April 26, 2007

MySQL/IBM — will everybody please calm down?

Reuters wrote a really stupid article on the MySQL/IBM deal, and some bloggers have gotten over-excited as well. Even the not-ignorant among these seem to be overlooking one or more of the following points:

So while it’s interesting and nice, this deal isn’t that relevant to IBM’s mainstream software business at all.

By the way, if you’ve forgotten the history, the story went like this. The AS/400 had a very interesting operating system, remarkably easy to administer, with pretty good file/database management capabilities integrated in. On the other hand, it took a long time for the machine to get a C compiler, and hence a long time for state-of-the-art RDBMS to be ported over.

Bottom line: Unless you’re involved with the iSeries, the IBM/MySQL partnership is no big deal.

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4 Responses to “MySQL/IBM — will everybody please calm down?”

  1. DBMS2 — DataBase Management System Services»Blog Archive » IBM’s mid-range OLTP offering gets strengthened on May 5th, 2007 12:54 am

    […] just going ahead and skipping that step. The note is about IBM’s mid-range flavor of DB2, targeted directly at MySQL. Today, IBM announced that its popular DB2 9 Express-C software is now available with an optional […]

  2. Mark Waterbury on May 19th, 2007 12:22 pm

    The IBM System/38 was the first commercially available system with a fully relational database built in.

    Your comment about having to wait for a C compiler to port an RDBMS to the AS/400 is equally absurd; OS/400 had DB2 integrated and built-in since DAY ONE.

    And your suggestion that the AS/400 database has some “wierdness” is also misleading. While it may not have always stayed in “lock step” with DB2 on other supported platforms, it has usually been the first DB2 to support many important features. Admittedly the System/38 and early AS/400 used a non-standard Data Definition Specifications (DDS) to define database tables, but support for SQL DDL has been available since the early ’90s (OS/400 V2 timeframe). In 1994 when V3R1 became available, IBM added support for referential integrity constraints and triggers.

    DB2/400 UDB now supports more ANSI SQL DML and DDL standards than Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server (or any other commercially available DBMS), > 99% of the SQL standards, while Microsoft and Oracle support

  3. Curt Monash on May 19th, 2007 11:47 pm

    I’ll confess to conflating a couple of issues in error. One is the properties of IBM’s built-in data management systems; the other is the lack of third-party RDBMS support.

    The AS/400 is a pretty successful platform, but still very little third party system software runs on it, or sells well if it does.

    The lack of Oracle et al. on the AS/400 had a HUGE amount to do with the lack of a C compiler.

    As for your claims about a “fully relational” database management system from Day 1 — which definition of “fully relational” are you using? While I’m aware of a number of such definitions (some of them with partisans who believe they have the One True Definitions, others favored by more tolerant people), off the top of my head I can’t think of any that makes your claim true.

  4. Alan on November 20th, 2014 7:48 am

    “Fully relational” on the S/38 and AS/400 meant you could go to 5th level normalization if you were so inclined, plus other goodies. PLUS record-level access built in. PLUS PLUS.

    Somebody asked Oracle at a press conference once back then why they didn’t have their database available for the AS/400 (the predecessor to today’s IBM i). Oracle’s answer was that the AS/400 already had a good database built in. In other words, the market was almost null for Oracle on the machine. (I suspect he got his wing clips later by his superiors in private).

    You obviously don’t know much about the capabilities of the earliest AS/400 database, and you admit to ambiguous definitions, so your pronouncement that you “can’t think of any” that makes Mark’s claim true does have a grain of truth in it.

    And to say that “very little third party software” runs on it also shows that you don’t know anything about it, because there has always been a great proliferation of software for it.

    It’s been “niched” by IBM as a kind of red-headed stepchild, but if one does not know the subject, then one is not an expert. Don’t believe everything you hear from its competitors, including some of the other platform guys at IBM itself.

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