Contributor(s): P. Eng and Rob McCormack
This definition is part of our Essential Guide: An admin's guide to AWS data management

MySQL is an open source relational database management system (RDBMS) based on Structured Query Language (SQL). 

MySQL runs on virtually all platforms, including Linux, UNIX, and Windows. Although it can be used in a wide range of applications, MySQL is most often associated with web-based applications and online publishing and is an important component of an open source enterprise stack called LAMP. LAMP is a Web development platform that uses Linux as the operating system, Apache as the Web server, MySQL as the relational database management system and PHP as the object-oriented scripting language. (Sometimes Perl or Python is used instead of PHP.)

MySQL, which was originally conceived by the Swedish company MySQL AB, was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008 and then by Oracle when it bought Sun in 2010. Developers can still use MySQL under the GNU General Public License (GPL), but enterprises must obtain a commercial license from Oracle.

Offshoots of MySQL are called forks. They include: 

Drizzle – a lightweight open source database management system in development based on MySQL 6.0.

MariaDB – a popular community-developed "drop-in" replacement for MySQL that uses MySQL APIs and commands. 

Percona Server with XtraDB– an enhanced version of MySQL known for horizontal scalability

This was last updated in September 2013

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