Sun Moves To Expand Its MySQL Universe

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The announcements were made this week at the MySQL Conference and Expo in Santa Clara, Calif., before nearly 2,000 users, developers and resellers of the widely popular MySQL database.

Sun completed its buyout of MySQL AB, the Sweden-based developer of MySQL, on Feb. 26. Marten Mickos, formerly MySQL CEO, is now a senior vice president at Sun.

Most of the enhancements in MySQL 5.1, which is slated for availability by the end of this quarter, improve the database system's performance and partitioning capabilities. (See ChannelWeb's Test Center Review). The new release, for example, offers faster query response times by supporting both table and index data partitioning. With partitioning, only the relevant portions of a data set need to be scanned for a query instead of the entire table or index. Such partitioning also accelerates some data storage and database maintenance operations, according to Sun.

MySQL 5.1 also includes additional options for replicating data from a master database server to "slave servers" for distributed computing and data backup purposes. The new MySQL release provides row-based replication that replicates actual data changes rather than actual SQL statements, and a hybrid form of replication that uses either statement-based or row-based replication based on the specific operation.

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Row-based replication will particularly improve the performance of the MySQL database for operational business intelligence applications where a data warehouse is updated on a continual basis, says Karl Van den Bergh, business development vice president at Kickfire. At the MySQL conference, Kickfire, of Santa Clara, Calif., debuted its high-performance appliance for data warehouse and business intelligence applications that incorporates the MySQL database. The appliance, which supports up to three terabytes of data and relies on a microprocessor that natively understands SQL, is currently in beta testing and slated for availability in the fall.

A new event scheduler in MySQL 5.1 helps developers and database administrators automatically schedule regularly recurring SQL-based tasks. And a new Upgrade Advisor in the MySQL Enterprise Monitor, a part of the commercial MySQL Enterprise database, monitors the database for problems and advises DBAs on what corrective actions to take.

One reason Sun won't ship MySQL 5.1 until June, three months later than originally planned, is because the company is taking extra care to make sure all the bugs are worked out of the database, Mickos said at the conference. Version 5.0 of the database was plagued with bugs when it debuted two years ago.

The new database will be offered in three editions: the freely available MySQL Community Server, the MySQL Enterprise Server available from Sun for a paid subscription, and the commercially licensed MySQL Embedded Server for ISVs and OEMs. The software will support a range of operating systems including Microsoft Windows, Macintosh OS X, and multiple versions of Unix and Linux.

The MySQL Workbench, which is available now, offers data modeling, physical database design, database creation, change management and documentation capabilities. "This tool has significantly reduced the task-time of our data modeling, leaving more time to concentrate on quality," said Jamie Schultz, vice president of operations at B Three Solutions, a Pittsburgh computer consulting firm, in a statement. "It also helps eliminate defects early in our development phase."

MySQL Workbench is being offered as a freely available community edition and a commercial standard edition for $99. It's currently available for Microsoft Windows with versions for Linux and Macintosh OS X under development.