MySQL 5.1 Takes Off Despite Controversy
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Ten days after first being officially released as generally available (GA), software, Sun Microsystems is now claiming its open source MySQL 5.1 database server is being well received. It's a claim that stands in contrast to the initial claim of MySQL founder Monty Widenius who last week published a long diatribe discussing the multiple failures of MySQL 5.1.
Sun claims that it has had 250,000 downloads for MySQL 5.1 in the first ten days of release and is now countering the negative claims made by Widenius. The new MySQL 5.1 database is the first major release for MySQL since the MySQL 5.0 release in October of 2005. MySQL 5.1 includes a number of key new features that are intended to make the database faster and more manageable than prior versions. The 5.1 release has been delayed multiple times and earlier this year, Sun pre-announced that it would be available in June.
"We haven't seen many complaints from folks, obviously some people will question the delivery process and whether we can deliver software on time," Robin Schumacher, director of product management at Sun's MySQL division told InternetNews.com. "We don't really see it as a problem."
Schumacher admitted that with the MySQL 5.0 release there were some quality issues, which is what led to an extended development period for MySQL 5.1. The goal with the 5.1 release was to have a better release than 5.0 which is something that MySQL focused on with new development processes.
An extended quality assurance process
"What we did for 5.1 is we updated our internal quality assurance processes to ensure that the 5.1 release did not suffer from the same quality issues as 5.0," Schumacher said. "Literally our test suite increased 10 fold. When that happens you hope to see some benefit and we did."
According to Schumacher, the extended quality assurance tests let to an extended development process to ensure that critical bugs were squashed. He claimed that over 2,600 bugs were squashed in the MySQL 5.1 server prior to its release. That said, Schumacher candidly noted that no piece of software is ever bug free including MySQL 5.1.
Schumacher declined to specifically comment on MySQL founder Monty Windenius's comments about the bugginess of MySQL 5.1. Widenius alleged that the MySQL 5.1 release had at least 180 critical bugs and did not learn from the mistakes of the MySQL 5.0 release.
Issues about bugs and quality aside, MySQL 5.1 introduces at least two new features to its open source database that users will benefit from. One of them is table and index partitioning which MySQL claims will speed up overall database performance. With partitioning a database can be split up to make database operations quicker to perform since they can target specific partitions of data instead of the entire database.
"You can definitely get faster performance since only the needed partitions will be scanned," Schumacher said.
Another key item in the release is a new task scheduling function that will make database administration more streamlined. Schumacher explained that previously database administrators had to rely on system scheduling commands like cron in Linux/Unix for scheduled tasks.
"Now you just create your job in a stored procedure and then it will take care of that for you that way don't need external schedulers," Schumacher explained.
Sun Microsystems bought MySQL earlier this year for $1 billion. It's an acquisition that may yet prove to be worth the purchase price if new data from Gartner is accurate. In its press release for MySQL 5.1, Sun quotes a new Gartner press release projecting that the open source database market will be worth $1 billion by 2013. In theory, Sun expects to gain additional benefits from having mySQL as part of its server marketing efforts.