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2/16/2012
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Oracle MySQL Gets NoSQL-Savvy Upgrade

Oracle promises faster performance, improved scaling, and Memcached API access to NoSQL databases.

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Plenty of telcos have embraced Oracle's MySQL Cluster edition for its combination of scalability, performance, and reliability. Now Oracle is increasing the appeal to Web-based businesses with performance upgrades and built-in support for linking to NoSQL databases.

MySQL Cluster 7.2, released on Wednesday, packs a long list of performance upgrades, but the key new feature aimed at Web businesses is a built-in integration option to NoSQL databases via the popular Memcached application programming interface. The API enables the many Web businesses embracing NoSQL databases, such as Couchbase, to speed read and write operations of frequently accessed data. Oracle also released a new NoSQL option of its own last month.

Many Web businesses maintain their master data in MySQL but use Memcached to cache frequently accessed data, explained Tomas Ulin, Oracle's vice president of MySQL Engineering. Until now, using the two products together required proprietary integration work. "We're making it easier for people to work with these two products together by integrating them out of the box," Ulin said.

[ Read our latest, in-depth research: 2012 State Of Databases: Pricey And In Flux. ]

Plenty of Web businesses use MySQL Standard and Enterprise editions, but Ulin said the convergence of telecom and Web infrastructure is increasing demands for the high-availability, online scaling, and low-latency capabilities of the MySQL Cluster edition. "Cluster is designed for 99.999% uptime, so just a few minutes of downtime per year, and it doesn't have any single points of failure, so you can take down nodes, add nodes, make schema changes, or upgrade hardware or software while still serving," Ulin said.

The list of performance upgrades to 7.2 is topped by an adaptive query localization feature that reportedly delivers 70 times higher performance than the previous Cluster edition when handling complex queries.

On the scalability front the upgrade supports multi-site clusters whereby individual nodes can be located in separate data centers, with databases automatically sharded between different locations. Synchronous replication ensures consistency among sites, with fast, automated failover and recovery features, according to Oracle. The 7.2 is also said to enhance active/active replication in a way that simplifies conflict detection and resolution across multiple active clusters while eliminating requirements for a timestamp column within applications.

Since taking control of MySQL through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems two years ago, Oracle has steadily made the open source database more compatible with other Oracle assets. For example, MySQL Cluster 7.2 is Oracle VM certified, so it can take advantage of that virtualization platform for cloud deployment. MySQL was already certified on Oracle Linux and Oracle Solaris.

Oracle has positioned MySQL as a low-cost competitor to Microsoft SQL Server. MySQL Standard edition subscriptions start at $2,000 per server for one year of support. MySQL Enterprise adds tools for backup, monitoring, modeling, development, and administration and starts at $5,000 per server for one year of support. MySQL Cluster adds high-availability and performance features and is $10,000 per server for one year of support.

More than 700 IT pros gave us an earful on database licensing, performance, NoSQL, and more. That story and more--including a look at transitioning to Win 8--in the new all-digital Database Discontent issue of InformationWeek. (Free registration required.)

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