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Management overview of MySQL - background and Philosophies

This morning, I listened to David Axmark from Sweden and Monty Widenius from Finland talk about their MySQL Database engine.

A LITTLE BACKGROUND

MySQL grew out of an internal project which became an Open Source project and has now additionally embraced a more commercial model in order to fund ongoing development. As Monty Widenius said (Bari, Italy, 11th October 2004), GeekCruise "The commercial model is desirable because I want to go on developing code and I don't want to have to speak at every conference to bring in the funds".

PHILOSOPHIES

It should be possible to download, try and install in 15 minutes. Too many open source projects have installation problems, tricks, etc. and that is NOT what they want for MySQL

Primary intent was for Data Warehousing, handling up to terabytes of data - so fast, efficient, mean in operation.

Design and support is such that you should NOT need to upgrade unless you want the new features. Robustness and reliability rather than any form of rocket-science novelties.

Documentation written with the code and IMPORTANT. And if a question is regularly asked it's added back into the documentation. "I don't like to spend time answering the same question every day, and I like to be able to refer people to a full answer".

FEATURES

Extended subset of ANSI SQL:2003 (Similar to most SQLs). Added features are those desired by the community; things are NOT added if they make it slow / obscure / effect ease of use and reliability.

Multiple storage engines (use MyISAM tables for quick read / writes, InnoDB for rollback and commit requirements, Heap for memory based)

Master - Slave replication, using query rather than data replication to be very bandwidth mean.

Large Databases easily handled - Terabytes!

Fast and easy to maintain.

SCALABILITY

EWeek benchmarks of Jan 2002 (old, but latest available) show performance and latency of MySQL to be virtually identical to Oracle, and well ahead of SQL Server, DB2 and others.

Large data farms - easy. See earlier comments.

Even seen Google Adwords - down the right hand side of every search you do? They're run using a MySQL database. Just think of the traffic that must be involved there!

MARKET AND MARKET SIZE

Currently (October 2004) 1 million downloads per month, of which over a half are the windows version (but, says Monty, skewed because it's included with Linux distributions so no need to download).

Over 50 books published on MySQL.

Biggest integrating customers Cisco, Novelle, SAP and HP all of whom integrate MySQL into their products. Other huge customers include Cox, NASA, Slashdot, Nokia, Yahoo. In the UK, the Sanger Institute for Geonome research in Cambridge also got an honourable mention.

NEW IN UPCOMING RELEASES:

4.1

 Subqueries
 Spacial data
 Unicode
 Multitable updates with a single query (I like this!)
 Inserts transmuted to updates if records already exist (like this too)
 Inline views
 SSL to access more securely
 Prepared statements - run same query with varied parameters

5.0

 Stored Procedures
 Triggers
 Views
 Read Cursors
 Greedy Optimiser
 Timeouts and query kills

There's been concern expressed that stored procedures slow a database, but that's not going to be the case with MySQL 5.0; the procedures are implemented in such a way that they don't have any detrimental effect on the performance of queries from prior releases.

Indeed, there's an improvement in performance with the greedy optimiser. This is a mechanism whereby multitable joins (over perhaps 6 to 10 tables) will be much faster.


See also SQL and MySQL training courses

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