Oracle Launches MySQL Database Service With Business Analytics Capabilities

The new fully managed, cloud-based offering, with an advanced analytics engine, makes it possible to run transaction processing and data analysis applications on the same database without the cost or complexity of using multiple systems.


Oracle has announced the general availability of a cloud-based MySQL database service with a new analytics engine that can perform transaction processing and business analysis tasks within the same database system.

The software giant is pitching the fully managed MySQL Database Service as a high-performance, lower-cost alternative to competing systems such as the AWS RDS database and Redshift cloud data warehouse, Google Cloud SQL and Microsoft Azure SQL Database

“Partners have been asking Oracle to expand their portfolio of database services. And that’s what Oracle is doing with MySQL Database Service,” said Edwin DeSouza, vice president of product marketing for MySQL at Oracle, in an interview with CRN.

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Oracle acquired the open-source MySQL database as part of its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2010. Sun previously acquired MySQL in 2008.

The MySQL database is widely used for online transaction processing (OLTP) applications, managing data generated by retail, financial and other operational applications that underpin many business processes. But the database, historically, has not been particularly strong in data analysis or online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities.

That means businesses and organizations often utilize another database separate from the OLTP system when they run analytical applications – such as analyzing sales data to identify customer trends. That leads to increased system complexity, more data movement and transformation, and higher costs.

“MySQL users have had to use another database for OLAP,” DeSouza said. That “adds friction” to database operations, he said, and requires data extract, transform and load (ETL) technology and processes. “Data is not real time, decision making is not real time,” he added.

Wednesday Oracle announced the general availability of the Oracle MySQL Database Service with the MySQL Analytics Engine, a MySQL offering that provides database administrators and application developers with a unified platform for both OLTP and OLAP workloads.

The new MySQL service, which has been in beta test for about a year, is optimized for – and available only through – the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), Oracle’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud platform, said Nipun Agarwal, vice president of research and advanced development – the Oracle organization that developed the new capabilities within the MySQL Database Service and the analytics engine.

The MySQL Analytics Engine is an in-memory analytics accelerator that allows users to run sophisticated analytical queries directly against their operational MySQL databases. When customers start up the MySQL service, data from the MySQL database is populated into the analytics engine memory. That, according to Oracle, eliminates the need for complex and expensive data integration and ETL.

“It is significantly faster, significantly cheaper. There is no [more] need to have two different databases, no ETL. All existing tools and applications for MySQL work as-is,” Agarwal said.

The analytical engine scales to thousands of cores and supports real-time analytics, according to Oracle, and the company says the technology performs 2.7 times faster than AWS Redshift at one-third the cost. The engine uses in-memory, hybrid columnar processing with massive inter- and intra-node parallelism optimized for the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, and uses distributed algorithms also optimized for OCI.

In addition to the new engine, the query optimizer within the MySQL Database Service has been enhanced to support analytical queries as well as OLTP queries.

Oracle MySQL, including the new cloud database service and analytics engine, is competing in a crowded market. A number of vendors, including cloud platform vendors AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure, offer their own MySQL database services.

Other potential competitors include mainstream databases like Oracle’s own flagship relational database and Microsoft SQL Server. The MariaDB database and its recently launched SkySQL managed cloud database service, built by some of MySQL’s original developers, is a competitive threat. And there’s a new generation of database systems such as Splice Machine and MemSQL that support transaction processing and data analytics in one system.

Oracle has hundreds of resellers and systems integrator partners that work with the Oracle Database. But DeSouza said partners – and many cloud customers who come to Oracle through partners – have been asking for a MySQL cloud service.

And while some might see MySQL and the new cloud service as a competing alternative to Oracle’s cash cow database, DeSouza said Oracle understands that it needs to provide partners and customers with a database product at “the price points of open source.”

“Oracle is being very aggressive,” DeSouza said.