MySQL To Outline Plug-in Plans, Database Upgrade

Next week, MySQL plans to outline its plugin architecture that allows VARs and developers to use specialized storage and transaction engines suited for their workloads.

At the MySQL’s fourth annual users conference, Jim Starkey, a database trailblazer with InterBase and currently a MySQL senior software architect, will discuss MySQL's developing storage engine, code-named Falcon, said Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of marketing Cupertino, Calif.-based MySQL. The conference kicks off Monday in Santa Clara, Calif.

Earlier this week, Solid Information Technology said a version of its SolidDB will be a storage and OLTP engine option for MySQL, joining InnoDB, MyISAM, Memory, Merge and Cluster as storage engines that plug into the MySQL database server. Urlocker said uncertainty over whether InnoDB will continue to be an option, after Oracle's recent purchase, should resolve itself.

"We renewed the InnoDB deal with Oracle and on the same terms as before," Urlocker said. Oracle's Ken Jacobs, aka Dr. DBA, will speak about InnoDB at next week's conference, he said. Jacobs is vice president of product strategy for Oracle's Server Technologies Division.

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There are now about a half-dozen plugin engines, and three or four more are likely to be added, according to Urlocker. "Some are very specialized, and not every engine is on par with the others. We could see special engines for data warehousing, OLAP, unstructured data or specialized things like accessing your mail systems," he said.

MySQL also plans to talk up MySQL 5.1, a point upgrade to its database that will improve data warehousing, availability, and clustering and partitioning for large databases, Urlocker said.

"We'll show off new 5.1 functionality and new partitioning capability that will make it easier to deal with large databases. It's an incremental release in beta now ,with a new beta to go out Tuesday or Wednesday," he said. The current MySQL 5.0 release officially shipped in November.

MySQL and PostgreSQL are favorites in open-source databases, and both have their proponents.

Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies, a Bozeman, Mont.-based provider of hosted CRM systems, is a huge MySQL fan and will be speaking at the MySQL conference. MySQL is a critical component of RIghtNow's hosted CRM environment.

"We're an on-demand software company, and when people ask if open source is ready for the mainstream, I can say that 55 percent of our revenue comes from companies with over $1 billion in revenue a year and government agencies. And we run on MySQL. We had 99.98 percent reliability last year," Gianforte said. He cited customers ranging from Medicare and Procter and Gamble to Black and Decker.

Zmanda, a Sunnyvale, Calif. provider of open-source data protection and back-up has also thrown its lot in with MySQL.

"They're the leading open-source database company and pioneered the value proposition for open-source infrastructure and our open-source data protection so it's a logical alliance for us. Any people building apps using MySQL as the database, once they go live they need to protect their data," said Ken Sims, vice president of marketing and business development for Zmanda.

Robby Russell, owner of Planet Argon, a Portland, Ore., database specialist, likes PostgreSQL. "It's great that MySQL has multiple storage engines to choose from when building your databases, and you can have individual tables use a specific engine. PostgreSQL has one core engine, which can be modified to suit your needs,” he said. “But the key difference is that with PostgreSQL, you are able to use several advanced features within each table, whereas with MySQL you are limited to one engine per table and each engine has its limitations. For example, any table in PostgreSQL can use foreign table constraints, which guarantee referential integrity. With MySQL, you must use the InnoDB storage engine."

MySQL can be a good replacement for Microsoft Access and is often used in departments of large companies, where it’s seeing increasing use, said David Mausner, vice president of data warehousing at a large bank, which he declined to name. Still, Mausner added that he doesn’t view it as a viable alternative to "big iron" Oracle databases.

A former MySQL partner in the Boston area, who requested anonymity, said he has given up on the open-source world. "I couldn't make money on it. I'm too busy selling and servicing Oracle ERP," he said.