Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

MySQL usually is touted as a cross-platform, open-source database. And it is. But the company behind it—also known as MySQL—probably takes in the bulk of its revenue on the commercial side of the house.

The fact is that when ISVs embed MySQL in their applications, the database is a commercial product with a commercial license. And the company derives actual revenue from license sales as well as from support contracts.

In a recent interview, CEO Marten Mickos said the addition of triggers, stored procedures and other higher-level database functions in the current MySQL 5.1 release, filled many requirements for OEMs. He would not comment on the percentage of revenue that flows through OEMs, but it was clear that they are an important part of the distribution mix.

Mickos maintains that for many ISV and OEM customers, there is comfort in knowing that MySQL does not compete with them in applications. Last year, Sage Software CEO Ron Verni told a reporter that one reason his company went with MySQL in its wares was Microsoft’s decision to enter the ERP and CRM fray where it competes with Sage products.

In fact, several third-party ISVs view Microsoft with alarm and thus went with other software providers for code they did not want to build themselves. RightNow and Omniture are also big MySQL ISV customers.

ScienceLogic, of Reston, Va., has used MySQL in its network management products for about three years, said CTO Chris Cordray.

Why MySQL? ScienceLogic is a Linux shop so that “kind of ruled out” Microsoft SQL Server, Cordray said. The company looked briefly at Oracle, which at the time was just coming out with its Linux version.

But the firm felt it could develop faster with MySQL and take advantage of what he called its “huge community backing” as well as MySQL’s own support and maintenance.

Electric Cloud embeds MySQL in two of its software development tools. “MySQL is simpler to set up than the alternatives and I don’t feel it lacks any features. Oracle may have some very high end, niche things —maybe if an ISV needs RAC [real application clustering], but feature-wise everything is supported in MySQL,” said Martin Van Ryswyk, vice president of engineering for the Mountain View, Calif. company.

The fact that MySQL works together nicely with Hibernate, Spring and other open-source tools also is important, Van Ryswyk said.

McGraw Hill Education went to MySQL for an online teaching product for its Breakthrough to Literacy program. MySQL, as part of that networked educational offering, tracks what tests students complete and manages built-in assessments, said Eric Soride, senior manager of software development and technology for the program, based in Coralville, Iowa.

Barbara Darrow, a Boston-area freelancer, can be reached at