Analysis of open source DBMS vendor MySQL (recently acquired by Sun Microsystems), its products, and other products in the MySQL ecosystem. Related subjects include:
I’m frequently asked to generalize in some way about in-memory or memory-centric data management. I can start:
- The desire for human real-time interactive response naturally leads to keeping data in RAM.
- Many databases will be ever cheaper to put into RAM over time, thanks to Moore’s Law. (Most) traditional databases will eventually wind up in RAM.
- However, there will be exceptions, mainly on the machine-generated side. Where data creation and RAM data storage are getting cheaper at similar rates … well, the overall cost of RAM storage may not significantly decline.
Getting more specific than that is hard, however, because:
- The possibilities for in-memory data storage are as numerous and varied as those for disk.
- The individual technologies and products for in-memory storage are much less mature than those for disk.
- Solid-state options such as flash just confuse things further.
Consider, for example, some of the in-memory data management ideas kicking around. Read more
I have a bunch of backlogged post subjects in or around short-request processing, based on ongoing conversations with my clients at Akiban, Cloudant, Code Futures (dbShards), DataStax (Cassandra) and others. Let’s start with Akiban. When I posted about Akiban two years ago, it was reasonable to say:
- Akiban is in the short-request DBMS business.
- MySQL compatibility is one way to access Akiban, but it’s not the whole story.
- Akiban’s main point of technical differentiation is to arrange data hierarchically on disk so that many joins are “zero-cost”.
- Walking the hierarchy isn’t a great way to get at data for every possible query; Akiban recognizes the need for other access techniques as well.
All of the above are still true. But unsurprisingly, plenty of the supporting details have changed. Read more
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:
- Persistent memcached is a useful thing. Couchbase’s sales illustrate that point: http://www.dbms2.com/2012/02/01/couchbase-update/
- MySQL has always given good performance when used just as a key-value store, e.g. http://www.dbms2.com/2010/08/22/workday-technology-stack/ . So it’s reasonable to hope the memcached interface will have good performance out of the box.
- MySQL’s clustering capabilities have long been weak, providing a window of opportunity for companies and products such as Schooner Information and dbShards. The gold standard for clustering is:
- Efficient transparent sharding: http://www.dbms2.com/2011/02/24/transparent-sharding/
- Synchronous replication at much better than two-phase-commit speeds. http://www.dbms2.com/2011/10/23/schooner-pivots-further/
I don’t really know enough about MySQL Cluster right now to comment in more detail.
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.
|Categories: Data warehousing, IBM and DB2, Microsoft and SQL*Server, Mid-range, MySQL, NoSQL, Oracle||9 Comments|
In a comedy of briefing errors, I’m not too clear on the details of my client salesforce.com’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:
- PostgreSQL is good technology.
- MySQL is narrowing the gap, but PostgreSQL is still ahead of MySQL in some ways. (Database extensibility if nothing else.)
- PostgreSQL has a lot of users. (Many of them in academia and/or Russia.)
- Neither EnterpriseDB (which now calls itself “The enterprise PostgreSQL company”) nor the PostgreSQL community leadership have covered themselves with stewardship glory.
- A significant number of interesting DBMS products can be regarded as PostgreSQL forks (e.g. Greenplum, Aster Data nCluster, Netezza if you squint, and Vertica if you stand on your head*).
- PostgreSQL advancement is not dead. For example, Hadapt beta users are running actual PostgreSQL on many nodes each.
- There’s no assurance that Oracle will be a benevolent MySQL steward forever. (Specifically, Oracle’s “Play nicely with others” antitrust commitments expire in 2014.)
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.
|Categories: Aster Data, EnterpriseDB and Postgres Plus, Greenplum, MySQL, Netezza, Open source, salesforce.com, Vertica Systems||8 Comments|
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.
|Categories: Clustering, dbShards and CodeFutures, IBM and DB2, MySQL, NewSQL, NoSQL, OLTP, Open source, Oracle, Parallelization, Schooner Information Technology, Transparent sharding||2 Comments|
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:
- SchoonerSQL replicates data — synchronously if the replication target is local, asynchronously if it is remote.
- Local synchronous replication provides high availability; remote asynchronous replication provides disaster recovery.
- SchoonerSQL’s local synchronous replication also provides read scale-out.
- Schooner has a partnership with Code Futures/dbShards to provide write scale-out via transparent sharding.
- SchoonerSQL has some secret sauce in replication performance. This has the effect of significantly increasing write performance (assuming you were going to replicate anyway), because otherwise you might have to slow down the master server’s write performance so that the slaves can keep up with it.
- Schooner believes it still has some single-server performance advantages as well.
|Categories: Clustering, dbShards and CodeFutures, MySQL, OLTP, Oracle, Parallelization, Schooner Information Technology||3 Comments|
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
|Categories: Cassandra, dbShards and CodeFutures, MarkLogic, MySQL, Object, Open source, Petabyte-scale data management, Schooner Information Technology||7 Comments|
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.
- Dynamic schemas. This is the only one of the three that truly depends on NoSQL.
- Scale-out short-request processing. If you want to scale out efficiently at high request volumes, you’re best off not using all the flexibility SQL/relational DBMS offer. (In particular, you don’t want to do cross-node joins). Not coincidentally, a number of the best scale-out offerings were built to be NoSQL.
- Open source. Doing a relational DBMS is a big project. It seems easier to build NoSQL ones.
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:
- As Workday noticed years ago, MySQL can be used as a functional, basic key-value store.
- Oracle also has XML-based Berkeley DB/SleepyCat kicking around.*
- The XML extensions to Oracle’s core DBMS could be alleged to have a dynamic schema/NoSQL flavor. (Blech.)
- A dynamic schema argument could also be made for object-oriented DBMS technology. While Oracle doesn’t to my knowledge exactly sell that, it does have the Tangosol Coherence line of technology, with a potentially similar programming model.
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.
|Categories: MySQL, NoSQL, Object, OLTP, Open source, Oracle, Parallelization, Schooner Information Technology, Structured documents||13 Comments|
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:
- This doesn’t solve Oracle’s SMB problems, which include:
- Oracle software is too difficult and costly to administer. The appliance will make a modest dent in that one, but it’s not any kind of game-changer, because the issues relate to the antique design of the Oracle DBMS. (I.e., I think ongoing database administration is a bigger deal than, say, one-time system set-up.)
- SMBs use third-party applications whenever they can, with an increasing preference for SaaS. Application and SaaS vendors prefer non-Oracle alternatives when they are feasible.
- Thus, Oracle is not well positioned to thrive in the SMB market … except maybe through its MySQL subsidiary, but that has a long way to go too.
- Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Solution teaches us that Oracle should focus on selling a thick stack of technology to its highest-end customers, and that’s exactly what Oracle does focus on.