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New MySQL Ready to Serve

MySQL AB has made version 4.1 of its database software available to the public after months of testing customer production deployments.

Though first posed as a small server for departments within large businesses, MySQL has been increasingly tailored for the so-called enterprise-class businesses, as evidenced by the features included in the latest version.

MySQL 4.1 adds subqueries to retrieve data faster, encrypted communication from client to server using OpenSSL, as well as Unicode support through the utf8 and ucs2 international character sets for applications that require local languages.

The new version supports the majority of popular operating systems, including Linux, Windows, Solaris, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, HP-UX, IBM AIX and others.

There are also new GUI installer and configuration wizards for Windows and Linux to help developers get the software up and running in a timely fashion.

While its functionality can't quite do the heavy lifting of more expensive products like IBM's DB2, Oracle's 10g or Microsoft's SQL Server databases, the software has gained footing in smaller markets for cost-conscious customers who want a functional database that is easy to install.

For example, Sane Solutions has used MySQL 4.1 in production for its NetTracker analytics software customers. But major businesses like Google, Sabre Holdings and NASA are using MySQL software to power Web sites in departments to save money.

While MySQL sees itself as competitive with IBM, Oracle and Microsoft in smaller markets, it's safe to call MySQL the top dog of the open-source database realm. There it competes with Computer Associates' Ingres database, which the company is attempting to resurrect.

This summer, CA announced plans to take its Ingres r3 server to open source and will make the product generally available soon.

MySQL open-source database servers are available under a dual-licensing model. Users can download the software for free use under the General Public License (GPL) or pay $595 per server as part of a commercial arrangement, which includes deployment services.