Speaking of MySQL, if these new results are to believed, MySQL is about 60% the cost of Oracle.

MySQL  ... $ 82.74/op
Oracle ... $139.84/op

That's measuring "total operations per second", which isn't the "normal" database comparison metric. But let's assume it's a fair way to compare databases anyway. (We could argue all day week the time about the "right" way to do it.)

That's surprising, given the vast difference in size between the two companies, isn't it? Back when I said:

MySQL is to Oracle as Linux is to Windows. It will slowly but steadily creep up the food chain, just like Linux has.

I didn't expect it to climb the price ladder quite this quickly.


Makes you wonder what things will look like when Oracle cuts prices to match, doesn't it?

Posted by jzawodn at September 07, 2004 10:49 AM

Reader Comments
# Indrek Siitan said:


AFAIK, this $/TOPS price is for "the whole shebang", including the RDBMS, but also the hardware/OS, enterprise tech support, et cetera.

I guess the 40% difference is the diff between MySQL and Oracle itself. :)

There's a description somewhere on the SPEC page (which I couldn't find within 5 minutes, though) of what the $ part exactly contains.

on September 7, 2004 11:04 AM
# Sascha Carlin said:

Well, they compare different software combination running on different hardware - quite hard to tell the stake of each component.

on September 7, 2004 11:11 AM
# Mike Hillyer said:

Indrek is right, that metric includes hardware and support in the price, so yeah, the 40% probably represents the cost of the database itself.

on September 7, 2004 11:14 AM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


If that's true, why wouldn't they want to highlight that in the press release? Wouldn't that be a more bold statement about MySQL's economic value?

on September 7, 2004 11:14 AM
# Indrek Siitan said:


Good point. I'll forward this to our marketing guys behind this press release.

on September 7, 2004 11:29 AM
# Adam Kramer said:

I haven't been keeping up with MySQL lately, but it seems like the focus on Postgresql from the industry is no where in sight (not that it ever was). It seemed like it was gonna be the object-relational database that could, but those numbers don't even include it.

It makes sense since MySQL is getting alot more commercial backing these days. And this is also coming from a MySQL press release. But before I go out on thee Web and research this, does anyone want to put their two cents in about where Postgresql has gone, and might still be going?

on September 7, 2004 11:32 AM
# George Schlossnagle said:

I don't buy the hardware pricing argument (although why on earth they would choose to run it on SunFires is beyond me). Have you checked out Oracle Enterprise Licensing lately? 40k per processor core. Hard to have that not dwarf most hardware costs.

on September 7, 2004 12:52 PM
# Larry said:

It's amazing how ignorant people in the "industry" can be, and for so long. Mysql - basically a file system interface - can barely be compared to a RDBMS like Oracle. Or MSSQL. Or Postgresql.

Another factor one needs to consider in determining mysql's costs is that of the increased development time needed to implement functionality that is part of other databases' basic features. And administering mysql is no easy chore either. It crashes and corrupts quite regularly.

Adam - Postgresql is full-on kicking ass. Version 8.0 is now in beta. There recently was a story on slashdolt, and the vast majority of commentors are realizing how great Postgresql has become and how crappy Mysql is.

Look at sqllite and mysqli - developed because mysql - and its licensing - is so schizophrenic and crappy. Comparing mysql to Oracle is like comparing Access to Oracle.

on September 7, 2004 01:21 PM
# Nicholas Tang said:

Presumably, a lot of the costs for the MySQL solution comes from the BEA app server portion of it, and as George mentioned, the odd choice to run it on Sun hardware and presumably SunOS (although they are Sun/x86 boxes, not Sun/sparcs).

Too bad they couldn't stack up Linux/MySQL/open source app server/reasonably priced hardware vs. the commercial Oracle solution. The numbers would've looked very different.

on September 7, 2004 01:34 PM
# Indrek Siitan said:

First - if you look at this page, you'll see that the WebLogic/MySQL/Sun entry was submitted by Sun - obviously that explains the choice of hardware. :)

Second - the Oracle in the $139/TOPS configuration is "Oracle9i Database Release 2 Standard Edition v9.2.0.2" - I guess that's not the $40K/CPU enterprise version.

on September 7, 2004 02:11 PM
# Ethan O'Rafferty said:

If the comparison were just on the cost of the database license, MySQL would have beaten Oracle by a lot more than 40%!

The $/TOPS is about all of the h/w and s/w components including a MySQL support contract. This is nice because it takes into account many more of the TCO factors of running a corporate database (not just the licenses), and ties it to MySQL's top performance.

It would be a less interesting story if the price were great but the performance was not so great -- price and performance are both great, and combined they're the best by 40%. Some MySQL customers like Sabre estimated 40% TCO savings but then actually acheive 80%, so this is not unrealistic.

Ethan O'Rafferty
Director, U.S. Alliances, MySQL AB

on September 7, 2004 04:25 PM
# Mark said:

Is this with or without stored procedures?

Or full ACID support?

Or high-availability clustering? Subselects? Real views? A real admin console?

Really, the comparison is almost comical.

MySQL:Oracle::GIMP:Photoshop. Great for users who know enough to be dangerous, but terrible for users who have real demands. You go ahead and pay your $82.74 for your Kia. I'll take my Audi S4.

on September 7, 2004 05:13 PM
# Larry said:

Heh, "MySQL, the Kia of databases".

on September 7, 2004 05:20 PM
# Indrek Siitan said:

These kind of comments always lead me to wonder how much harder of a competitor Postgres would be if all their fans and users channeled their effort into something more constructive than bashing MySQL in every place imaginable (and then a few where the rest of us didn't even come to think of).

on September 7, 2004 07:04 PM
# Larry said:

Riiight...MySQL users never bash other databases?? Go browse some of the docs at mysql.com - even they make derogatory comments about other databases (pretty unprofessional really), and - last I looked - used VERY outdated versions of Postgresql for benchmark comparisons.

There are a lot of Postgresql users, developers, etc. going full-tilt on "constructive" things (nobody's wondering if any of them have been kidnapped!). Which includes promoting Postgresql, and debunking falsehoods, ignorance, laziness. If you're going to toot your own horn, and take shots at others, you better damn well make sure you're the best. I know many people at this blog know next to nothing about Postgresql (nor have ever taken the step of actually USING it) - it's pretty funny to bash something you're pretty much ignorant about (and, yes, I am a MySQL expert).

on September 7, 2004 07:31 PM
# Lazywriter said:

"It's amazing how ignorant people in the "industry" can be, and for so long. Mysql - basically a file system interface - can barely be compared to a RDBMS like Oracle. Or MSSQL. Or Postgresql."

Absolutely true. Still see MySQL in version 3.23 and cannot even imagine how much can be database engine changed in just two years. Wake up, try current version and you will be suprised.

on September 8, 2004 01:43 AM
# justin said:

"my database is better than your database"

(mysql rocks by the way)

on September 8, 2004 09:04 AM
# Lee said:

MySQL is obviously going to be cheaper...for the comparable usages. So, when you have a scenario where both databases have the required functionality, then MySQL is extremely competitive.

However, if you require certain features for your application like XA transactions, materialized views, table partitioning, cluster indexes...there are some very large or unique system that really do require this stuff. In this case, MySQL is just not an option. Unfortunately, for some tasks Oracle is one of the only options, and that is the only reason why they can still charge the prices they do.

I'm a huge fan of both MySQL and Oracle having worked with both of them for a while now...they're great. However, I'm a bigger fan of the right tool for the right job.

on September 30, 2004 03:42 PM
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