We have been discussing Sun’s acquisition of MySQL recently and common consensus was that we saw the key opportunity for MySQL was in the cloud, and hence an expectation that Sun would be announcing a Cloud MySQL offering sometime soon to start to justify their $1 billion investment. That seems a somewhat more likely now that Suns director of architecture has gone public with his MySQL cloud project, codenamed Drizzle.
Essentially they are following the same starting strategy as the other early entries into this space (such as Microsofts SSDS). Strip out all the stuff a relational database has that isn’t 100% necessary for basic CRUD operations (features that all carry some level of performance overhead) then focus on making the simplistic shell that is left scale to address key cloud issues (very large data volumes, multi node partitioning, online provisioning, fault tolerance and redundancy etc).
While he has been clear in stating that this is not a “Sun/MySQL” product, I think this is just the unusual path that open source software follows and if it is successful eventually Sun will pick it up and start to offer a Cloud SaS offering (this project has apparently beenencouraged by Sun’s “upper management”).