MySQL buys small firm, bigwig

Open-source database company My SQL AB has acquired a small Web application technology company and in the process hired its founder, Jim Starkey, a noted database software architect, MySQL announced on Monday.

MySQL said it acquired Netfrastructure Inc., a privately held U.S. company that makes tools and server software for building Web-based applications. Starkey, who was Netfrastructure’s founder and president, becomes a senior software architect at MySQL. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move follows Oracle Corp.’s recent acquisition of two open-source database companies, Innobase Oy and Sleepycat Software Inc., and was seen by some as a defensive move by MySQL to strengthen its development team and provide new options for the future development of its open-source database.

Before Netfrastructure, Starkey founded Interbase Software Corp. and developed its relational database of the same name. Interbase claimed to be the first database to incorporate several features that are now widely used, including event alerts, triggers and support for BLOBS (binary large objects). Starkey also designed the former Digital Equipment Corp.’s relational database architecture, MySQL said.

Interbase Software was eventually acquired by Borland Software Inc., which released the software’s code to the open-source community. That led to the creation of the Firebird open-source database project, to which Starkey was a contributor.

MySQL also hired Ann Harrison, Starkey’s wife and a contributor to Interbase’s development, and Taneli Otala, chief technology officer at security analytics company SenSage. Otala was made MySQL chief technology officer, the company said.

Starkey’s move to MySQL led to speculation that the company plans to transition its database to the Firebird architecture as a defensive move against Oracle’s open-source acquisitions. Innobase and Sleepycat made two of the popular database transaction engines used with MySQL’s database.

Kaj Arn

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