Today’s a MySQL day. After the shocker that is Microsoft Licensing I decided to seriously look at what MySQL has to offer the enterprise. I read their white paper and thought something sounds too good to be true. So I spent half an hour on the phone with someone in their enterprise team.

Let’s go look back at what started this. We have a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) and have Software Assurance (SA). This gives up an open catalogue of Microsoft products that we can install and then report our usage at the anniversary of the agreement. The year before last we had 22 virtual CPU’s in use across 10 virtual servers, running on 4 physical servers each with 2 CPU’s and each CPU with 6 cores.

We run Microsoft SQL on our VMware estate so we can make use of the virtual features, in particular High Availability.

Last year nothing changed. Same servers, same CPU’s, same number of virtuals etc. But suddenly we were doing it wrong. Microsoft initially allowed us to use one SQL Enterprise license and treat it as 16 cores to run on our virtual estate and allocate them as a minimum of 2 virtual CPU’s per virtual server. Last year that changed, we now find that when we allocate cores to a virtual machine it must be done as a minimum of 4 virtual CPU’s per virtual server. Some servers that meant nothing to, as we’d allocated 4 virtual CPU’s. But we have quite a few lightweight servers that we allocated only 2 virtual CPU’s to. This now means that their license overhead is double what we’ve allocated! That means Microsoft doubling the license cost per server, when NOTHING has changed!

Add to this that we use High Availability and migrate systems between 4 hosts we have few choices. Accept double the cost of the affected servers,by buying more cores – so we’ll probably need another 12 cores, or buy enough cores to cover all the physical servers we have (48 cores) and then be able to allocate ass many cores as we like to the virtuals!

Or heaven forbid, we reduce the number of physical hosts that the virtual machines can run on to only 2 of the 4 physicals, and reduce it so we need only 24 cores for those 2 physical servers. Now this would be very short sighted, the virtual estate is due for a refresh next year. If I buy 4 new servers, chances are I’d aim for dual CPU’s with 8 or 12 cores each. This would then mean I could only run all our current Microsoft SQL servers on ONE server!

One way or another Microsoft make a shed load more cash for supplying us with NOTHING extra! No wonder you see the spelling of Micro$oft with a dollar sign so often!

I’ve been a long term user of MySQL for Open Source projects and personal use, so a call to MySQL was in order. Not to make an immediate replacement, but to begin a strategic business decision that will not put us at the mercy of software licensing rules that can impact on our budgets whilst delivering no extra value. The outcome was shocking.

The MySQL licensing model is so significantly different that it makes it a no brainer. You pay only for the physical server you run the software on – up to 4 physical CPU’s per physical server. That’s it!

No extra cost for how ever many cores you have, in up to 4 physical sockets. So 4 CPU’s with 12 cores = same price!

That’s $5,000 per physical server, per annum. To me that’s capping my budget at $20,000 per year to run as much as I like, however I like, on all four of the physical VMware hosts we run. It includes upgrades, there is no SA required for HA, just keep paying your annual subscription and it’s an all you can eat buffet.

The annual subscription price of a MySQL Enterprise license includes, support and consultancy, a monitoring tool, hot backups and all features including clustering and replication as you like. No license confusion about Active/Passive, Active/Active clusters

Not just the server costs, but there are NO Client Access Licenses (CAL’s)! I don’t need to pay per user or workstation to use it. I don’t need an MSDN subscription to be able to use a development server.

Trouble is it’s not going to happen overnight. The reality is that when we go out in search of a CRM, finance, payroll or document management system those that support MySQL will be given a significantly higher score rating within our tender process than those that require Microsoft SQL – how can I not? Using Microsoft means I can’t remain in control of my budget, they could change the rules again and overnight I’m facing a price hike.

Add to that MySQL runs on Windows AND Linux. I’M SOLD.

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