MySQL Readies Enterprise-Level Reliability For Database

Open-source database software maker MySQL AB plans to unveil an enterprise-level capability that automatically shifts workloads to another database server when one fails.
Open-source database software maker MySQL AB plans to unveil next month an enterprise-level capability that automatically shifts workloads to another database server when one fails.

The new software, MySQL Cluster, is scheduled to be introduced next month at the Swedish company's user conference in Orlando, Fla., Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing, said Monday. The feature is based on NDB Cluster, software developed by telecommunications equipment maker L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co.

The capability, called clustering, is available in proprietary software from major database vendors IBM, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp. It enables customers to maintain system operation despite the failure of a database server.

In MySQL, the software will be able to shift workloads among as many as 32 servers, or nodes, Urlocker said. The software accomplishes "failover" in a fraction of a second and works solely with MySQL databases.

"We've optimized the software for MySQL," Urlocker said. "We're trying to bring clustering to the broad population of MySQL users."

Urlocker declined to give a release data for the software.

In a separate announcement at the show, the company plans to introduce stored procedures within the next version of MySQL. Version 5.0 is scheduled for release in the second half of the year.

Stored procedures is the ability to store executable code within a database, making the function available to multiple applications. The capability, available in current proprietary databases, is used for most common operations, so developers don't have to write the same code each time they connect an application to the database.

Stored procedures is available in MaxDB, the database acquired by MySQL last year from business software maker SAP AG. The capability has been modified for MySQL, but does not mean the company plans to phase out the older SAP database, Urlocker said. The company plans to support MaxDB for at least another 10 to 15 years.

MySQL is one of several databases available without charge under the General Public License governing the use of open-source software. MySQL, however, has not become as popular within the enterprise as the open-source Linux operating system, for example, because it doesn't have the same support from major information technology vendors. Linux is promoted heavily by companies like IBM, Oracle and others.

"Until a major software or IT services vendor puts a lot of muscle behind MySQL, it's going to remain a cost-effective alternative for midsize applications, but not really a threat to the major database vendors in a significant way," Betsy Burton, analyst for market researcher Gartner Inc., said.

Today, MySQL is used primarily by local and state governments in and outside the U.S., and within smaller applications used in healthcare and financial services.

Also at the show, MySQL will unveil a value-added reseller program in which the company will dedicate engineers to helping independent software vendors and consulting firms integrate the MySQL database with their own applications.

VARs currently do most of the work themselves.

"Instead of them doing it on their own, they can join a program, which we have optimized in a way that VARs typically like to work," Urlocker said.

MySQL has a dual-license program for selling its open-source database. A customer can license the software under the GPL, which means any modifications to the source code must be released to the open-source community.

Companies looking to use the software within proprietary applications can purchase a commercial license, which means modifications don't have to be released publicly, Urlocker said.

The dual-license program is possible because MySQL owns the intellectual property rights to its software, even though it's been made available to the open-source community.