MySQL AB is rolling out the next version of its database in what it calls a production-ready DBMS for large-scale enterprise deployment.
Version 4.1 of the DBMS includes advanced querying capabilities through subqueries, improved client-server communication, new installation and configuration tools, and support for international character sets and geographic data.
MySQL is beginning to gain market share among low-end deployments, said Noel Yuhanna, a senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. By adding features typically found in large DBMSes, larger deployments of MySQL could be seen in the next two to three years, Yuhanna said.
"MySQL is developing performance scalability and feature sets, and it's definitely beginning to pick up more customers as it rolls out more functionality," Yuhanna said. "It will be competing for a strong deployment adoption rate against those vendors who typically dominated the environment."
Large database vendors have not turned a blind eye on MySQL. Oracle, Microsoft and IBM have been responding by cutting prices and introducing data management automation features.
Companies have been downloading the free open source version of MySQL to test out the functionality in their specific environment, according to Yuhanna.
The DBMS is mainly being used for non-mission-critical applications, but once enterprises get through the initial stages of their testing models, Yuhanna predicts most will make the switch to the fully supported version.
Companies are turning to MySQL and other open source DBMSes mainly due to price, according to John Horn, a MySQL trainer and CEO of Independence, Missouri-based consultancy, Interstate Software. The DBMS is popular among start-up companies on limited budgets, Horn said.
MySQL is also well respected among developers in the field who believe it can compete against Oracle and other major vendors, said Richard Rabines, co-chairman of Burlington, Mass.-based Alpha Software Inc. Alpha has been using MySQL for the past three years to help develop a suite of application tools for the DBMS.
"Their mission right now is to slug it out against Oracle and anybody else who is regarded as a serious player," Rabines said. "They've developed a high performance database engine and our staff has found it can actually build very cool Web apps and soon to be desktop apps on top of MySQL in much the same way we do for the larger vendors."
To lure larger enterprises into adopting the DBMS for more mission critical applications, MySQL introduced subqueries and derived tables in the latest version. The features allow users to search data sets.
MySQL also upgraded its client-server protocol, making it support prepared statements, improving query execution and warning information.
MySQL is also rolling out a new GUI installer and configuration wizards for Linux and Windows. It is also building in an encrypted client-server communication protocol using OpenSSL (GPL).
Developers have also improved the MySQL server library, giving it a smaller memory footprint to perform faster with embedded third-party software. The DBMS also now supports Unicode through the utf8 and ucs2 international character sets for applications that require the use of local languages.
The production version of MySQL 4.1 is available now for the Linux, Windows, Solaris, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, HP-UX, and IBM AIX operating systems.
MySQL database software is available under a dual licensing model.
Developers and organizations can choose between an open source (GPL) or a commercial MySQL license, depending on their deployment requirements. Commercial pricing for the MySQL database server starts at $595 per server.