New migration tool is intended to take away Microsoft’s customers. But is moving really worth the trouble?

Oracle lures SQL Server users with MySQL tool

BOSTON — Oracle is going after users of Microsoft’s SQL Server with a new tool for migrating data from SQL Server to its own MySQL database, the vendor announced Wednesday.

The tool has been built into Oracle’s MySQL Workbench administration console, and with it, applications written for SQL Server can be easily tweaked for MySQL, Oracle said in a statement.

Oracle is also releasing an improved version of the MySQL Installer for Windows environments, as well as a new MySQL Notifier for Windows tool that “helps developers and DBAs to easily monitor, start and stop their MySQL database instances, with the Microsoft SQL Server look and feel,” Oracle said.

In addition, Oracle is offering a new plug-in that allows users with no experience on MySQL to work with MySQL data inside Microsoft Excel.

Oracle claims that MySQL users can experience up to 90 percent less total cost of ownership compared to running SQL Server 2012.

However, Oracle’s MySQL TCO Savings Calculator web page notes that these numbers are based on public list pricing for SQL Server. Therefore, they don’t take into account any negotiated discounts.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Database migration programs are a long-standing tradition in the software industry. EnterpriseDB, for example, offers compatibility with Oracle’s flagship database.

Platform vendors like Oracle are keen to increase their database penetration into corporate IT shops, and not just for the license revenues, or in open-source MySQL’s case, support subscription contracts. The database’s central role in software technology stacks also gives these vendors a greater opportunity to cross-sell compatible applications, middleware and other tools.

One industry observer expressed a mixed opinion of Oracle’s bid to court SQL Server users.

“There are many SQL Server/Windows uses for which MySQL/Linux would do just as well,” said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research via instant message. “However, I’m not sure in how many cases it would be worth the trouble of migration.”

For one thing, many Microsoft users “have adopted a thick Windows-based stack,” Monash added. “MySQL migration doesn’t address them. At the other extreme, if your application is really trivial, why bother moving?”

Oracle is expected to discuss the new MySQL tools as well as the database’s general roadmap in September at the MySQL Connect conference in San Francisco.

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