At one point last year, it looked as if the popular open-source MySQL database was in danger of having no user conference. Now it has two.
Oracle announced Thursday that it has launched MySQL Connect, a user-focused event to be held Sept. 29 and 30 in San Francisco, the weekend before Oracle OpenWorld.
Oracle's proclamation comes just before the Percona Live MySQL Conference kicks off next Tuesday in Santa Clara, California. It's run by MySQL software vendor Percona.
That MySQL has two conferences must come as good news to users and developers of the open-source database management system. For the past few years, the fate of the MySQL Conference seemed more and more uncertain as MySQL itself was passed, through successive acquisitions, from MySQL AB to Sun Microsystems and now to Oracle.
After it purchased Sun in 2010, Oracle was mum as to if, like Sun, it would continue to support the MySQL event. Oracle typically folds user conferences for the technologies it acquires into its annual OpenWorld conference. So many assumed Oracle would not continue to organize, or even back, the gathering. O'Reilly, which ran the event by itself in 2010 and 2011, decided not to continue running the show.
Sensing what they felt was a lack of momentum around the event, Percona executives announced last August that the company would run a MySQL conference in 2012.
In some ways, the Percona Live event most closely resembles the old MySQL Conference, which has traditionally been held in Santa Clara in April.
Percona's two-day event will feature a keynote by Mårten Mickos, who was the CEO of MySQL. The schedule is heavy with technical presentations and user case studies, including one from Facebook. The core of the conference program runs for two days, one day less than past MySQL Conference events. But Percona expects the event to sell out, or at least come close to filling its 1,000-seat capacity.
Oracle's event, however, may offer the MySQL user community something that it may need more of: access to Oracle.
While Percona's conference has a lot of great material, it has scant input from Oracle itself, said Sheeri K. Cabral, who is on the MySQL Council for the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG) and is presenting a talk at the Percona event. The Oracle conference could provide vital information such as technology road maps and offer a chance to talk with Oracle engineers working on MySQL, she said.
Cabral has been critical of the idea of one company controlling the conference for what is, after all, a community-driven technology. Ultimately, it would be best if Oracle's event and Percona's were combined in the years to come, Cabral suggested. Many organizations will only pay to send their administrators to one conference a year, so having two conferences might dilute attendance and wear thin the speakers. Setting up such a unified event may prove to be logistically and politically tricky, she admitted, given that Oracle and Percona offer competing MySQL products and services.
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