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Oracle User Conference Reaches Out to MySQL Community

The annual O'Reilly MySQL Conference & Expo hits the Hyatt Santa Clara in Santa Clara, California, next week (April 11-14). The annual gathering of the Dolphinistas (Dolphinarati? Dolphinators?) looks to be an exciting event. The list of keynoters includes former MySQL AB CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos, now CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, the company behind the open source cloud platform of the same name, and Michael "Monty" Widenius, the always intriguing author of the original version of MySQL and now project lead of MariaDB.

Meanwhile, at roughly the same time (April 10-14), about 2,500 miles away at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, organizers of the 2011 Collaborate Oracle Users Conference are hoping to attract their share of the MySQL community. In fact, this will be the first time they've been asked to participate.

I had a chance to talk with Andy Flower, the president of the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), the database technology community for Oracle, which organizes the event. Flowers' day job is with Right Triangle Consulting, a Leawood, Kansas-based strategic information planning and architecture firm, where he serves as the managing director.

"Shortly after Oracle's acquisition of Sun, which included MySQL, we reached out to that community and said, Hey, we're a database community and you're a database community, and now we're all part of the Oracle community, so let's find ways to network and share and work together," he said. "Not only are we like-minded people in that we're data people, a lot of our members have MySQL in their shop, so our existing membership base has a keen interest in MySQL."

The Collaborate 11 keynote lineup will include several Oracle execs, including SVP Steve Miranda, SVP Wim Coekaerts, Senior Architect Tom Kyte, VP Mark Townsend and VP of MySQL Tomas Ulin. Mr. Ulin will be logging some mile next week, because he's also speaking at the O'Reilly event.

Outside the conference, the IOUG has created a MySQL Council. Flowers says the user group sought out some of the leading advocates of MySQL and invited them join the council. "We're trying to work with that community, to get a better understanding of them, and to find ways to help them integrate into the Oracle community."

Flowers says he understands that the open source MySQL community looks upon Oracle with skepticism, and his group is eager to help build a communication channel between the MySQL people within Oracle and those outside the company, so that the open source community stays vibrant and productive.

"We can help them to build effective communication between their community and Oracle," he said. "We've had 20 years' experience of working productively with Oracle, and we believe we can lend a hand there, too. If you really want to talk with someone inside Oracle about what they're doing with MySQL, this is the place to be."

Flowers hastened to add that the bulk of the event's content will come from within the user community outside Oracle.

Collaborate 11 will features more than 500 user-driven sessions, Flowers said, full of tips, techniques and best practices for Oracle Fusion Applications, the Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise, Oracle's Agile, Oracle Hyperion Performance Management, Oracle's Siebel CRM, and Oracle's Primavera Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) product families.

Flowers allows that the O'Reilly conference is likely to pull in more of the open source contingent of the MySQL community, but he maintains that the IOUG event is drawing a share of the community that's interested in furthering their working relationships with Oracle.

"We're independent of Oracle," he says. "That's what the 'I' in IOUG stands for. We're not bought and paid for. We speak our minds. And that's always been a positive for the company and the community."

BTW: Flowers says that the timing of the conferences is just coincidental; they're scheduled far in advance.

Posted by John K. Waters on April 8, 2011