Sun Discusses Future Of MySQL

Open SourceSoftware

The announcement of MySQL 5.4 comes 24 hours after Oracle announced plans to buy Sun for £5.1bn

As analysts debate just how the open-source MySQL database will fit into the Oracle portfolio, Sun Microsystems offered a sneak peak at MySQL 5.4, which brings a series of improvements around performance and scalability.

Sun talked up the database this week at the seventh annual MySQL Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. Enhancements in the new version include improvements designed to enable the InnoDB storage engine to scale up to 16-way x86 servers and 64-way CMT servers. Also touted were new subquery optimisations and JOIN improvements aimed at speeding query response times.

“Without any modifications to your applications, MySQL 5.4 will transparently increase the performance and scalability of your applications to enable them to scale under more demanding user and data processing loads,” Karen Tegan Padir, vice president of Sun’s MySQL and Software Infrastructure Group, said in a statement. “MySQL 5.4 is also better suited for scale-up deployments on SMP [symmetric multiprocessing] systems.”

To speed queries, Sun is utilising new query algorithms that leverage main memory to improve the execution time of multiway joins. This is particularly true for MySQL Cluster, since it reduces the number of round trips between the server and cluster nodes, Sun officials said. Other enhancements included more metadata access to parameters and data returns types that stored procedures use, which allows much more information to be made available for developers using connectors such as ODBC and JDBC (Java Database Connectivity).

It has been an eventful 24 hours for MySQL fans, as the news that Oracle would acquire Sun triggered speculation about Oracle’s plans for its open-source rival.

If Oracle plays its cards right, the acquisition could be a great move since it has struggled against Microsoft SQL Server in the small and midsize database market, said Forrester Research analyst Noel Yuhanna. A combination of MySQL and Oracle DBMS can cover all bases and make MySQL more competitive against Microsoft SQL Server, he added.

“Also, we see that as databases become more automated, which is already happening, the need for tighter integration with hardware and bundling will further grow—therefore having a database appliance will become critical. Oracle has already started such an initiative with HP partnership under Exadata offering, and the SUN deal would further commoditise such offering,” Yuhanna said.

As for MySQL 5.4, the database remains a work in progress. According to Sun, the database is slated to be generally available later in 2009. A preview version can be downloaded at for 64-bit versions of the Linux and Solaris 10 Operating Systems.