MySQL License – A Complete Guide To Licensing

MySQL licensing works through a combination of open-source and commercial options:

  • MySQL License Models: Offers open-source GPL and commercial licenses. GPL allows public use, modification, and redistribution of source code under GPL terms. Commercial license suits those needing extra support or source code privacy.
  • MySQL Editions: Various editions like MySQL Classic (embedded only), MySQL Standard, and MySQL Enterprise cater to different requirements.
  • License Costs: Prices vary based on the edition and server sockets. Licensing is available through Oracle partners under ASFU or ESL agreements. Specific pricing is set by Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Learn About MySQL license 

mysql license

The popular open-source relational database management system, MySQL License, existed in 1995. Sun Microsystems acquired it in 2008, followed by Oracle in 2010.

MySQL licensing includes both open-source and commercial options:

  • Open Source GPL License: Free to use, modify, and distribute. Requires any derivative work to be open-source under the GPL.
  • Commercial License: For businesses needing proprietary solutions, additional support, or to keep their source code private.
  • Editions: Different editions like Classic, Standard, and Enterprise, each tailored to specific use cases.
  • Pricing: Varies based on edition and usage, with licenses available through Oracle partners.

MySQL License Models

mysql license models

MySQL licensing operates under a dual license model, catering to commercial distributors (such as OEMs, ISVs, and VARs) and open-source projects.

The key aspects are:

  1. Dual License Model: MySQL is available for free software application developers under the open-source GPL (General Public License). A commercial license agreement with Oracle is required for commercial applications that don’t want to distribute their source code under the GPL.
  2. Editions: MySQL offers various editions, including Standard, Enterprise, and Cluster Carrier Grade Edition. The Standard and Enterprise Editions provide a range of features suitable for different business needs. At the same time, the Cluster Carrier Grade Edition is designed for high-performance and high-availability environments, especially for telecommunications and similar industries.
  3. License Costs: The pricing for MySQL licenses varies based on the edition and the number of sockets in the server. The Cluster Carrier Grade Edition is also available through Oracle partners or directly from Oracle.
  4. Commercial License Benefits: The commercial license allows the integration of MySQL with commercial software without the obligations of the GPL, such as releasing the source code.
  5. Purchasing a Commercial License: Ideal for OEMs, ISVs, and VARs embedding MySQL in their commercial applications but not wanting to adhere to GPL terms.

MySQL Editions

MySQL Editions

MySQL offers various editions tailored to meet specific business and technical requirements:

  1. MySQL Classic Edition (Available only as an embedded database):
    • Includes MySQL Database Server, Connectors, Replication.
    • Uses the MyISAM storage engine.
  2. MySQL Standard Edition:
    • It features the MySQL database server, connectors, replication, and workbench.
    • Supports MyISAM and InnoDB storage engines.
  3. MySQL Enterprise Edition:
    • Offers comprehensive enterprise features, including all Standard Edition features.
    • Additional components include MySQL Fabric, Partitioning, Utilities, Enterprise Backup, Monitor, HA, Scalability, Security, and Audit.
  4. MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition (CGE):
    • Expands on Enterprise Edition with support for larger data sets.
    • MySQL Cluster Manager, active geographical replication, and additional scalability and disaster recovery capabilities.

Each edition serves different organizational needs, with the Enterprise and Cluster CGE Editions providing more advanced features for complex, enterprise-level requirements. When choosing an edition, it’s essential to consider the specific features required for your business needs.

The Different Editions Of MySQL Licences

The Different Editions Of MySQL Licences

MySQL provides a range of editions under its licensing model, each designed to suit different user and provider requirements.

Here’s an overview:

  1. MySQL Community Edition:
    • Type: Open-source, freely downloadable.
    • License: General Public License (GPL).
    • Features: MySQL Database Server, Connectors, Replication, Fabric, Partitioning, Utilities, Workbench.
    • Support: Backed by a large developer community.
  2. MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition (CGE):
    • Focus: High availability, real-time database.
    • Support: Access to Oracle Premier Support.
    • Features: MySQL Cluster, Cluster Manager, Enterprise Backup, Monitor, Workbench Standard Edition.
    • Use Case: Suitable for managing, monitoring, and securing MySQL Cluster databases.
  3. Embedded MySQL (MySQL Classic Edition):
    • Availability: Only for independent solution providers/partners.
    • Agreement Requirement: ASFU Program or ESL Distribution Agreement with Oracle.
    • Use Case: Tailored for embedded database solutions.
  4. Full Use Licenses:
    • Availability: Not offered through Oracle Corporation or resellers directly.

Each edition caters to specific business needs, from individual developers and small businesses to large enterprises and specialized service providers.

The choice of the correct edition depends on the user’s technical requirements and the intended application of MySQL.

Understanding MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition

Understanding MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition

MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition (CGE) is a specialized version of the widely-used database explicitly designed for high-demand industries.

Critical Aspects of ‘Carrier Grade’

  • Designed for Critical Industries: Tailored for telecommunications, networking, etc.
  • Robust and Reliable: Built to withstand heavy loads and maintain performance.
  • High Standards: Meets stringent requirements where system failure can have major impacts.

Features of MySQL Cluster CGE

  1. Real-Time Performance:
    • Architecture: Distributed, multi-master setup.
    • Instant Data Propagation: Ensures quick, conflict-free data handling.
  2. High Availability:
    • Shared-Nothing Architecture: Eliminates single points of failure.
    • Automatic Failover and Recovery: Guarantees consistent data availability.
  3. Scalability:
    • Horizontal Scaling: Accommodates increasing data and user loads.
    • Automatic Load Balancing: Manages the load distribution efficiently.
  4. Data Integrity:
    • Supports ACID Transactions: Maintains data integrity during failures.
  5. Integration and Management:
    • Compatibility: Seamlessly integrates with MySQL services.
    • Management Tools: Can be managed with familiar MySQL tools.

MySQL CGE is thus ideal for applications requiring high availability, scalability, and real-time performance, making it a top choice for mission-critical applications in demanding industries.

What is the difference between MySQL and MySQL Cluster?

MySQL Cluster is a technology that allows you to run MySQL across multiple servers or nodes, providing high availability and scalability.

It is a variant of MySQL designed for high-availability environments and real-time applications. It uses a shared-nothing system, meaning each node in the cluster is independent and self-sufficient.

This allows for automatic failover and recovery, ensuring your data is always available.

Comparison of the different MySQL editions:

FeaturesMySQL Standard EditionMySQL Enterprise EditionMySQL Cluster CGE
Annual Subscription✔️✔️✔️
Oracle Premier Support✔️✔️✔️
Unlimited Support Incidents✔️✔️✔️
Knowledge Base✔️✔️✔️
Maintenance Releases✔️✔️✔️
MySQL Consultative Support✔️✔️
MySQL Database Server✔️✔️✔️
MySQL Document Store✔️✔️
MySQL Connectors✔️✔️✔️
MySQL Replication✔️✔️✔️
MySQL Partitioning✔️✔️
MySQL Router✔️✔️
MySQL Operator for Kubernetes✔️✔️
MySQL Shell✔️✔️
MySQL Workbench✔️✔️✔️
Storage Engine: MyISAM✔️✔️✔️
Storage Engine: InnoDB✔️✔️✔️
Storage Engine: NDB✔️
Oracle Enterprise Manager for MySQL✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Monitor✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Dashboard✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Advisors✔️✔️
MySQL Query Analyzer✔️✔️
MySQL Replication Monitor✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Backup✔️✔️
Hot backup for InnoDB✔️✔️
Full, Incremental, Partial, Optimistic Backups✔️✔️
Full, Partial, Selective, Hot Selective restore✔️✔️
Encryption and Compression✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Security✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Authentication✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise TDE✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Encryption✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Masking✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Firewall✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Audit✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise Scalability✔️✔️
Thread Pool✔️✔️
MySQL Enterprise High-Availability✔️✔️
Group Replication✔️✔️
High Availability with InnoDB Cluster✔️✔️
Disaster Recovery with InnoDB ClusterSet✔️✔️
MySQL Cluster Manager✔️
Configuration & Provisioning✔️
Automatic Scaling✔️
Management & Monitoring✔️
MySQL Cluster Geo-Replication✔️
DISA STIG for MySQL Enterprise Edition✔️
CIS Benchmark for MySQL Enterprise Edition✔️
Certified with Oracle Linux✔️✔️✔️
Certified with Oracle VM✔️✔️✔️

MySQL License Costs

MySQL License Costs

There are three editions: Classic, Standard, and Enterprise Edition licenses.

They are obtained through Oracle partners with an ASFU or ESL Distribution Agreement.

These perpetual licenses are unavailable for sale or distribution as full-use licenses by Oracle direct sales representatives or partners under a Full Use Distribution Agreement.

Individual Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) determine the pricing for these MySQL editions.

Cluster Carrier Grade Edition licenses, also perpetual, are available through Oracle partners with ASFU or ESL Distribution Agreements or directly from Oracle.

The pricing for MySQL Perpetual licenses offered by Oracle is as follows:

MySQL price list as of March 1, 2023:

MySQL SubscriptionSocket ServerAnnual Subscription Price (USD)License Price (USD)Software Update License & Support (USD)
MySQL Standard Edition1-42,140
MySQL Standard Edition5+4,280
MySQL Enterprise Edition1-45,350
MySQL Enterprise Edition5+10,700
MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition1-410,70032,1007,062.00
MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition5+21,40064,20014,124.00

The pricing for MySQL perpetual licenses depends on the edition and the number of sockets in the server.

FAQ on MySQL License

What does the name "MySQL" mean?

The name “MySQL” is derived from the first name of the daughter of one of the database management system’s founders, “My,” and the abbreviation of Structured Query Language, “SQL.”

Is a license required to use MySQL?

It depends on which version of MySQL you are using. The open-source version, available under the General Public License (GPL), does not require a license. However, commercial versions of MySQL require a license.

What are the different editions of MySQL?

Several editions are available, including Classic, Standard, Enterprise, Community, and Cluster Carrier Grade Edition (CGE).

Can I obtain a perpetual license for commercial MySQL?

Yes, perpetual licenses for commercial MySQL are available through Oracle partners that have entered into an ASFU Program Distribution Agreement or ESL Distribution Agreement with Oracle Corporation and directly from Oracle.

Does MySQL need a license?

The need for a MySQL license depends on the version you are using. The open-source version, available under the General Public License (GPL), does not require a license, but commercial versions do.

What license does MySQL use?

MySQL software is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), one of the most well-known open-source licenses. However, It is also available under various proprietary licenses.

Is there a cost for MySQL?

MySQL can be used for free, especially its Community Edition, available under the GPL license. However, commercial versions like the MySQL Enterprise Edition and MySQL Cluster Carrier Grade Edition come with a cost based on an annual subscription.

Can I use the MySQL database for free?

Yes, you can use the MySQL database for free. The MySQL Community Edition is freely downloadable and available under the GPL license. However, if you want to use it for websites powered by the Internet, you’ll need to find a host that offers MySQL server hosting.

Is MySQL free for commercial use?

The open-source version of MySQL, available under the General Public License (GPL), can be used for commercial purposes without any cost. However, if you distribute MySQL or any other GPL software with your application, your application is subject to the terms of the GPL. Commercial versions of MySQL do require a license and come with a cost.

What is the MySQL Enterprise Edition?

MySQL Enterprise Edition is a commercial version with comprehensive, advanced features, management tools, and technical support. It is designed to achieve the highest MySQL scalability, security, reliability, and uptime. This edition is suitable for demanding applications that require high performance and reliability. MySQL Enterprise Edition price is 5350 $

What is the difference between MySQL Community and Enterprise Edition?

MySQL Community and Enterprise Editions are based on the same core database. However, the Enterprise Edition provides several advanced components unavailable in the Community Edition. These include tools to monitor MySQL servers, back up data, implement enterprise security, and handle scalability and high availability. The Enterprise Edition also has technical support, making it more suitable for businesses with critical applications.

Does Oracle audit MySQL?

No, we have never encountered MySQL being part of any Oracle license audit.

What is MySQL pricing based upon?

MySQL pricing depends on which version you are using.

Is MySQL Opensource?

Yes, ost of MySQL is available as Opensource.

What is HeatWave SQL?

HeatWave SQL

HeatWave SQL is a feature in Oracle’s cloud offering, specifically designed as an in-memory query accelerator for MySQL Database Service in the Oracle Cloud.

It significantly enhances MySQL performance for analytics and mixed workloads.

The critical aspects of HeatWave SQL include:

  1. Performance Optimization: It dramatically accelerates MySQL performance, making it suitable for demanding database applications that require high-speed processing of large data sets.
  2. Real-time Analytics: Enables real-time analytics directly on the operational MySQL database, thereby eliminating the need for data movement and duplication for analytics processing.
  3. Scalability: Designed to scale efficiently in the cloud environment, it can handle massive datasets and user requests without sacrificing performance.
  4. Integration: It is seamlessly integrated with MySQL Database Service, providing a unified platform for OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) workloads.
  5. Cost Efficiency: Offers a cost-effective solution for high-performance database operations in the cloud, leveraging Oracle Cloud’s infrastructure.

Future Trends in MySQL and Licensing

The future of MySQL and its licensing landscape is likely to be shaped by several key trends and predictions:

  1. Increased Cloud Integration:
    • Prediction: A more significant shift towards cloud-based deployments, aligning with the global trend towards cloud computing.
    • Impact on Licensing: This could lead to more flexible and scalable licensing models for cloud environments.
  2. Growth in Open Source Adoption:
    • Trend: Continued growth in open-source software popularity.
    • MySQL Implication: Enhanced community support and potentially more contributions to MySQL’s open-source edition.
  3. Advancements in Database Technology:
    • Future Developments: Incorporation of AI and machine learning for advanced data analytics and management.
    • MySQL’s Role: Potential for new, specialized editions or features catering to AI-driven data processing.
  4. Heightened Focus on Security and Compliance:
    • Global Concern: Increasing emphasis on data security and privacy regulations.
    • MySQL’s Approach: Enhanced security features and compliance tools in future editions, possibly affecting licensing terms.
  5. Diversification of Licensing Options:
    • Prediction: A broader range of licensing options, catering to varied business needs and deployment scenarios.
    • Outcome: Tailored licensing for different scales of operations, from small businesses to large enterprises.

Get Help With MySQL License From Industry Experts

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At Redress Compliance, we’ll guide you every step of the way, from understanding the different MySQL licenses to selecting the best option for your business.

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  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, improving organizational efficiency.

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