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Sun does Google's dirty work on MySQL

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Sun Microsystems will fine tune MySQL for some big-name customers unwilling to get their hands dirty supporting the open source database themselves.

Google, a MySQL user, will be among those benefiting from Sun's engineering expertise and resourcing to help improve the database's scalability and performance of its storage engine in multi-core and multi-threaded environments.

Zack Urlocker, executive vice president of products for MySQL, told Reg Dev that Google had suggested improvements, but "in some areas we haven't responded as we'd have liked". Urlocker was speaking as Sun's $1bn acquisition of MySQL officially closed this week.

There has been a suggestion in the community that Google was unwilling to make the necessary changes to the open source database to meet its high-performance needs itself, as it would then have been compelled to support them.

That was a problem for MySQL, potentially limiting its uptake in really large environments.

Urlocker said: "Anyone can take part in open source but you have to be really good. And things are more complicated on the inside to make sure you don't destabilise the performance of the database.

"MySQL couldn't dedicate what Sun could with its resources... Now we have the opportunity to go from planning and to make it a priority."

Already planned in MySQL 6.0 for the fourth quarter is the storage engine codenamed Falcon, targeting the kinds of multi-core processors that have become the hallmark of large-scale systems. But that isn't quick enough for some customers.

"We have a sense on some architectures that when you get to a large number of multi core and multi threaded situations, some of the storage engines don't scale as you'd like them to. If you are on the leading edge of performance then that top one or two per cent of customers is not waiting to get some release," Urlocker said.

He is, meanwhile, optimistic Sun's sales and channel reach can help MySQL make more money from large, multinational companies that tiny MySQL could barely touch on its own.

According to Urlocker, direct sales are becoming more important as he claimed MySQL's traditional OEM business represented just 40 per cent of trade last year, down from 60 per cent two years ago.

While this sounds great for MySQL, the clear concern is its continued independence and development as a core component of the Linux, Apache, and PHP/Perl/Python stack, given Sun offers Solaris as an alternative to Linux and, with Solaris, Postgres - a substitute for MySQL.

Sources at Sun have indicated the firm is at pains to do nothing that would alienate developers, lest this destroy Sun's vicarious relationship with them.

Urlocker promised there would be no platform agenda, pushing Solaris over Linux - particularly Red Hat, which has been "great" for MySQL. "We've got more people helping us on Linux today then I had prior to the close [of the acquisition]. If we do integration for Solaris or Java it's not coming at the expense of Linux, Windows, PHP, Ruby or anything else." ®

High performance access to file storage

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