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Oracle MySQL 5.5 eyes Windows, SQL Server

Oracle MySQL 5.5 is now generally available after coming out in beta in April. The new version is focused on grabbing some of the Windows database market away from Microsoft SQL Server.

Oracle MySQL 5.5, the company’s new version of the open source database, was made available today and is aiming for the Windows market, with one consultant saying the company is pushing it hard as an alternative to Microsoft SQL Server.

“I see Oracle's emphasis on Windows platform-performance improvements are much more significant” than in previous releases, said Alex Gorbachev, chief technology officer at Ottawa-based The Pythian Group Inc. “This confirms that Oracle positions MySQL as an alternative to SQL Server rather than Oracle Database.”

Gorbachev added that “this alone is a good reason to actively invest in MySQL.”

Oracle MySQL can be run on Linux, Windows, Solaris and MAC OS X, but it’s true that Oracle has focused more attention to the Windows market.

“We are continuing to see it grow on Windows platforms,” said Monica Kumar, Oracle senior director of product marketing. “So, we’ve been working on making sure MySQL is a great fit on Windows.”

However, Kumar didn’t have any specific numbers on how many users run MySQL on Windows compared with Linux and other operating systems.

Oracle said that MySQL 5.5 could see performance improvements of up to 1,500% in read/write operations and up to 500% on read-only operations. Those results were realized by Oracle when running a common MySQL benchmark called SysBench. It compared running MySQL 5.5 over 5.1 on a four-socket Intel server running Windows Server 2008.

Oracle also claimed up to 360% read/write and 200% read-only performance improvement on Linux platforms.

When Oracle bought Sun Microsystems early this year, it also took over control of MySQL. This left some MySQL users nervous that Oracle would eventually phase out MySQL in favor of its own database platform. A MySQL conference was being held at the time of the acquisition, and there were audible groans in the audience when the news was announced.

Kumar, however, said that end users should take a look at what Oracle has done with MySQL thus far before concluding anything.

“We are investing a lot of resources into MySQL, and I would like to have people actually look at the work we’ve done and not just say things based on preconceived notions,” she said.

Meanwhile, Oracle is working to better integrate Oracle Database and MySQL, mainly through management tools such as its Oracle Enterprise Manager. Tomas Ulin, Oracle vice president of engineering for MySQL, said Oracle Enterprise Manager will be able to manage MySQL sometime in the next 18 months.

When asked what Oracle is doing to prevent Oracle MySQL users from moving to other MySQL forks – such as one called MariaDB being developed by Monty Widenius, the main author of the original MySQL database – Ulin pointed to Oracle’s workforce.

“We’re a large engineering team and we’re making a huge investment in the MySQL database,” he said.

Mark Fontecchio can be reached at

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