In January of 2008, SUN Microsystems announced its intention to purchase MySQL. This was seen by some as a great day, whilst others raised concerns about the business model. Many high powered companies use php and fears were raised that only these companies will be able to afford to use it.
Some greeted the announcement with shock and fear and migrated to PostgreSQL, while others from PostgreSQL saw this as a final re-enforcing factor to migrate to MySQL. This article takes a look at the period since the announcement and looks at any indications of changes in migration patterns or uptake of MySQL and PgSQL.
MySQL went in to damage control and released an announcement to clear the fud that abounded regarding a proposal to close up some of the source of MySQL and limit new features to enterprise releases.
It is extremely difficult to put exact numbers on the amount of installations during this time as there are many variable factors to consider. Simply counting the number of downloads from MySQL.com or PostgreSQL.org fails to account for the many users who install these products via system management tools. However, by gathering some information from the MySQL and PgSQL regarding uptake numbers in the period since then, anecdotal evidence can be gained to measure any backlash or migration away from MySQL to the PostGreSQL rival, or indeed, those who seen the SUN purchase as a positive advancement, may have migrated from PostGreSQL to MySQL.
The two current big players in Linux market are currently RedHat and Ubuntu, both of which use package management tools for software installation. RedHat favours the YUM manager, while Ubuntu, being a debian derivative, uses APT. PHPRO.ORG contact both RedHat and Ubuntu to get some indication of any swing to or away from both, MySQL and PgSQL based on package installations via their respective package management tools.
An email from Ubuntu sited reasons of commercial sensitivity and confidentiality as to why they were unable to supply any figures, although, the publicly available Ubuntu Popularity Contents shows MySQL with a stronger installation base. However, these results do not provide a history, and as such, no comparative data can be gained.
RedHat simply failed to reply.
From the MySQL camp, Vice President of MySQL Community Relations, and MySQL Ambassador to SUN, Kaj Arnö, reports a spike of downloads after the initial announcement from SUN in January. This spike could well be attributed to curiosity and the extra press gained from such a shift. Mr Arnö added to this, saying "it seems as if the earlier level of roughly 50.000 downloads a day has risen to roughly 60.000."
This seems to show a steady increase in downloads from SUN/MySQL suggesting more an more people are choosing MySQL as their database of choice, however, the PostgreSQL camp reports much the same steady increase in downloads.
PostGreSQL ..... responded siting a 33% increase in downloads per month in 2008 over the same months in 2007, with January downloads showing an increase over December's, however December is traditionally slow month anyway. February also saw an increase in downloads, by about 32%, however this upturn is influenced by the release of PostgreSQL 8.3 in early February. It is worth noting that the number of downloads has held consistent since February, which is a good sign for overall adoption.
Adding to these numbers, we looked at the Alexa stats for MySQL. The reach reported on Alexa shows a 9% increase in percentage of global Internet users who visit mysql.com over the past three months. Their traffic ranking rates right up there at 2,226.
The same period shows the PostGreSQL.org traffic with 21 percent increase increase in percentage of global Internet users who visit their site, giving them a traffic ranking of 15,620.
In the wash-up, these figures can only be taken indicatively at best, as hard and fast statistical data would be nigh impossible. What the indications show, is business as usual in both the SUN/MySQL and PostgreSQL camps with no adverse affects to either as both enjoy continued and sustained growth in gaining their piece of the available market share.
As these two Open Source products compete, two silent and emerging database products are emerging with far greater rates of growth. SQLite and CouchDB are rapidly becoming favourites for Database Administrators who are seeking fast and/or embeddable solutions.