When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems -- and by association, MySQL -- plenty of open source pundits expressed concern. After much silence there are at least two signs Oracle plans to show MySQL customers and partners some love. Here's the scoop from The VAR Guy.

First up, Oracle on Sept. 19 will host MySQL Sunday -- a half-day conference held in association with Oracle OpenWorld. Second, the Oracle channel team is mulling some sort of MySQL marketing or incentive concept, The VAR Guy has heard.

MySQL Sunday is expected to include a "MySQL Fireside Chat" with Oracle Chief Corporate Architect Edward Screven. The VAR Guy intends to arrive with plenty of questions. But perhaps our resident blogger should direct the MySQL inquiries to Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff.

The reason: While Screven focuses on technology, Althoff continues to polish new Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) specializations for channel partners. No doubt, both MySQL and the OpenOffice productivity suite pop into Althoff's mind from time to time -- but his more urgent priorities involved developing specializations for Sun's server and storage businesses.

Next Moves

But stay tuned. From where The VAR Guy sits, it's clear Althoff hopes Oracle channel partners will position MySQL as an alternative to Microsoft's SQL Server. The VAR Guy suspects Althoff will take steps to make that happen within six months -- or much sooner, assuming Oracle's Sun server and storage push don't suffer any setbacks in the meantime.

Oracle also is kicking around MySQL marketing ideas. During a recent Avnet Technology Solutions Partner Conference near Denver, an Oracle presenter briefly mentioned Oracle is preparing a partner marketing move involving MySQL... though exact details are yet to be worked out.

Still, it's important to keep both developments in perspective. Generally speaking, Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff and his lieutenants have been telling Oracle partners to focus on Sun's server and storage business. On the flip side, major value-added distributors like Avnet Technology Solutions are helping Sun legacy partners to master the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Specialized partner program.

Concerns Remain

Meanwhile, open source pundits continue to question Oracle's commitment to MySQL and other open source projects. Much of the concern involves Oracle's plans -- or lack of plans -- for efforts like OpenSolaris and GlassFish.

Still, MySQL ranks among Oracle's highest-profile open source assets. And MySQL Sunday could go a long way toward answering partner and customer questions about Oracle's MySQL strategy.

But keep your eyes on longer-term clues as well. For instance, it sounds like the O'Reilly MySQL Conference is confirmed for April 11-14, 2011. More than any other gathering, the MySQL Conference will provide a MySQL reality check or Oracle partner and customers.

In the meantime, MySQL Sunday is just around the corner. The VAR Guy wonders what surprises, if any, Oracle has planned...

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