MySQL Conference 2007
MySQL’s annual user conference in Santa Clara, California was held in the last week of April. A strong spirit of community sharpened the razor-edge focus on database solutions by MySQL and its partners. Advanced MySQL features and applications were spotlighted across the technical and business sessions and exhibits. The tone of the conference was upbeat and aggressive as Marten Mickos, CEO of MySQL highlighted the disruption MySQL is causing against database industry leaders like Oracle and Microsoft. Mickos noted that his company was preparing to go IPO with revenues of almost $50 million in 2006. Mickos announced that MySQL aims to be the “online database” of the Web and the company’s growth was due in part to a newly-created telecom business unit as well as to channel sales growth and a 100% increase in enterprise business subscriptions.
Keynotes at the conference included both visionary talks and partner pitches from Red Hat, Zmanda and HP. GPL luminary Eben Moglen delivered an exceptional keynote on the impending threat to individual privacy by a digital world that aggregates, at breakneck speed, personal data about preferences and habits. He discussed how thousands of users voluntarily provide personal information and reveal individual usage patterns that allow profiling by online services like Google, Yahoo, and EBay. At the end of the day, these large organizations acquire so much information and predictive power that they could misuse their knowledge to infringe upon individual freedoms.
Another highlight of the conference was the “Clash of the Database Egos” emceed by Kai Arno of MySQL. The “Clash” featured Q&A with Monty Widenius, CTO and co-founder of MySQL, Mikael Ronstrom known for MySQL clustering, Jim Starkey of Falcon fame, Heikki Tuuri of Innobase, Ari Valtanen of SolidDB, Paul Whittington of NitroEDB and Mike Smith of IBM DB2. A funny yet informative discussion, choreographed in a town hall format with Kai Arno throwing questions to the assembled egos, fueled debates on database technologies and featured everyone taking pot shots at each other in good humor. At the end of this session, Monty Widenius was awarded the honor of becoming the first MySQL fellow.
Technical sessions by experts highlighted the diversity of MySQL’s usage and reach. Topics included the latest in PHP security and debugging, MySQL high availability, clustering, and tuning, InnoDB performance, JBoss with MySQL enterprise, Ruby on Rails and REST, MySQL data warehousing and integration. There were also customer talks by Flickr, Digg, Yahoo, YouTube, Google and Amazon.
The moderately sized exhibits hall showcased a cross section of MySQL partners as well as related open source projects. Leading open source projects included OTRS from Germany, Joomla, Drupal, Bugzilla, Mozilla, and more.
The conference seemed to have a little less overall traffic than in previous years, perhaps because MySQL is considered a mature technology. But the conference provided strong value for those seeking high quality information about MySQL from its founders and leading technologists as well as seeking a review of the latest application solutions where open source database technology plays a key enabling role.