IBM, MySQL team up on database software

BOSTON (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp. IBM.N plans to start selling products from smaller rival MySQL AB, a developer of an open-source database that is used to help run Web sites, including Yahoo Inc. YHOO.O, Google Inc. GOOG.O and YouTube.

Executives at IBM, the world’s No. 2 software maker, and MySQL told Reuters they will announce a technology and marketing partnership on Wednesday at a MySQL users’ conference in Santa Clara, California.

MySQL AB is a privately held company that develops standardized versions of the open-source MySQL database. It makes money by selling service agreements that cover upgrades, technical support and maintenance of those programs.

Developers have embraced MySQL because its code is open source, which means they can download it, view it and change it. That makes it relatively easy to write programs that work with the database.

MySQL is one of the most popular types of open source software after Linux, the popular computer operating system. It competes with products from Oracle Corp. ORCL.O, Microsoft Corp. MSFT.O and other software vendors.

The agreement calls for IBM and MySQL to develop software that will make MySQL compatible with programs that run IBM’s System i line of business computers, including IBM’s i5 operating system DB2 database. IBM will also sell MySQL’s service products.

While the two companies have traditionally competed, IBM decided to team up with MySQL because it found that some customers want both products, said Craig Johnson, a product manager with IBM.

DB2 is designed to handle large databases that are needed to support programs crucial to running large institutions such as banks, government agencies and insurance companies.

MySQL is more commonly used to run activities over the Internet, from Web sites of all sizes to business programs.

The number of programs written for DB2 is limited because it is a proprietary system that only works on IBM software.

On the other hand, thousands of programs are available for MySQL.