MySQL and Sun – Oportunity for smaller companies ?Peter Zaitsev
Reading Martens interview we see the quite:
“As soon as the deal closed we immediately secured a big deal with a major European national police agency,” said Mickos, now SVP database products at Sun. “Key to them choosing MySQL was that we are now part of a much larger public corporation. The deal wouldn’t have happened when we were private.”
Cool stuff! But I’m wondering how much the opposite applies as well – this would leave small companies to seek for other ways to get the service they need ?
As company gets ready to server higher end customers it often “moves up the stack” and fails to deal with needs of lower end customers. This especially applies to Professional Service Companies.
Let me give you an example
This shows how MySQL Support Prices looked back in the end of 1999. As you can see you could get basic support for just 170 EUR a year and get extended support for 5000 EUR/year, and this is not the price per server – you could use this support for as many servers as you wanted.
Besides price being very low you have been getting support from Monty himself or handful of other people and at least Monty would read all replies and correct if there are any omissions. Also if you found a bug Monty would normally have a fix for you within an hours and roll it into next release which would be few days/weeks away. If you happen to have a repeatable test case you would likely get a fix from mailing list anyway within similar time frame.
Over years things have changed both from pricing standpoint and quality standpoint – MySQL Support is still very good compared to many larger vendors but it is not Monty any more – not as competent and not as uniform quality. Plus it takes much longer time to have fixes if you have found a bug.
Now, do not get me wrong this is normal and expected – to get same level of service as 8 years ago you would need to clone Monty 1000 times and still get into trouble because codebase became much larger and more complicated for one person to know all the code. It is quite natural but it still can hurt.
Though standard packaged services are not the main problem dealing with large companies. You can go online and buy support for your single server and use it to solve most of your problems quickly.
In my experience as small business owner the problem tends to happen when you either get some problems or need something custom ? How easily are top decision makers are available and how much time they can dedicate to you ? Typically the larger company gets the harder it is to get through and actually make things done and more money you need to get some true attention.
For example I have comments from the customers having hard time getting any serious attention from MySQL Sales Team with orders less than $10000.
Another thing I remember we tend to joke about during early MySQL years is how much it would cost to approach Oracle and make them to implement custom feature which would go in the main server ? We’re probably speaking millions while MySQL could have these done for thousands or tens of thousands in some cases.
As MySQL merge with Sun progresses I do not expect it will become easier for small companies to get custom treatment from them, get their fixes prioritized or get custom development at low cost. This is not how large companies work – if you’re small company you can get commodity services relatively simple for relatively good price but if you want special treatment you’ve got to pay a lot of Money 🙂
These all are good news for smaller companies like Percona, Pythian, Proven Scaling, Open Query. All of these companies should offer more personal professional services than MySQL and would be more open to customize services. All by Pythian are also lead by seasoned MySQL experts – it helps a lot in many cases when decision makers are technically savvy to fully understand problems to the full depth.
UPDATE: Reponding to Paul and Sherri comments I’m not questioning level of MySQL Expertise Pythian provide I am just pointing out to MySQL background of CEO of the companies mentioned.
Some of these companies may also be faster to fix your MySQL issues – at Percona we do a lot of work with performance analyzes and Scaling. Proven Scaling is well known for contributing SHOW PROFILE patch and gets bug fixed for their customers.
So I agree with Marten – the deal with Sun is great news for MySQL and will steer a lot of large fish in MySQL nets, it is also great news for us, smaller service companies, enjoying dealing with smaller customers and having business models and systems to handle small deals efficiently.