Quick Differences – product, community, support

I’m trying to work through the talk I gave, and give further notes, so I can then move on to other topics as they arise.

Briefly, then, late me state the obvious: Oracle and MySQL are different. Different products, with different philosophies (closed vs open source), different communities, and different support.

Oracle wants to be it all – database, app server, middleware, OS; everything. MySQL wants to be database software. Thank goodness for me – I’m a DBA because I like databases.

The communities are different. In Oracle-world, the best people like “Ask Tom” (OK, Tom Kyte), Jonathan Lewis, and the other Oak Table guys are trying to demystify the magic for us; we’re trying to understand what’s in the black box. In MySQL, everyone can read the code, and I’ve found that a lot of people are very knowledgeable about it and want to share their knowledge. They can all read (or write) the code. You can too.

Oracle support, in my experience, almost always stank. MySQL support has so far (for me) been the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience in my 20 years or so of being “in the business”. Speedy, and generally very helpful and knowledgeable. I always hear back in less than a day. With Oracle I usually had to have a “sev 1” or never hear back. I had to fight my past level 1 support to get someone who wasn’t clueless. I could probably count on one hand the times Oracle support actually helped me. Etc etc. With MySQL, it’s almost the opposite. A lot of the support staff seem to really want to understand things and help make the product better. For example, one time, I found a workaround shortly after I filed an issue, but support asked me if I would have the time to document the issue anyway so they could figure out whether it really was a bug or not. I can’t imagine that happening with Oracle. (As I said in my talk, support is definitely worth it. Buy it if you can, even at the lowest level for one server. Then use it. You’ll be glad you did. )

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