB to ever be hoisted up as a serious factor in this arena, but when did Oracle ever shy away from a battle which could be waged by conglomerating new functionality or services onto it’s RDBMS?

Oracle not only offers it’s own flavor of a NoSQL storage engine, but is taking pains to “approach a more open-sourced distribution model” for it. You can download something called the Community Edition for free. This is in contrast to Oracle’s usual perpetual license model. A not entirely persuasive but still interesting testimonial video can viewed at this same link. In it, Alex Korotkoff of Engine-On touts the ease of installation, integration, and transactional solidness of Oracle’s solution. They use the Oracle DB for stuctured data and Oracle’s NoSQL for unstructured data to offer blended full solutions to clients. Oracle dispatched a VP out to the recent NoSQL Now conference in order to announce this new ‘community’ arrangement, excerpted below:

Andy Mendelsohn announces new NoSQL Community license

w h i t e s p a c e

Oracle technical salesfolk also unveiled some new SQL extensions effecting queries against NoSQL and Hadoop HDFS datastores during the unveiling of their new 12c database release this summer. Another post discusses this. Oracle’s Enterprise level competitors are also staking claims to this ground; here’s a marketing example for Teradata’s SQL-H product.


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