MySQL is still alive on IBM i

Over the past week I’ve received several emails, ranging in tone from panicked to angry, seeking clues to the fate of MySQL on IBM i. The database vendor Oracle—recent buyer of Sun Microsystems, and therefore of MySQL—has issued an end-of-life notice for MySQL distributions on IBM i.

IBM i’s primary database is still db2, but many in the community have grown to trust MySQL when deploying MySQL-based applications such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, and SugarCRM. Some have trusted MySQL enough to let it into their inner application sanctum, using the IBM DB2 for i Storage Engine (IBMDB2i) to share data between MySQL-based applications and traditional db2-based apps and languages (think RPG).

Now that trust seems to be shattered.

Fortunately, MySQL is an open source product. Zend is still distributing existing versions of MySQL for i, and even if Oracle ceases to create new distributions, someone else can pick up the slack.  An article in IT Jungle quotes IBM’s Allison Butterill and Ian Jarman as offering hope that IBM can find a way to maintain MySQL as an officially supported database, possibly with Zend’s help. It’s all speculation at this stage, but IBM seems to be considering the alternatives and wants to choose the right path.

Forgive me if I seem unduly sanguine about the situation, but many of us ran MySQL on the i before any of these official distributions existed. Back in 2005, the now-defunct site hosted distributions of both PHP and MySQL that were compiled for for the IBM i (called the i5 at that time).

The dust hasn’t settled yet. Anything can happen. Yet I believe that MySQL’s open source licensing will, in the end, rescue it from Oracle’s decisions, allowing MySQL to remain viable on the IBM i—with the help of those who care.

12 replies
  1. Alan Seiden
    Alan Seiden says:

    @Sarel Your point about PostgreSQL is well taken. Oracle’s recent actions regarding MySQL have been creating positive buzz about PostgreSQL. MySQL has been paired with PHP in people’s minds for a long time, and is still important because of the applications that run on it, but PostgreSQL may have a strong future. I saw a presentation at NY-PHP recently about PostgreSQL ( and was impressed with how robust it appeared to be, relative to the other open source databases.

  2. Sarel
    Sarel says:

    Why is MySQL leading the pack of open source db solutions? The GIS world has embraced PostGeSQL for such a long time I cant understand the hype of MySQL. Is there more marketing power behind MySQL?

  3. Alan Seiden
    Alan Seiden says:

    @Matt yes, you’re right, it’s easy to move the MySQL database back and forth from IBM i to Linux, Windows, or whatever, but without the IBMDB2i engine, he couldn’t write the data to his DB2 database.

    To clarify, as of today MySQL and the db2 engine are still available from Zend. The issue is whether future MySQL releases will be supported, and by whom.

  4. Matt
    Matt says:

    @Ryan The good news is Ryan that you could proceed and install of Drupal on Windows or Linux and then migrate it to IBM i when and if MySQL comes back to life on IBM i. We were discussing a similar option (but with Joomla) and we will proceed but run everything on Windows Server.

  5. Alan Seiden
    Alan Seiden says:

    Hi, Ryan: Yes, Oracle has created uncertainty for organizations such as yours that are considering the use of the IBM DB2 for i storage engine. Your Drupal idea makes so much sense that if I were you, I’d allow a little time for further news to emerge.

  6. Ryan
    Ryan says:

    Jeez! I just had a meeting yesterday were we discussed the viability for a linux-based Drupal installation to write data to our iSeries DB2 database. IBMDB2i was the answer.

    Now I am unsure if we should proceed given the recent announcement from Oracle.

    Quite disappointing news indeed.


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