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Justification - MySQL v Oracle, Open Source v Commercial

There's a big Open Source (MySQL) v commercial (Oracle) debate. Here are some interesting facts behind the mask.

The financial decision should be based on TCO (Total cost of ownership) rather than on license fees. It's always nice to get "something for nothing" but newcomers fear that they'll spend more in the long term on supporting a product that's open source, and there are a number of scary rumours around.

Typically, licensing fees on a commercial product account for some 25% to 35% of the total cost of ownership. So the license fee in a MySQL v Oracle decision is not as vital as you might think. However, TCO for a MySQL system tends to be anywhere from 75% to 90% less than the Oracle equivalent. I have no proof of these figures, but I can believe them because of
THE EASE OF INSTALLING MYSQL
THE EASE OF MAINTAINING MYSQL
THE LOWER DBA COSTS (TRAINING, SALARY, NUMBER OF STAFF)

In justification of a commercial route, conservative buyers often talk about responsibility for code and support - if you want that, you can buy a commercial license for your MySQL. At the top of this market, a 24x7 contract with a 1 hour response time will cost you $50k per year, or if you pay $250k you'll get that plus your own assigned engineer who knows your setup in great detail and can be reached at any time by pager. Regular visits, etc. ... this isn't the sort of thing the typical customer needs, but it's something that the big NYSE companies require where their systems are trading billions.

Licenses available are
 ELA Enterprise License Agreement
 VAR Value Added Reseller
 OEM Typically an integrator who includes MySQL in commercial product
 EULA End User License Agreement
 GPL Open Source License

Typically, the GPL works fine for most end users, but it's largely untested in courts or law and if lawyers get involved with bigger companies, they typically prefer to go for the EULA even though it costs.

The general answer to the question "do I need to buy a license" is - if you're for free, then it's free. If you are using it in your proprietary system, then you need a commercial license


See also SQL and MySQL training courses

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