Oracle Corp has acquired open source embedded database software vendor Sleepycat Software Inc in a move that could either be the start of a new open-source strategy for the database giant, or the next step in a plan to disrupt rival MySQL AB.
Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle has snapped up Sleepycat for an undisclosed fee, adding the Lincoln, Massachusetts-based company’s embedded database expertise to its product portfolio.
Sleepycat claims more than 200 million deployments of its Berkeley DB product line, which is available under both open source and commercial licenses, and runs on Linux, Unix and Windows, as well as embedded operating systems such as VxWorks, QNX and embedded Linux.
As well as the original Berkeley DB product, the pure Java Berkeley DB Java Edition and native XML Berkeley DB XML versions are also available.
Sleepycat strengthens Oracle’s position in the embedded database market, which already includes Oracle’s Lite mobile database, as well as the TimesTen real-time in-memory database and InnoDB storage engine technology, which Oracle acquired in June 2005 and October 2005 respectively.
It also gives the company control of the open source database code that is used in a wide variety of open source projects, including Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, OpenLDAP, Red Hat Directory Server, Apache Directory Server and Sendmail, among many others.
The Sleepycat acquisition could, therefore, be the start of a new open-source strategy for Oracle. Last week, Oracle was said to be in talks not only with Sleepycat, but also open source Java middleware vendor JBoss Inc and Zend Technologies Inc, the company behind the open source PHP programming language.
Oracle did not respond to requests for comment by press time, although the company’s chief executive, Larry Ellison last week said the company was taking a more aggressive approach with open source.
We are moving aggressively into open source, he told the 2006 Credit Suisse Global Software Conference. We’re embracing it, we’re not going to fight this trend. We think if we’re clever we can make it work to our advantage.
The Sleepycat acquisition could also potentially spell trouble for open source database vendor MySQL, which had used the InnoDB storage engine as part of its eponymous database. While MySQL has played down the effect of Oracle’s InnoDB purchase, it has also been working on alternatives.
Database clustering specialist Continuent Inc said in November that it was working with MySQL on a potential solution, although nothing has been formally announced. Rumors had indicated that MySQL was working on a development deal with Sleepycat, with which it created the MaxSQL MySQL/Berkeley DB combination in 2000. MySQL did not respond to requests for comment by press time.