One sure sign that a new technology is catching on is the size of its ecosystem--the applications, management tools, and other third-party products that support that technology. And by any measure, MySQL is developing a healthy ecosystem.
Working with open-source databases can be tricky because third-party tools often lag development of the database itself, says Mike Gaydos, lead architect of MySQL solutions at IT-services firm EDS. Open-source database users can expect to do a fair amount of custom development work, he says.
But third-party vendors seem to be catching up with MySQL. Earlier this month MySQL AB, the Swedish vendor that develops and supports MySQL, said more than 100 companies are shipping commercial MySQL-based applications, including NetBotz, Net IQ, and S2 Security. There also are a growing number of vendors with management and development tools that support MySQL, including BMC Software, Compuware, Embarcadero Technologies, Persistence Software, Quest Software, and SAS.
Quest, for example, debuted in May a MySQL version of Toad, a freeware database-development tool for building applications and database tables and indexes. Quest already supplies free and commercial versions of Toad for Oracle and a free version for Microsoft's SQL Server, so MySQL is in good company. Quest is considering marketing a commercial version of Toad for MySQL that will have more functionality, says Bryan Huddleston, database development solutions product marketing manager.
Embarcadero's ER/Studio database development and DT/Studio data-integration tools have supported MySQL since Release 6.0 debuted last August. Veritas now offers clustering agent software for monitoring clustered MySQL databases. Database administrators can use BMC's Patrol system performance-monitoring software to keep an eye on their MySQL databases. And Ispirer Systems provides tools for migrating data to MySQL from commercial databases.
But gaps remain. Pottawattamie County, Iowa, is switching some of its data from SQL Server to MySQL, but has to leave its geographical information system running on Microsoft's database until Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. ports its GIS applications to MySQL, says Thomas Broniecki, information technologies director.
Mike Towery, operations VP at KnightWorks Consulting Inc., which provides database development, hosting, and consulting services, also finds third-party tools for MySQL lacking. "They're not as sophisticated as the tools I use for Oracle and SQL Server," he says. "I'd like to see an enterprise-level backup tool for MySQL."
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