Analysis of open source DBMS vendor MySQL (recently acquired by Sun Microsystems), its products, and other products in the MySQL ecosystem. Related subjects include:

February 15, 2012

Quick notes on MySQL Cluster

According to the MySQL Cluster home page, today’s MySQL Cluster release has — give or take terminology details :) —  added transparent sharding (Edit: Actually, please see the first comment below) and a memcached interface. My quick comments on all this to a reporter a couple of days ago were:

I don’t really know enough about MySQL Cluster right now to comment in more detail.

January 24, 2012

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and enterprise database choices in general

Microsoft is launching SQL Server 2012 on March 7. An IM chat with a reporter resulted, and went something like this.

Reporter: [Care to comment]?
CAM: SQL Server is an adequate product if you don’t mind being locked into the Microsoft stack. For example, the ColumnStore feature is very partial, given that it can’t be updated; but Oracle doesn’t have columnar storage at all.

Reporter: Is the lock-in overall worse than IBM DB2, Oracle?
CAM: Microsoft locks you into an operating system, so yes.

Reporter: Is this release something larger Oracle or IBM shops could consider as a lower-cost alternative a co-habitation scenario, in the event they’re mulling whether to buy more Oracle or IBM licenses?
CAM: If they have a strong Microsoft-stack investment already, sure. Otherwise, why?

Reporter: [How about] just cost?
CAM: DB2 works just as well to keep Oracle honest as SQL Server does, and without a major operating system commitment. For analytic databases you want an analytic DBMS or appliance anyway.

Best is to have one major vendor of OTLP/general-purpose DBMS, a web DBMS, a DBMS for disposable projects (that may be the same as one of the first two), plus however many different analytic data stores you need to get the job done.

By “web DBMS” I mean MySQL, NewSQL, or NoSQL. Actually, you might need more than one product in that area.

November 23, 2011

Hope for a new PostgreSQL era?

In a comedy of briefing errors, I’m not too clear on the details of my client’s new PostgreSQL-as-a-service offering, nor exactly on what my clients at VMware are bringing to the PostgreSQL virtualization/cloud party. That said:

So I think it would be cool if one or the other big company put significant wood behind the PostgreSQL arrow.

*While Vertica was originally released using little or no PostgreSQL code — reports varied — it featured high degrees of PostgreSQL compatibility.

October 23, 2011

Transparent relational OLTP scale-out

There’s a perception that, if you want (relatively) worry-free database scale-out, you need a non-relational/NoSQL strategy. That perception is false. In the analytic case it’s completely ridiculous, as has been demonstrated by Teradata, Vertica, Netezza, and various other MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) analytic DBMS vendors. And now it’s false for short-request/OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) use cases as well.

My favorite relational OLTP scale-out choice these days is the SchoonerSQL/dbShards partnership. Schooner Information Technology (SchoonerSQL) and Code Futures (dbShards) are young, small companies, but I’m not too concerned about that, because the APIs they want you to write to are just MySQL’s. The main scenarios in which I can see them failing are ones in which they are competitively leapfrogged, either by other small competitors – e.g. ScaleBase, Akiban, TokuDB, or ScaleDB — or by Oracle/MySQL itself. While that could suck for my clients Schooner and Code Futures, it would still provide users relying on MySQL scale-out with one or more good product alternatives.

Relying on non-MySQL NewSQL startups, by way of contrast, would leave me somewhat more concerned. (However, if their code is open sourced. you have at least some vendor-failure protection.) And big-vendor scale-out offerings, such as Oracle RAC or DB2 pureScale, may be more complex to deploy and administer than the MySQL and NewSQL alternatives.

October 23, 2011

Schooner pivots further

Schooner Information Technology started out as a complete-system MySQL appliance vendor. Then Schooner went software-only, but continued to brag about great performance in configurations with solid-state drives. Now Schooner has pivoted further, and is emphasizing high availability, clustered performance, and other hardware-agnostic OLTP (OnLine Transaction Processing) features. Fortunately, Schooner has some interesting stuff in those areas to talk about.

The short form of the SchoonerSQL (as Schooner’s product is now called) story goes roughly like this:

Read more

October 2, 2011

Defining NoSQL

A reporter tweeted:  “Is there a simple plain English definition for NoSQL?” After reminding him of my cynical yet accurate Third Law of Commercial Semantics, I gave it a serious try, and came up with the following. More precisely, I tweeted the bolded parts of what’s below; the rest is commentary added for this post.

NoSQL is most easily defined by what it excludes: SQL, joins, strong analytic alternatives to those, and some forms of database integrity. If you leave all four out, and you have a strong scale-out story, you’re in the NoSQL mainstream. Read more

September 30, 2011

Oracle NoSQL is unlikely to be a big deal

Alex Williams noticed that there will be a NoSQL session at Oracle OpenWorld next week, and is wondering whether this will be a big deal. I think it won’t be.

There really are three major points to NoSQL.

Oracle can address the latter two points as aggressively as it wishes via MySQL. It so happens I would generally recommend MySQL enhanced by dbShards, Schooner, and/or dbShards/Schooner, rather than Oracle-only MySQL … but that’s a detail. In some form or other, Oracle’s MySQL is a huge player in the scale-out, open source, short-request database management market.

So that leaves us with dynamic schemas. Oracle has at least four different sets of technology in that area:

If Oracle is now refreshing and rebranding one or more of these as “NoSQL”, there’s no reason to view that as a big deal at all.

*That’s Mike Olson’s former company, if you’re keeping score at home.

September 21, 2011

Oracle Database Appliance soundbites

It turns out that Oracle’s new small appliance isn’t really an Exadata Mini-Me. Rather, the Oracle Database Appliance is — well, it seems to be a box with an Oracle DBMS in it. (Plus Oracle RAC and so on.) The whole thing is priced for and targeted at the SMB (Small & Medium Business) market, whatever that means to Oracle.

I’m not hugely optimistic about the Oracle Database Appliance. Rather, my thoughts — lightly edited from a chat with a reporter — include:

September 19, 2011

Are there any remaining reasons to put new OLTP applications on disk?

Once again, I’m working with an OLTP SaaS vendor client on the architecture for their next-generation system. Parameters include:

So I’m leaning to saying:   Read more

August 13, 2011

Couchbase technical update

My Couchbase business update with Bob Wiederhold was very interesting, but it didn’t answer much about the actual Couchbase product. For that, I talked with Dustin Sallings. We jumped around a lot, and some important parts of the Couchbase product haven’t had their designs locked down yet anyway. But here’s at least a partial explanation of what’s up.

memcached is a way to cache data in RAM across a cluster of servers and have it all look logically like a single memory pool, extremely popular among large internet companies. The Membase product — which is what Couchbase has been selling this year — adds persistence to memcached, an obvious improvement on requiring application developers to write both to memcached and to non-transparently-sharded MySQL. The main technical points in adding persistence seem to have been:

Couchbase is essentially Membase improved by integrating CouchDB into it, with the main changes being:

Let’s drill down a bit into Membase/Couchbase clustering and consistency. Read more

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