MySQL, which sells an open-source database of the same name, was nearly unheard of in corporate technology circles a few years ago. Now the company’s competitively priced, easy-to-use database is becoming increasingly popular with business customers looking for smaller, less-expensive options.
The MySQL database is taking over that lower-price, lesser-need market Microsoft started with. It’s a niche the company says is underserved by database industry heavyweights Oracle, IBM and Microsoft. MySQL appeals to organizations looking for a database that is “good enough” for most needs, said Mark Shainman, a database analyst at Meta Group. MySQL is also riding a wave of growing awareness around the cost-effective use of open-source software, notably the Linux operating system.
Rather than have an aggressive marketing strategy, MySQL often comes in the back door of corporations and spreads from there, Urlocker said. A programmer or a department in a company may use MySQL when it can’t get the budget to purchase a database license, and then the company considers the software for broader use, he said.
MySQL has a novel open-source business model designed to appeal to smaller companies. The company offers its product under a dual license, charging customers for support services with a commercial license and offering its database for free download under the open-source GNU General Public License (GPL).