Database Rivals Vie in Open-Source Arena

NuSphere offers latest MySQL Advantage; MySQL sets namesake upgrade.

NuSphere Corp. is keeping pace with rival MySQL AB in the open-source MySQL database arena.

The Bedford, Mass., company last month launched Version 2.3 of its NuSphere MySQL Advantage, with new features focusing on security. Next up is an as-yet-unnamed version launching in December with new features for content management.

That follows similar moves by MySQL, whose namesake product is run by various executives throughout Sweden. MySQL this month is launching its code in Version 4.0, with plans to upgrade it to Version 4.1 in December.

As with MySQLs product, NuSpheres value-add for the database is documentation and technical support. According to NuSphere Chief Technology Officer D. Britton Johnston, the difference is that NuSpheres version offers table handlers for things such as row-level locking, transaction support and crash recovery—features promised but not yet available in MySQLs product.

Future versions will focus on application servers and Web services, Johnston said. Scalability improvements are also planned.

For James Martin, technology coordinator at the University of Arkansas, NuSphere MySQL Advantage solved an implementation problem. Martin needed to build a database-driven Web site for a childrens education project, and he first tried to integrate MySQL, the PHP scripting language and the Apache Web server on his own.

"I stumbled across NuSphere from a link" on a MySQL Web site, Martin said. "Its more than enough gun for the job."

Martin, in Fayetteville, Ark., cited NuSpheres installation and reliability as its better points. The future content management features will also be useful, he said. However, he said its important for NuSphere to settle the lawsuit currently filed against it by MySQL. Otherwise, users risk having different versions of the same core code.

MySQL officials said NuSphere is violating the General Public License because a part of its table handler, called Gemini Storage Engine, has not been given back to MySQL for licensing, as the GPL requires.

Johnston said thats untrue, that MySQL officials originally accepted Gemini, then changed their mind, citing deadlines. But NuSphere has since released Gemini under the GPL on its own, despite a claim disputing that on MySQLs Web site. "The main issue is around trademark rights," Johnston said. "They clearly regret having sold them to us and now want them back."

Annual licenses for NuSpheres version of MySQL cost from $300 to $500.