MySQL Upgrades Flagship Database, Services

In its first major refresh in nearly two years, MySQL is set to release a new version of its flagship open source database accompanied by a bevy of new tools and beefed up subscription-based services.

The company launched the swath of new software and services at the Japanese MySQL Users Conference in Tokyo, taking place this week. MySQL is considered the fastest growing open source database software platforms and is emerging as a key platform for Windows developers.

The majority of MySQL databases run on Linux servers. However, a significant portion of applications are developed on Windows, explained Zack Urlocker, executive vice president at Cupertino, Calif.-based MySQL AB.

"Windows is our number two development environment," Urlocker said. "We see a lot of people who will use MySQL on Windows for development, sometimes with Visual Studio with .NET, with Visual Basic and C#."

MySQL is emerging as the key database for public and corporate Web 2.0 applications, said RedMonk analyst Stephen O'Grady: "MySQL has done a good job in the Web tier, particularly with folks designing Web applications."

Central to this week's launch is MySQL 5.1, which will allow for partitioning for large database volumes, row-based replication and the ability to host MySQL clusters on disk, rather than just within the database memory.

All of these features are aimed at improving performance and simplifying management of large applications, according to Urlocker. The new release should show a 20 percent performance boost over its predecessor, MySQL 5.0, he said.

While the new software adds significant new functionality to MySQL, O'Grady said the new enterprise production support could offer compelling reasons for developers and administrators to pay for support. A significant portion of MySQL customers today use the free software and don't pay for support.

"They are beginning to introduce network features that are perhaps, more compelling to folks who are not interested in just paying for support and service," O'Grady said.

One upgraded tool aimed at helping developers and DBAs gather performance and application data is called MySQL Enterprise Monitor, which continuously monitors the database servers, letting administrators and developers alike be aware of 600 various conditions that may need their attention.

Part of the new Enterprise Monitor release, which is included with a MySQL Enterprise subscription, is the new Replication Monitor, offering more than 100 "advisor" rules and a suite of more than 20 graphs to give administrators and developers views of their distributed databases environments.

The company is also developing MySQL Proxy -- middleware that will let developers examine queries, redirect them and rewrite them.

"People are using that to do some interesting analysis," Urlocker commented, adding that the company will be building other new capabilities over time, such as support for load balancing. "We are getting a lot of uptake from that in the open source community," he said. MySQL Proxy is available for testing here.

For those looking to provide client access to MySQL databases, the company is also releasing its MySQL Connector/ODBC 5.1, based on the widely supported ODBC standard API.

Finally, the company has released an alpha version of its Falcon Database Engine as a preview version of the next major release, MySQL 6.0. The company is designing Falcon for large-memory, multithreaded and multicore applications, notably large Web sites.

MySQL 6.0 is slated for the middle of next year, Urlocker said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.