Entries Tagged 'The 451 Group' ↓

Your chance to define the “state of MySQL”

We are very honoured to have been asked to give a “state of the MySQL” keynote presentation at the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo in April.

While this will not be in any way an official “state of the dolphin” presentation, I think it is fitting given the expansion of the MySQL ecosystem that the Percona Live event includes an independent perspective on the state of MySQL. The full title of the presentation – MySQL, YourSQL, NoSQL, NewSQL – the state of the MySQL ecosystem – reflects that.

We want to present an independent perspective on the health of the MySQL ecosystem in 2013, drawing on our research and analysis, as well as the views of the participants in that ecosystem.

You have a chance to directly influence the content of the presentation by taking part in our 2013 Database survey.

The aim of this survey is to identify trends in database usage, as well as changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle, and the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other databases, including NoSQL and NewSQL technologies, as well as MariaDB, Percona Server and other MySQL variants.

There are just 15 questions to answer, spread over five pages, and the entire survey should take less than ten minutes to complete.

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due during Q2.

The full report will be available to 451 Research clients, while the results of the survey will also be made freely available via the keynote presentation.

Thanks in advance for your participation. We’re looking forward to analyzing and presenting the results. Once again, you can find the the survey at http://bit.ly/451db13

Our 2013 Database survey is now live

451 Research’s 2013 Database survey is now live at http://bit.ly/451db13 investigating the current use of database technologies, including MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL, as well as traditional relation and non-relational databases.

The aim of this survey is to identify trends in database usage, as well as changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle, and the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other databases, including NoSQL and NewSQL technologies.

There are just 15 questions to answer, spread over five pages, and the entire survey should take less than ten minutes to complete.

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due during Q2.

The full report will be available to 451 Research clients, while the results of the survey will also be made freely available via a
presentation at the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo in April.

Last year’s results have been viewed nearly 55,000 times on SlideShare so we are hoping for a good response to this year’s survey.

One of the most interesting aspects of a 2012 survey results was the extent to which MySQL users were testing and adopting PostgreSQL. Will that trend continue or accelerate in 2013? And what of the adoption of cloud-based database services such as Amazon RDS and Google Cloud SQL?

Are the new breed of NewSQL vendors having any impact on the relational database incumbents such as Oracle, Microsoft and IBM? And how is SAP HANA adoption driving interest in other in-memory databases such as VoltDB and MemSQL?

We will also be interested to see how well NoSQL databases fair in this year’s survey results. Last year MongoDB was the most popular, followed by Apache Cassandra/DataStax and Redis. Are these now making a bigger impact on the wider market, and what of Basho’s Riak, CouchDB, Neo4j, Couchbase et al?

Additionally, we have been tracking attitudes to Oracle’s ownership of MySQL since the deal to acquire Sun was announced. Have MySQL users’ attitudes towards Oracle improved or declined in the last 12 months, and what impact will the formation of the MariaDB Foundation have on MariaDB adoption?

We’re looking forward to analyzing the results and providing answers to these and other questions. Please help us to get the most representative result set by taking part in the survey at http://bit.ly/451db13

MySQL vs. NoSQL and NewSQL – survey results

Back in January we launched a survey of database users to explore the competitive dynamic between MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL databases, and to to discover if MySQL usage is really declining – as had been indicated by the results of a prior survey.

The publication of the associated report took longer than expected, mostly because we expanded its scope to include revenue and growth estimates for the MySQL ecosystem, NoSQL and NewSQL sectors respectively, and with that report now published I am pleased to fulfil our promise to share the survey results.

We seem to be having some random embedding issues so for now the results can be found on SlideShare, adapted from the presentation given at OSBC earlier this week. For greater context, we have also included an explanation of each slide, below:

Slide 2: Provides an overview of the associated report – MySQL vs NoSQL and NewSQL 2011:2015, which is available here.

Slide 3: Explains why we launched the report. We once described as the crown jewel of the open source database world, since its focus on Web-based applications, its lightweight architecture and fast-read capabilities, and its brand differentiated it from all of the established database vendors and made for a potentially complementary acquisition. Today, the competitive situation is very different.

Slide 4: Oracle’s MySQL business faces competition from the rest of the MySQL ecosystem, as illustrated in Slide 5, many of which have emerged following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun/MySQL.

Slide 6: The emergence of these alternatives was triggered, in part, by concern about the future of MySQL. A previous 451 survey,conducted in November 2009, showed that there was real concern about the acquisition, with only 17% of MySQL users believing Oracle should be allowed to acquire MySQL.

Slide 7: The 2009 survey also showed that while 82.1% of respondents were already using MySQL, that figure was expected to drop to 72.3% by 2014. That survey was conducted amid a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding the future of MySQL, and one of the drivers for our current report was to see if that predicted decline occurred.

Slide 8: To put this in context, we asked the current survey sample (which included 205 database users) about their reaction to the acquisition. While the vast majority of MySQL users reported that they continued to use MySQL where appropriate, 5% indicated that they were more inclined to use MySQL, and 26% said they were less inclined to use MySQL. Not surprisingly the proportion of users less inclined to use MySQL was much higher amongst those abandoning MySQL than those sticking with MySQL.

Slide 9: We also asked respondents to rate Oracle’s ownership of MySQL on a range of very good to very bad. Overall, the balance tipped in favour of a negative perception of Oracle’s track record, while there was naturally a more negative perception of Oracle amongst those abandoning MySQL compared to MySQL mainstays. However, the results showed that the percentage of respondents rating the company’s performance ‘very good’ and ‘very bad’ was actually quite similar for both abandoners and mainstays. While those abandoning MySQL are more likely to have a negative perception of Oracle, it is not necessarily safe to assume that Oracle’s actions and strategy are the cause of the abandonment. Clearly there are other competitive forces at work.

Slide 10: Not least the emergence of NoSQL, as illustrated in Slide 11, and NewSQL, as illustrated in Slide 12.

Slide 13: Based on some very high profile examples of projects migrating from MySQL to NoSQL, there is a common assumption that NoSQL and NewSQL pose a direct, immediate threat to MySQL. We believe the competitive dynamic is more complex.

Slide 14: While 49% of those survey respondents abandoning MySQL planned on retaining or adopting NoSQL databases, only 12.7% said they had actually deployed NoSQL databases as a *direct replacement* for MySQL.

Slide 15: In comparison, there is much greater overlap between NewSQL and MySQL, but of a complementary nature. 33% of respondents retaining MySQL had considered, tested or deployed NewSQL database technologies, while approximately 75% of the NewSQL revenue for 2011 is from vendors that we also consider part of the MySQL ecosystem.

Slide 16: The results of our 2012 survey show that MySQL is currently the most popular database amongst our survey sample, used by 80.5% of respondents today.

Slide 17: However, it’s popularity is again expected to decline to 2014 and 2017. This indicates an accelerated decline in the use of MySQL, compared the findings of our 2009 survey. While that survey was conducted amid a climate of fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding the future of MySQL we are not aware of any specific reason why the 2012 sample, which was self-selecting, should have a disproportionately negative attitude to MySQL or Oracle.

Slide 18: MySQL’s predicted decline of 26.4 percentage points between 2012 and 2017 compares to a predicted decline of just 9.3 percentage points for Microsoft SQL Server, and only 5.9 percentage points for Oracle Database. In comparison, MariaDB, Apache Cassandra and Apache CouchDB are expected to increase in usage by 3.0 percentage points or greater between 2011 and 2017.

Slide 19: Although alternative MySQL distributions including MariaDB, Drizzle and Percona Server are expected to see increased adoption over the next five years, they are not growing at the same rate that MySQL is declining.

Slide 20: So where are those abandoning MySQL going to? Looking specifically at the 55 MySQL users who expect to abandon it by 2017 (which is admittedly a small sample, and therefore not to be considered statistically relevant) we see that PostgreSQL is the most popular database being retained or adopted over the same period, followed by Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MongoDB, and MariaDB.

Slide 21: This only tells part of the story, however. Just because a company is retaining Oracle Database, for example, does not necessarily mean that Oracle Database is being used as a replacement for the abandoned MySQL. We therefore also specifically asked survey respondents which databases they had considered, tested or deployed as a direct replacement for MySQL. The response from the 55 respondents planning to abandon MySQL again saw PostgreSQL, MariaDB and MongoDB as the most popular answers, followed by Apache CouchDB and Apache HBase.

Slide 22: While NoSQL database were well-represented in this list, we saw that anyone considering NoSQL considered multiple NoSQL databases. Per respondent, NoSQL databases were the least considered of all alternatives by existing MySQL users.

Slide 23: The survey results suggest that MongoDB is the most often considered, tested or deployed as a replacement or complement for MySQL, followed by Apache CouchDB, Apache HBase, Apache Cassandra/DataStax, and Redis.

Slide 24: NewSQL technologies that improve the scalability and performance of MySQL scored well, with eight of the top 10 most considered NewSQL technologies being directly complementing MySQL. Of the other two, one (Drizzle) is a derivative of MySQL, and the other (Clustrix) can also be used in a complementary manner as part of a MySQL cluster, although in the long-term is positioned as a direct alternative.

Slide 25: MariaDB is the member of the MySQL ecosystem most often considered, tested or deployed as a replacement or complement for MySQL, followed by Continuent Tungsten, Percona Server, MySQL Cluster, and Amazon RDS.

Slide 26: More than half of all MySQL users had considered, tested or deployed another relational database as a direct replacement, while over 40% had considered, tested or deployed a caching technology to complement MySQL. The memcached caching technology was the most widely-deployed of all the technologies we asked about, followed closely by PostgreSQL, which supported anecdotal evidence that a number of MySQL users are migrating to the other major open source transactional database.

Slide 27: For the record, the survey had 205 respondents. Primary job roles among respondents included: director/manager of IT infrastructure (18.0%); architect/engineer (17.6%); developer/programmer (15.6%); database/systems administrator (14.6%); consultant (14.1%); VP level or above (13.7%); analyst (3.4%); and line-of-business manager (2.9%).

Further survey analysis and perspective on the competitive dynamic between MySQL, NoSQL and NewSQL is available in the MySQL vs NoSQL and NewSQL report, which also includes market sizing and growth predictions for the three segments.

Announcing the Sixth Annual Future of Open Source Survey

Black Duck Software and North Bridge Venture Partners, in partnership with 451 Research, yesterday announced a collaboration to conduct the sixth annual Future of Open Source Survey.

The survey, an annual bellwether of the state of the open source industry, is supported by more than 20 open source software (OSS) industry leaders and is open to participation from the entire open source community.

The survey results point out market opportunities, identify issues affecting the enterprise adoption of open source, and foreshadow industry trends for 2012 and beyond. Open to the general public today, the survey closes at the end of April.

Survey results will be presented at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC, May 20 – 21, 2012) at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco – Embarcadero during the keynote panel on opening day. Moderating the panel will be Tim Yeaton, CEO and President, Black Duck Software and Michael Skok, general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners. Yeaton and Skok will be joined by several industry executives including Tom Erickson, CEO, Acquia.

Take the survey here: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22F4B845DQ5

See results of last year’s survey here.

Last chance to take part in our MySQL/NoSQL/NewSQL survey

Thanks to everyone who has already taken part in our survey exploring changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle and examining the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other database technologies, including NoSQL and NewSQL.

The response has been great and even a quick look at the results makes for interesting reading, particularly in the light of our previous findings which indicated declining MySQL usage.

I am really looking forward to having the opportunity for a deep dive into the results and break out the figures to get a better understanding of the potential impact of alternative MySQL distribution and support providers, as well as NoSQL and NewSQL, on continued usage of MySQL.

The survey results will be made freely available on our blogs, as well as being included in a long format report containing our additional analysis and research related to the MySQL ecosystem and competitive dynamic.

Right now, however, is your last chance to contribute to the survey and get your voice heard. There are just 12 questions to answer, spread over four pages, and the entire survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete. All individual responses are of course confidential.

The survey will close in 24 hours.

Is MySQL usage really declining?

If you’re a MySQL user, tell us about your adoption plans by taking our current survey.

Back in late 2009, at the height of the concern about Oracle’s imminent acquisition of Sun Microsystems and MySQL, 451 Research conducted a survey of open source software users to assess their database usage and attitudes towards Oracle.

The results provided an interesting snapshot of the potential implications of the acquisition and the concerns of MySQL users and even, so I am told, became part of the European Commission’s hearing into the proposed acquisition (used by both sides, apparently, which says something about both our independence and the malleability of data).

One of the most interesting aspects concerned the apparently imminent decline in the usage of MySQL. Of the 285 MySQL users in our 2009 survey, only 90.2% still expected to be using it two years later, and only 81.8% in 2014.

Other non-MySQL users expected to adopt the open source database after 2009, but the overall prediction was decline. While 82.1% of our sample of 347 open source users were using MySQL in 2009, only 78.7% expected to be using it in 2011, declining to 72.3% in 2014.

This represented an interesting snapshot of sentiment towards MySQL, but the result also had to be taken with a pinch of salt given the significant level of concern regarding MySQL future at the time the survey was conducted.

The survey also showed that only 17% of MySQL users thought that Oracle should be allowed to keep MySQL, while 14% of MySQL users were less likely to use MySQL if Oracle completed the acquisition.

That is why we are asking similar questions again, in our recently launched MySQL/NoSQL/NewSQL survey.

More than two years later Oracle has demonstrated that it did not have nefarious plans for MySQL. While its stewardship has not been without controversial moments, Oracle has also invested in the MySQL development process and improved the performance of the core product significantly. There are undoubtedly users that have turned away from MySQL because of Oracle but we also hear of others that have adopted the open source database specifically because of Oracle’s backing.

That is why we are now asking MySQL users to again tell us about their database usage, as well as attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle. Since the database landscape has changed considerably late 2009, we are now also asking about NoSQL and NewSQL adoption plans.

Is MySQL usage really in decline, or was the dip suggested by our 2009 survey the result of a frenzy of uncertainty and doubt given the imminent acquisition. Will our current survey confirm or contradict that result? If you’re a MySQL user, tell us about your adoption plans by taking our current survey.

451 Research MySQL/NoSQL/NewSQL survey

I’ve just launched a new survey that should be of interest if you are currently using or actively considering MySQL or any of the NoSQL or NewSQL offerings

The aim of the survey is threefold:

– identify trends in database usage over time
– explore changing attitudes to MySQL following its acquisition by Oracle
– examine the competitive dynamic between MySQL and other database technologies, including NoSQL and NewSQL

There are just 12 questions to answer, spread over four pages, and the entire survey should take no longer than five minutes to complete.

All individual responses are of course confidential. The results will be published as part of a major research report due at the end of Q1. Thanks in advance for your participation.

The survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MySQLNoSQLNewSQL

Our Total Data report is now totally available

…and it’s totally awesome. For more details of our Total Data report, and how to get it, see our Too Much Information blog.

Going Open, Going Closed: best practices and lessons learned

The 451 Group’s CAOS practice last week published its latest long format report: Going Open, Going Closed.

The report is the latest in a series from the 451 CAOS practice examining the impact of open source on business strategies. As previously indicated, it takes a look at a number of vendors that have successfully ‘gone open’, including WANdisco, JetBrains, SAP, Intuit, and VMware.

It also tracks the progress (or lack thereof) of the vendors profiled in our 2007 Going Open report, including Covalent, Hyperic, Ingres, Intalio, Jaspersoft, Laszlo Systems, Openclovis and Qlusters.

Finally, it also takes a look at vendors that have walked away from, or at least decreased their engagement with, open source licensing and development projects, investigating the reasons why they failed to gain the expected benefits from open source – or open source failed to meet their requirements.

The vendors that fall under this category include Calpont, GroundWork, KnowledgeTree, Symbian and SnapLogic. To be clear with regard to the report’s title , we would consider all of the following vendors to still be ‘open’ to some degree. As the report explains, however, they are not as open as, perhaps, they once were.

The report also includes more in-depth analysis of themes discussed in recent blog posts, such as the decline of ‘open source’ as an identifying differentiator, and the commercial open source window of opportunity, as well as a list of the best practices for software vendors considering an open source move and the lessons learned from those vendors that have had less successful engagements with open source licensing.

Our key findings:

  • The trend of closed source companies adopting open source software licensing and development methods has continued apace since our previous report.
  • Contrary to our initial expectations, however, there have been relatively few business-model shifts in the years following the publication of that report.
  • At the same time, there has been an explosion in the amount of M&A activity involving open-source-related vendors.
  • There is also a small but growing list of vendors that have backed away from open source licensing and development strategies, opting instead for ‘shared source,’ ‘freemium’ or SaaS-based approaches.
  • The fact that closed source vendors are not dependent on directly monetizing open source software gives them the freedom to relax control and encourage community through more permissive strategies.
  • Going open is not an either/or option for most companies, but a matter of applying the benefits of open source to their advantage while retaining an established closed source business, where appropriate.
  • While early approaches to going open were based on new vendors exploiting licensing to disrupt the existing market, we have also seen the emergence of approaches that involve incumbent vendors maintaining the status quo and avoiding disruption.
  • Shifting an entire business model to take advantage of open source licensing and development is a difficult process that is not to be taken lightly.
  • By comparison, it is easier for existing vendors to acquire vendor-led open source projects, engage with an existing foundation, or encourage open source development that complements their closed source software.
  • Open source is not a panacea. This is true of closed source vendors trying to reinvigorate a distressed product, but also of specialist vendors building a business around an open source project.
  • Strategies for ‘going open’ have become more nuanced as both closed source vendors and open source specialists have come to better understand the benefits and limitations of open source.

The overall conclusion is that ‘going open’ is a complicated and difficult process that requires concerted effort and an understanding of best practices, as well as the lessons learned from companies ‘going closed.’ Overall, the report presents an impartial overview of the strengths and weaknesses of open source strategies, the successes to replicate and the mistakes to avoid.

The 451 Take on the Future of Open Source

As previously mentioned, The 451 Group was very pleased to be able to participate in this year’s Future of Open Source Survey. We believe that the results provide critical insight into the wants and needs of end users that will help shape the evolution of vendor business strategies designed to meet the long-term needs of the industry.

The 451 Group’s research has previously shown that the benefits of open source software are many and varied and The Future of Open Source Survey highlights the fact that multiple factors are driving the increased adoption of open source software, including freedom from vendor lock-in, greater flexibility and lower cost.

As part of our involvement in the survey we have produced a report providing our perspective on the results and what they mean for the industry. The report is available to 451 Group clients here, and is also available to non-clients here. The report is free, although you will need to complete a short form to receive the report, which will also give you the opportunity to trial additional 451 Group research.

Presenting NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond at OSBC

Next Monday, May 16, I will be hosting session at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco focused on NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond.

The presentation covers our recently published report of the same name, and provides some additional context on the role of open source in driving innovation in distributed data management.

Specifically, the presentation looks at the evolving influence of open source in the database market and the context for the emergence of new database alternatives.

I’ll be walking through the six core drivers that have driven the development and adoption of NoSQL and NewSQL databases, as well as data grid/cache technologies – scalability, performance, relaxed consistency, agility, intricacy and necessity – providing some user adoption examples for each.

The presentation also discusses the broader trends impacting the data management, providing an introduction to our total data concept and how some of the drivers behind NoSQL and NewSQL are also impacting the role of the enterprise data warehouse, Hadoop, and data management in the cloud.

The presentation begins at 3pm PT on Monday 16. The event is taking place at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. I hope to see you there.

Necessity is the mother of NoSQL

As we noted last week, necessity is one of the six key factors that are driving the adoption of alternative data management technologies identified in our latest long format report, NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond.

Necessity is particularly relevant when looking at the history of the NoSQL databases. While it is easy for the incumbent database vendor to dismiss the various NoSQL projects as development playthings, it is clear that the vast majority of NoSQL projects were developed by companies and individuals in response to the fact that the existing database products and vendors were not suitable to meet their requirements with regards to the other five factors: scalability, performance, relaxed consistency, agility and intricacy.

The genesis of much – although by no means all – of the momentum behind the NoSQL database movement can be attributed to two research papers: Google’s BigTable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data, presented at the Seventh Symposium on Operating System Design and Implementation, in November 2006, and Amazon’s Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-Value Store, presented at the 21st ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, in October 2007.

The importance of these two projects is highlighted by The NoSQL Family Tree, a graphic representation of the relationships between (most of) the various major NoSQL projects:

Not only were the existing database products and vendors were not suitable to meet their requirements, but Google and Amazon, as well as the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, PowerSet and Zvents, could not rely on the incumbent vendors to develop anything suitable, given the vendors’ desire to protect their existing technologies and installed bases.

Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, has explained that as far as Amazon was concerned, the database layer required to support the company’s various Web services was too critical to be trusted to anyone else – Amazon had to develop Dynamo itself.

Vogels also pointed out, however, that this situation is suboptimal. The fact that Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and Amazon have had to develop and support their own database infrastructure is not a healthy sign. In a perfect world, they would all have better things to do than focus on developing and managing database platforms.

That explains why the companies have also all chosen to share their projects. Google and Amazon did so through the publication of research papers, which enabled the likes of Powerset, Facebook, Zvents and Linkedin to create their own implementations.

These implementations were then shared through the publication of source code, which has enabled the likes of Yahoo, Digg and Twitter to collaborate with each other and additional companies on their ongoing development.

Additionally, the NoSQL movement also boasts a significant number of developer-led projects initiated by individuals – in the tradition of open source – to scratch their own technology itches.

Examples include Apache CouchDB, originally created by the now-CTO of Couchbase, Damien Katz, to be an unstructured object store to support an RSS feed aggregator; and Redis, which was created by Salvatore Sanfilippo to support his real-time website analytics service.

We would also note that even some of the major vendor-led projects, such as Couchbase and 10gen, have been heavily influenced by non-vendor experience. 10gen was founded by former Doubleclick executives to create the software they felt was needed at the digital advertising firm, while online gaming firm Zynga was heavily involved in the development of the original Membase Server memcached-based key-value store (now Elastic Couchbase).

In this context it is interesting to note, therefore, that while the majority of NoSQL databases are open source, the NewSQL providers have largely chosen to avoid open source licensing, with VoltDB being the notable exception.

These NewSQL technologies are no less a child of necessity than NoSQL, although it is a vendor’s necessity to fill a gap in the market, rather than a user’s necessity to fill a gap in its own infrastructure. It will be intriguing to see whether the various other NewSQL vendors will turn to open source licensing in order to grow adoption and benefit from collaborative development.

NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond is available now from both the Information Management and Open Source practices (non-clients can apply for trial access). I will also be presenting the findings at the forthcoming Open Source Business Conference.

NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond: The answer to SPRAINed relational databases

The 451 Group’s new long format report on emerging database alternatives, NoSQL, NewSQL and Beyond, is now available.

The report examines the changing database landscape, investigating how the failure of existing suppliers to meet the performance, scalability and flexibility needs of large-scale data processing has led to the development and adoption of alternative data management technologies.

Specifically, the report covers:

  • NoSQL databases designed to meet scalability requirements of distributed architectures and/or schema-less data management requirements, including big tables, key value stores, document database and graph databases
  • NewSQL databases designed to meet scalability requirements of distributed architectures or to improve performance such that horizontal scalability is no longer a necessity, including new MySQL storage engines, transparent sharding technologies, software and hardware appliances, and completely new databases
  • Data grid/cache products designed to store data in memory to increase application and database performance, covering a spectrum of data management capabilities from non-persistent data caching to persistent caching, replication, and distributed data and compute grid functionality

You can see how these products fit into the wider data management landscape from the chart below. The shaded areas are those specifically covered in this report.

The answer to SPRAINed relational databases

SPRAIN, used in the above graphic, is an acronym that refers to the six key factors driving the adoption of alternative data management technologies to traditional relational databases that are being ‘sprained’ as a result of being stretched beyond their normal capacity by the needs of high-volume, highly distributed or highly complex applications.

Those six key drivers, and their associated sub-drivers, are as follows:

  • Scalability – hardware economics
  • Performance – MySQL limitations
  • Relaxed consistency – CAP theorem
  • Agility – polyglot persistence
  • Intricacy – big data, total data
  • Necessity – open source

The report examines each of these drivers and sub-drivers in turn, investigating how they are driving interest in alternative database approaches in general, and how they prompted the development of specific NoSQL, NewSQL and data grid/cache products and services.

It continues with profiles of the individual database alternatives and their use cases and case studies before concluding with a discussion of the impact of these database alternatives on the wider database market and the likely consolidation, confluence and proliferation of various technologies looking forward.

Here’s a selection of some of our key findings:

  • The database market remains dominated by relational databases and the incumbent industry giants, but the emergence of NoSQL and NewSQL alternatives has in part been driven by the inability of these products to address emerging distributed and schema-less data management requirements.
  • Polyglot persistence, and the associated trend toward polyglot programming, is driving developers toward making use of multiple database products depending on which might be suitable for a particular task.
  • The NoSQL projects were developed in response to the failure of existing suppliers to address the performance, scalability and flexibility requirements of large-scale data processing, particularly for Web and cloud computing applications.
  • NewSQL and data-grid products have emerged to meet similar requirements among enterprises, a sector that is now also being targeted by NoSQL vendors.
  • While NoSQL is seen as a software innovation prompted by the need to deal with large volumes of data, the software innovation was a direct response to the improved performance of commodity hardware clusters and the ability to spread data storage and processing across that hardware.
  • Changing hardware economics mean that distributed server architecture is increasingly being adopted in traditional enterprise environments. The emergence of NewSQL providers is a direct response to the increasing need for scalable data management products to make more efficient use of this architecture.
  • Distributed data-grid/cache products are increasingly being positioned as potential alternatives to relational databases as the primary platform for distributed data management, with a relational database relegated to a supporting role.

The report is available now from both the Information Management and Open Source practices (non-clients can apply for trial access). I will also be presenting the findings at the forthcoming Open Source Business Conference.

When commercial open source goes bad

One of the primary proof-points of the success of open source has been its adoption by previously proprietary software vendors.

In February 2007 The 451 Group’s CAOS practice released its third report, Going Open, which examined the increasing adoption of open source licensing by traditionally-licensed software companies and captured the industry best-practices to ensure a successful transition from closed to open.

Four years is a long time in the software industry and in a few months we will publish a follow-up to Going Open, updating our analysis of the trends and best-practices and revisiting the vendors profiled in the report to see how they have fared following the transition to open source licensing.

As well as examining open source successes it is also important to consider those examples where open source licensing has not delivered the expected results, and the new report will also examine vendors that have “Gone Closed” and abandoned open source licensing efforts.

There are a few examples we are already aware of through our ongoing research. One analytic database vendor recently changed the license of its Community Edition project, abandoning the GNU GPL in favour of a license that would not meet the Open Source Definition (I won’t name them now since I haven’t given them the opportunity to explain themselves).

Another example involves a company set up by some prominent former employees of one of the big names in open source software. The first version was released using an open source license but was never updated, as the company focused all its attention on the closed source version instead.

Meanwhile one of the prominent “open source” systems management vendors appears to have removed all mention of its Community Edition software from its website, while the Community Edition itself has not been updated for 15 months. While the project is not officially “dead” it is, to say the least, “pining for the fjords” and the company in question could be said to be open source in name only.

We are sure there are plenty of other examples of companies that have launched an open source project or “Community Edition” only to later decide that maintaining the project was not in its best commercial interests. The question is, why did these companies fail to benefit from open source licensing, and what can commercial open source companies lean from their experiences.

If you have any examples of dead or “resting” open source projects, please let us know and we will investigate.

Please note, however, that in this instance we are not interested in companies that have simply gone “open core” or adopted copyright contribution agreements. As fascinating as those subjects are (and may well be contributing factors in the demise of a project) we are interested for this report primarily in the discontinued use of an open source license.

Webinar: NoSQL and Hadoop in action at AOL

Next Thursday, February 24 (at 10am PT), I’ll be taking part in a webinar with Pero Subasic, Chief Architect, AOL to discuss the use cases for NoSQL database and Hadoop. For more details see our Too Much Information blog.

Updated open source business strategy framework

We have had a couple of queries this week regarding the open source business strategy framework we have used for the last two years or so in our analysis of open source-related business strategies.

The framework has evolved over time based on changing strategies, our research, and feedback from clients (and non-clients), but the last publicly-available version of the framework (to which the query related) was only a work in progress.

Since there is interest in making wider use of this framework – we are pleased to have seen several OSS-related vendors using it to explain their strategy – the easiest thing to do is to publish it here.

To understand how we made use of the framework to analyse the open source-related strategies of 300 software vendors and subsidiaries, see our recently published Control and Community report.

The framework, and a brief explanation of terms, is below. Any comments, suggestions, gratefully received.

Software license
• Strong copyleft
Reciprocal licenses that ensure redistributed modifications and derived works based on or including the code must be made available under the same license. For example the GNU GPL and the Affero GPL.

• Weak-copyleft
Reciprocal licenses that enable integration with closed source software without the entire derived work having to be made available under the same license. For example the GNU Lesser GPL, the Eclipse Public License, the Mozilla Public License, the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL).

• Non-copyleft
Permissive licenses that do not place restrictions on code usage, enabling it to be integrated with closed source software and the combined code to be distributed under a closed source license. For example BSD licenses, the X11/MIT license, the Apache License.

• No preference
The vendor commercializes software that combines or utilizes multiple open source software licenses and has no discernible preference.

Development model
• The Cathedral
The source code is available with each software release, but is developed privately by an exclusive group of developers.

• The Bazaar
The code is developed in public, with builds and updates constantly made available on a public forge available to anyone.

• Aggregate
The vendor commercializes software that utilizes a combination of publicly and privately developed software and has no discernible preference.

And separately:
• Community
The software is predominantly developed by a community

• Vendor
The software is predominantly developed by a vendor.

• Mixed
The vendor commercializes software that utilizes a combination of community- and vendor-developed software and has no discernible preference.

Copyright ownership
• Vendor
The copyright is owned by a single vendor.

• Foundation
The copyright is owned by a foundation.

• Distributed
Copyright ownership is distributed across the individual developers

• Withheld
The copyright is owned by another vendor.

Product licensing
• Single open source
The software and all associated features are available under a single open source license.

• Multiple open source
The software and all associated features are available using a combination of open source licenses.

• Dual licensing
The software is available using an open source license, or a closed source license.

• Open core
The core project is open source, but a version with additional functionality is available using a closed source license.

• Open complement
Complementary products and services are available using a closed source license.

• Open edge
The core product is closed source, but extensions and complementary features are open source.

• Open foundation
The core product is closed source, but is built on open source software.

• Open platform
Open source software has been used to create a platform for the delivery of software services and Web applications.

Revenue generator
• Closed source license
Either for a version of the full project, or a larger software package or hardware appliance based on the project, or for extensions to the open source core.

• Support subscription
An annual, repeatable support and service agreement.

• Value-add subscription
An annual, repeatable support and service agreement with additional features/functionality delivered as a service.

• Service/support
Ad hoc support calls, service, training and consulting contracts.

• Software services
Users pay to access and use the software via hosted or cloud services.

• Advertising
The software is free to use and is funded by associated advertising.

• Custom Development
Customers pay for the software to be customized to meet their specific requirements.

• Other Products and Services
The open source software is not used to directly generate revenue. Complementary products provide the revenue.

‘All that we share is not enough’

A selection of my favourite CAOS blog posts of 2010.






Reaction to Control and Community

We were pretty pleased with our recently published Control and Community report on open source-related business strategies, but then we are biased.

Fortunately some people have been good enough share their thoughts on the report, so you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s some links to the reaction, along with a few choice quotes:

Ian Skerrett:
“I would definitely recommend reading the 451 Group research paper on Control and Community. It is really good and if your company is seriously looking at an open source strategy you need to read it and understand it.”
See also: here.

Henrik Ingo:
“It is great to see one of our analyst companies being so close to the pulse of the Open Source community, companies trying to understand the phenomenon of open source will certainly get value for their money by being a 451 Group customer.”
See also: here.

Roberto Galoppini:
“A must read for every vendor or organization willing to make consciuos decisions around its open source strategies”

Carlo Daffara:
“I can not remind anything from any analyst or researcher being as good as this.”

Simon Phipps:
“It’s an excellent report.”

Thanks all for their kind words. The report is freely available to CAOS subscribers, while non-clients can purchase it separately or apply for trial access. More details are available here.

In addition, Henrik mentioned that he found that the chart we used to illustrate the overall trend in business strategies (as seen here) has some information loss due to the chosen format.

That is true, but it is also by design since we chose that specific chart (having tried multiple other iterations) specifically to illustrate our conclusion. In hindsight, perhaps we should have included both that chart an another showing absolute numbers on the Y axis for context.

So here is the companion chart:

Is MySQL open core?

Or, how we evaluate a company’s open source-related business strategy.

Godwin’s law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches”.

An online discussion about open source-related business strategies is no exception. However, long before the Nazi comparison it is inevitable that someone will ask “is MySQL open core?”.

I updated our 2009 post “what is open core, and what isn’t” recently, and received some criticism of my statement that the MySQL strategy was not open core.

Since we have recently published a report including the results of our analysis of the open source-related business strategies of 300 vendors and subsidiaries it seems appropriate that we use this opportunity to explain how we evaluate a company’s open source-related business strategy, and specifically how our analysis led us to conclude at the time of our analysis (August/September) that the open core licensing strategy did not apply to MySQL.

Given the recent changes to MySQL pricing and licensing we have also revisited our analysis, see below.

Looking at MySQL Enterprise it is easy to see why so many people conclude that the product licensing strategy being applied to MySQL is open core, since MySQL Enterprise contains extensions for which source code is not available that are not available with MySQL Community.

However, it is important to remember that products are not open core – and companies are not open core – but that open core is a product licensing strategy applied by companies to products. Therefore the question “is MySQL open core?” is inappropriate. A more appropriate question would be, “is the product licensing being used with MySQL open core?”

It is also worth noting that a product licensing strategy is just one of five elements that we at The 451 Group use to evaluate an open source-related business strategy.

The five elements we consider are: the software license for the open source software; the development model for the open source software; copyright ownership for the open source software code; the product licensing strategy; and the revenue generator. Specifically, with regards to MySQL, our evaluation went as follows:

Software license/development model/copyright ownership:
This was a relatively straightforward process for the MySQL business. The MySQL Database software is available under the GNU GPLv2, a strong copyleft license, and although the code is available at Launchpad, clearly the software continues to be developed in the cathedral model by a core group of developers, mostly employees of a vendor: Oracle. The same vendor also owns the copyright.

Product licensing strategy:
This is where things started to get a little bit difficult. Historically MySQL AB used the dual licensing strategy, making a version of MySQL Server available under a closed source license (aka selling exceptions) for enterprises. That strategy remains in use today to enable the use of MySQL embedded in closed source software. However, the version of MySQL Server in MySQL Enterprise was not closed source, and was the same GNU GPL version as MySQL Community. This provides a good example of why it is important to assess the licensing strategy, rather than the product: the open core licensing strategy uses dual licensing and adds closed source extensions to create a closed source version that is a superset of open source software (or from another perspective, an open source version that is a subset of closed source software). Since this description did not apply to MySQL Enterprise, which saw the open source MySQL Server delivered along with closed source extensions, we concluded that Oracle did not use an open core licensing strategy with regards to MySQL.

Revenue generator
The description of MySQL Enterprise, used above (open source software with additionally capabilities delivered via subscription) is exactly what we consider a value-added subscription revenue generator. There are often many ways in which a vendor generates revenue from open source software. MySQL is just such a case: Oracle generates revenue from closed source licenses embedded in closed source software, but the largest generator is the MySQL Enterprise value-added subscription.

The MySQL strategy includes a strong copyleft software license, vendor-developed software using the cathedral model, and vendor-owned copyright. That much was easy. It was also easy to identify the dominant revenue generator, which was value-added subscription. That left the product licensing strategy, for which the choices were single open source (in MySQL Enterprise) and dual licensing (for embedded usage). To select single open source would be inaccurate since we could not ignore the fact that the MySQL business uses a dual licensing strategy.

MySQL Reconsidered:
In the light of the recent licensing and pricing changes for MySQL we took the opportunity to talk to Oracle about the licensing of MySQL. What we discovered was that whereas the MySQL Database previously accompanied by the MySQL Enterprise subscription was licensed using the GNU GPL, Oracle now prefers that Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition customers enter into a commercial license agreement with the company (although they will apparently be able to negotiate subscription usage with MySQL Community). This is a licensing agreement that does not impact the functionality or code of the MySQL Database itself, although clearly there continues to be additional functionality delivered with the MySQL Standard and Enterprise subscriptions, such as MySQL Enterprise Monitor and MySQL Enterprise Backup.

This changes our perspective of the MySQL-related strategy on two levels, Firstly, with regard to the revenue generator, we can now conclude that going forward the biggest revenue generator for Oracle from MySQL will be closed source licenses. While this closed source software will still be delivered via a subscription agreement, our support subscription and value-added subscription categories are reserved for products that use an open source license. It also changes our perspective on the product licensing strategy. Specifically in that our description of open core used above, (dual licensing + closed source extensions to create a closed source version that is a superset of open source software) does now apply to MySQL Standard and MySQL Enterprise.

Control and Community – and the future of commercial open source strategies

Based on our ongoing analysis of open source-related business strategies it has become clear that maintaining a balance between control and community is the key issue facing vendors attempting to generate revenue from open source software.

That is why we chose Control and Community as the title of our latest CAOS report on the evolution of open-source related business strategies.

The report is the culmination of two years’ worth of analysis and research following the publication of Open Source is Not a Business Model in 2008 and builds on that report with an expanded analysis of the five elements influencing open source-related business strategies: software license, development model, copyright ownership, product licensing, and revenue generator.

The report includes the analysis of the open source-related strategies of 300 software vendors and subsidiaries, as well as a survey of 286 open source software users, evaluating their perspectives on the various open-source-related strategies. It also provides the evidence to support our recent assertions about the arrival of the fourth stage of commercial open source.

By plotting the strategies used by the vendors analyzed in this report against the year in which they first began to engage with open source projects we are able to get an approximate view of open source-related strategy changes over time. The results are intriguing.

We found, for example, that the formation of vendors using key strategies of vendor-led open source projects has declined in recent years, while vendors using strategies associated with community-led open source projects have been increasing since 2002.

Specifically, we discovered that the formation of companies using vendor-owned copyright and open core licensing peaked in 2005 and the formation of vendors using strong copyleft licensing, cathedral development, vendor-led development, dual licensing, closed source licenses peaked in 2006.

In comparison, the formation of vendors using the strategies associated with multi-participant open source projects has been increasing since 2002 (non-copyleft licences, distributed copyright ownership), 2004 (single open source licensing), 2006 (community development model), and 2007 (bazaar development model).

By grouping the 300 vendors assessed into three groups representing open source distributors, single-vendor open source and multi-vendor open source/proprietary distributors, it is possible to get an overall picture of commercial open source strategy usage over time.

(A companion chart showing absolute numbers on the Y axis for context, is here).

As can be seen, while the strategies associated with open source distributors dominate among companies formed between 1992 and 1999, the strategies associated with single-vendor open source are dominant among companies formed between 2000 and 2005. We have seen an increase in the formation of vendors using the strategies
associated with multi-vendor open source and proprietary distributors since then.

Our analysis also enabled us to compare open source-strategy usage with the strategy preferences of open source software users, proving some assumptions, such as the fact that vendor-led development, cathedral-style development, vendor-owned copyright, strong copyleft licenses, closed source software and open core licensing are all over-utilized by open-source-related vendors.

In comparison open foundation and open complement licensing strategies are relatively underutilized, along with non-copyleft licensing, bazaar development, foundational copyright ownership, and single- and multiple-open source licensing, as well as support subscriptions, value-added subscriptions, service/support and custom development.

The report also examines how proprietary software vendors have recognized that the true benefit of open source software is not only in disrupting markets through open source software licensing, but also through collaborating with partners, customers, and even competitors on non-differentiating features (something that many so-called open source specialists have failed to do) while continuing to generate profits from complementary products elsewhere in the value chain and also retaining their influence with those responsible for software purchasing.

Our conclusion, based on all the evidence, is that the software industry has entered the fourth stage of commercial open source business strategies, characterized by a shift away from projects controlled by a single vendor and back toward community and collaboration.

There is an increased focus on open source as a development model for the creation of software to be monetized indirectly, rather than a licensing strategy to spread adoption for direct monetization.

Our recommendation is that vendors that control open source projects need to transition toward more collaborative development in order to prove that they are more than just another software vendor that happens to release software using an open source license.

The report is freely available to CAOS subscribers, while non-clients can purchase it separately or apply for trial access. More details are available here.