MySQL surprises even Sun with a monetization idea

On Tuesday, Sun Microsystems hosted a "Community Townhall" event in which executives from Sun and its latest acquisition, pinnacle open source applications provider MySQL, discussed how they intend to move forward.

In January, Sun announced plans to purchase MySQL for $1 billion - $800 million in cash and $200 million in assumed options -- to try to bolster its growing database offerings. The Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 markets help drive the growing demand for the lucrative database market, where Sun will compete with Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.

"We are building a huge business," MySQL CEO Marten Mickos said during the discussion held yesterday. Mickos now serves as the senior vice president of Sun's database group.

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Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz discussed why open source technology remains an important part of the DNA of Sun, and how it'll be used in the future.

"We are the largest company on earth that is an active driver of open source," Schwartz said.

Although some Sun employees showed concern that the company invests more than $2 billion in research and development only to give it away, Sun hopes to have its software in the hands of developers who may in the end purchase Sun hardware to power the free software.

During the event, Green unofficially announced MySQL will eventually be deployed through the Network.com service, though Schwartz mentioned how even he didn't realize that was going to take place. Network.com is a Sun service that allows users to have access to a pay-per-use cloud computing service using the Sun Grid Compute Utility.

Microsoft announced a similar service, SQL Server Data Services, at the MIX '08 conference in Las Vegas just today.

Sun hopes to help MySQL further compete against similar services from Oracle and Microsoft, and wants to have an impact starting immediately. While the United States remains an important location for MySQL adoption, Sun has plans for Japan and India, where users and companies are utilizing Microsoft and Oracle software.

Although MySQL had a reliable support system, analysts pointed out after the acquisition was completed that Sun would be able to offer a new global support system aimed to help draw potential new clients to use MySQL.

Schwartz and Green will continue on a world tour that will wrap up in mid-April during the MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, California. The company hopes to make several new announcements at its show next month.

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