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MySQL: The Database of Choice for the Masses

October 29, 2011EditorMySQL, Web DevelopmentComments Off on MySQL: The Database of Choice for the Masses
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If you use MySQL, or are thinking about using it to power your website, you are in good company. MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database with over 8 million installations worldwide and continues to grow with 50,000 downloads per day.

MySQL is used by prominent websites such as Yahoo, Travelocity, Google, Amazon and LiveJournal. In 2005, Friendster had over 85 million dynamic page views per day and was able to support over 1.5 billion MySQL queries per day. According to one of the database engineers of Friendster, Oracle wasn’t an option because it would’ve been far too expensive.

MySQL stands for My Structured Query Language. It is actually pronounced My S. Q. L. rather than My Sequel as SQL is commonly pronounced. The Swedish inventors of MySQL used one of their sons names for the “My” part of the name rather than the possessive word for mine. MySQL is a database application that allows storage of data that can be retrieved and displayed on web pages. It is similar in look and feel to Microsoft Access.

MySQLoffers high performance, reliability and ease-of-use. It is extremely flexible and can handle huge amounts of data. Its open source nature allows for customization. MySQL runs on over twenty platforms including Windows, Linux and OS/X, It has become the database of choice for LAMP applications, a set of programs, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python often used to run dynamic websites or servers. The popularity of MySQL piggybacks on the growing popularity of the PHP programming language and the two programs are often bundled together and referred to as the Dynamic Duo.

The program has one of the most powerful transactional database engines featuring complete ACID (atomic, consistent, isolated, durable, transaction support), unlimited row level locking, and multi-version transaction support. It’s high performance query engine, fast data insert capability and support for specialized web functions has made MySQL the standard for high traffic websites.

Data protection and security features ensure only authorized users can access the database server and limits users to viewing only what they are allowed to view. Encryption and decryption functions protect sensitive data from unauthorized viewers.

While the program is open source, MySQL is owned by a Swedish company called MySQL AB. This company offers two licenses; one is free under the General Public License, the other is a proprietary license available for purchase. MySQL AB develops the system and also sells service contracts and support.

Support options vary from paid tech support for users of the Enterprise edition to community forums, articles and bugs databases for community users.

Reasoning, a leading provider of automated software inspections, ran a study and found that MySQL’s code ranked higher than commercial equivalents. Among its findings, the study found that the code quality of MySQL was six times better than comparable proprietary code. It also found that MySQL benefits from its open source community because the users are active in not only reporting bugs but fixing them as well.

As of early 2006, MySQL 5.1 offers subsets and extensions of ANSI SQL99, cross platform support, triggers, cursors, stored procedures, updatable views, VARCHAR support, independent storage engines, SSL support, query caching, Sub-SELECTS, full text indexing, embedded database library, numerous replication features, full Unicode support, partitioning, event scheduling, row-based replication and more. Future releases will have support foreign key support for storage engines.

With over 8 million installations worldwide and an average of 50,000 daily downloads, MySQL is clearly on the move. Whether your database needs are large or small, MySQL can surely handle it.

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