MySQL Users, Start Your Engines, Engines, Engines

Reporter's Notebook: With all the good news about storage engines coming out of the MySQL Users Conference, why weren't MySQL cofounders Widenius and Axmark dancing on stage, punching the air and crying, "Engines, engines, engines!"?

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Yes, befitting tradition, MySQL cofounder Monty Widenius once again brought vodka chocolates to the MySQL Users Conference here, apparently ever-committed to shocking sensitive U.S. palates with chocolate-swathed booze.

I didnt hit him up for any Russian confections during the State of the Dolphin keynote. I was too busy tapping my foot, waiting for the MySQL version of "Developers, developers, developers!!" Indeed, why werent Widenius and cofounder David Axmark dancing on stage, punching the air and crying, "Engines, engines, engines!"?

They should have been. For Petes sake, the company has danced with the devil—aka Oracle—and come out of it no, not gutted, as many (including moi, your loyal database editor) feared would happen after Redwood Shores swallowed the MySQL 5.0-crucial storage engines InnoDB and Berkeley DB.

No, not gutted; on the contrary, replete, with the internal Falcon transactional storage engine on its way; an OLTP storage engine coming from Solid Information Technology thats been battle-tested by big companies in mission-critical environments for the past 14 years or so; and yet another transaction engine announced by a German company, SNAP Innovation, called PrimeBase XT.

I dont know why MySQL Marten Mickos isnt doing a storage engine ha-ha, told-you-so boogie in the halls of the convention center, but when I dragged him away from a meeting with Chinese MySQL partners, he did tell me that Oracles purchases of crucial storage engines most certainly didnt hurt MySQL.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read about MySQL opening up its storage engine API.

No, in fact, it made the company stronger. Did the InnoDB purchase start all this engine activity? Well, the swappable storage engine architecture actually dates back to Widenius needing a new storage engine and being too lazy to give up the old one, so you can trace it back that far.

But, Mickos told me, yes, the InnoDB purchase by Oracle did in fact raise the visibility of the MySQL databases swappable storage engine architecture in the industrys eyes, and thats turned out to be an extremely fruitful thing.

"In 2003, we acquired MySQL Cluster, the worlds most formidable telecom database today," he said. "We use the same API. Now when you say, did the InnoDB acquisition start all this [storage engine activity]? No, but the InnoDB acquisition caused nearly every database company in the world to contact us and ask us if we needed a storage engine."

Does the MySQL community know how well MySQL has come out of its perceived pickle? Im thinking no. I talked to one software engineer on the expo show floor whose company is still using a version of MySQL 4.x. He hasnt migrated to MySQL 5.0 yet because of the uncertainty around the Oracle purchase of the InnoDB engine.

MySQL is notoriously humble. Or, as one of the keynoters said, its a company thats famous worldwide for being humble. But lets get one thing straight: The InnoDB thing is now a nonissue, and I wish theyd trumpet that fact. Oracle renewed the contract, unchanged. What Oracle would have liked to do to the contract is another matter upon which we can only speculate, because Mickos maintained an angelic silence when I asked him about the negotiations.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read Oracle Watchs insider take on what went down with the InnoDB negotiations.

MySQL: Its got a community of 10 million developers. It gets more Web traffic than Red Hat, Oracle or Continental Airlines. And now, far from being harmed by Oracles storage engine buys, its got startups coming out of the woodwork, sending confidential papers saying, "We can build you a storage engine with unprecedented scalability."

"Its amazing how it causes people to come out," Mickos said. "Open source: Its a self-healing community."

Heres some more news that went down at the conference:

  • The SCO Group announced the availability of MySQL Network for SCO OpenServer 6. The subscription plan includes access to certified MySQL software, updates and upgrades, proactive alerts and advisors, the online MySQL knowledge base, and full production-level technical support.
  • Zmanda, a provider of open-source data protection software, launched its flagship offering, the Zmanda Network, with new Amanda Enterprise Edition software.

    The Zmanda Network is a suite of software and services based on the popular Amanda open-source data backup and recovery technology.

    Amanda Enterprise Edition is a commercial-grade version of Zmanda designed with a focus on enterprise security and usability. Its offered in three tiers, with the first tier available free of charge and the next tiers available in subscription levels ranging in price from $50 to $250 per system.

  • Business Intelligence vendor Information Edge launched TeraSolve Standard for MySQL 5.0. TeraSolve is a free OLAP (online analytical processing) technology that makes MySQL databases OLAP-aware.
  • MySQL Network Gold Certified Partner Webyog Softworks, maker of front ends for MySQL, released SQLyog 5.1. The application is a compact Windows front end for the MySQL database server and offers a combination of tools for data management, including HTTP/SSH tunneling, SQLyog Migration Toolkit, data synchronization, high-speed scheduled backups, Structure Synchronization, Smart Autocomplete and notification services. Its all offered within a GUI with wizards and dialogs for ease of use. The update adds support for the latest MySQL 5.x features, including stored procedures, functions, triggers and views.

    The toolkit allows user to import data, table structures, indexes, foreign keys and constraints from any ODBC-compliant data source into MySQL.

    The free version can be downloaded here. The Enterprise Edition costs $47 per user with discount pricing available.

  • Open-source middleware maker Continuent announced an upgrade to its m/cluster database replication software.

    m/cluster 2006 adds support for MySQL 5.0 and its new features, including stored procedures. It also provides optimized replication for stored procedures, which allows scalable performance, and it supports complex queries with near-linear scalability.

    The update also supports MySQLs MyISAM and InnoDB storage engines. Supporting InnoDB guarantees full ACID compliance.

    In addition, the upgrade supports sub-second, transparent failover, including restart of transactions.

    m/cluster 2006 supports databases running on heterogeneous computers and at various version levels. It also allows machines to be added to or removed from the cluster in real time without having to take the system down.

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