MySQL VP outlines future roadmap, database trends

After MySQL was acquired by Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems Inc. on Feb. 26, data center pros wondered whether the open source database company would change its priorities. Zack Urlocker, Sun Microsystems' vice president of products for MySQL, took time out from a recent user conference to discuss the key issues on users' minds and new advances.

What are the key improvements in MySQL 5.1, and why are they important for users?
The big one is a performance gain of 15% in overall performance and throughput in benchmark tests. With hundreds of thousands of servers, that's huge, and it enables customers to continue to scale and the ability to handle much larger data sets and applications.

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Which problems do users most commonly mention?
Advanced users are pushing for more scale and throughput. They are asking about power consumption of applications and the power to drive and cool these machines. How will you address these issues?
We have Workbench, a database modeling tool for database administrators or designers. They can visually see the database setup and the relationship between tables and schemas. Falcon Storage Engine will be coming later this year. It's designed for multicore, multithreaded systems for very large Web applications. It will have linear scalability and more CPUs, so it goes faster, which addresses the issue of scalability.

Advanced users are pushing for more scale and throughput.
Zack Urlocker,
VP of products for MySQL,Sun Microsystems Inc.
Later this year, we will have two new products: the load balancer and the query analyzer. The load balancer enables people to balance workloads between multiple servers, which [are] very complex in large systems. Rather than buying more capacity, you will be able to dynamically balance loads across the system while applications are running. If one database is busy, it will direct queries to a different system that has more bandwidth. Our biggest customers are very excited about this. It's tough to create, but it adds a lot of value.

The query analyzer is a visual tool for finding out which queries are hung up or taking too long. With dozens of applications and hundreds of programmers submitting queries, if the system is inefficient, this could bring the system to a crawl, This helps identify problems from a performance perspective and will help folks build applications and know they will run fast and not be subjected to slowdowns. What are some of the trends you foresee in database development over the next few years?
There will be more and more data, and people will want to do more analysis. Data warehousing is huge and growing. Ten years ago, data warehousing was about OLTP [online transaction processing], ERP [enterprise resource management] and CRM [customer relationship management]. These are still important but, it's more and more about Web-based applications, analysis and reporting.

MySQL gets used in a lot of hosted environments. It's used by Amazon, Rackspace and many on-demand Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. There's more use of databases, and increasingly databases will be like Facebook: Web-based, running 24/7, and hosted instead of running on premises. How can data center managers adapt to these trends?
Start evaluating best practices for operating systems and Web infrastructure. What are the best practices of Amazon, eBay and Facebook? These principles are applicable to all IT departments. The Web infrastructure and the enterprise infrastructures are converging, and the Web infrastructure will define the enterprise infrastructure for the next 10 years.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Pam Derringer, News Writer .

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