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Will users dip their toes into Oracle MySQL 5.5?

Oracle announced updates to MySQL, its first since acquiring Sun Microsystems, at OpenWorld 2010 this week. But do MySQL users trust Oracle enough to dive into it?

SAN FRANCISCO – Oracle has announced updates to MySQL, saying its release candidate for MySQL 5.5 improves performance and scalability. But MySQL users suspicious of Oracle’s intentions may hold off instead of jumping on the updates immediately.

With Oracle MySQL 5.5, the company is boasting of up to a 1,500% read/write performance improvement over MySQL 5.1, and up to a 360% improvement on Linux. Oracle also said it has enhanced MySQL and InnoDB – the storage engine behind MySQL – to take advantage of server hardware with proliferating CPUs and processor cores.

Still, it may not be enough to make end users dive in.

“This is a major step forward for InnoDB, both in reliability and performance,” said Brad Hall, systems administrator at Waiting Room Solutions, an electronic medical records SaaS company. “At Waiting Room Solutions, we're particularly excited about the performance increases.”

But, Hall added, “We probably won't be using it just yet. This will be the first release since Oracle acquired MySQL, so we'll be watching closely how the release is rolled out and how well it is received.”

Many MySQL end users are suspicious of Oracle’s motives, seeing that some consider MySQL to be a competitor to Oracle Database. Oracle has claimed that’s not the case and has positioned MySQL as catering to a different user type, such as Web 2.0 customers, and also as a possible stepping stone to Oracle Database. Not everyone agrees. Dave Welch, chief technology officer of Oracle consultancy House of Brick, said that Oracle long positioned itself as competing with SQL Server, so the claim that Oracle Database doesn’t compete with MySQL doesn’t hold water.

Either way, many Oracle MySQL users have little loyalty to Oracle right now and have said they won’t hesitate to migrate to other MySQL forks such as MariaDB if Oracle MySQL hits a dead end.

With the announcement of MySQL 5.5, that dead end, at least for now, does not seem to be in sight

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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