MySQL AB has introduced new features in Version 5 of its namesake open-source database to make it a serious option for enterprises.
The developer released the source code for MySQL 5 at its first-ever user conference in San Jose, Calif., earlier this month. The intent behind the new features in the upgrade—particularly support for stored procedures and triggers—is portability, officials said. These features smooth an IT departments move from Oracle Corp. databases or Microsoft Corp. SQL Server databases to MySQL, company officials said.
Other new capabilities in MySQL 5 include core SQL-99 features, support for foreign keys for MyISAM with cascading Delete, new cursor support, multimaster replication and online backup, full subqueries, online analytical processing functions for data warehousing, and a more scalable thread/connection manager, according to officials at MySQL, of Uppsala, Sweden.
Some MySQL users have programmed their way around the lack of enterprise-level features in earlier versions of MySQL. One is John Sudderth, a senior computer scientist for Computer Sciences Corp., which provides IT support for NASAs NAIS (NASA Acquisition Intranet Service), in Huntsville, Ala. NAIS is a suite of 14 Web-based applications run on MySQL 3.23. While Sudderth has written Perl scripts to replace the stored procedures and triggers missing in MySQL, he noted that such a workaround would be impossible for a higher-level language used in many commercial applications.
"These [features] are big deals because we programmed around a lot of them, like row-level locking and triggers and subqueries, with Perl," he said. "But if youre using something like Brio [Software Inc.] or [Cognos Inc.s] Impromptu [software], you cant always do that."
Features aside, Sudderth pointed to cost as the No. 1 reason CSC turned to MySQL when, two years ago, Oracle changed its pricing structure. "What Oracle was going to cost us was almost our entire operating budget," Sudderth said.
MySQL 5.0 is available in pre-alpha code now and expected to arrive at alpha stage in three to five months.
For future releases, the company will focus on speed, reliability, ease of use and maintaining the economical value of the database, officials said—not always an easy thing to maintain when open source hits the enterprise market.
Third-party application developers at the user show boosted MySQLs enterprise push. For instance, Blue World Communications Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., unveiled Lasso Reporter 6, a tool for creating reports from data within MySQL databases.