MySQL targets enterprise users

Open source database provider MySQL AB is going after enterprise users with the release of its newest version of database software which the company released on Monday.

According to MySQL, support for stored procedures and enterprise applications are a few of the new components in version 5.0. Stored procedures are structured query language (SQL) statements that are stored in the database in compiled form so they can be accessed in a standard way across multiple applications.

“Many enterprise customers have asked us to add stored procedures so that they could use MySQL with their existing applications. Stored procedures are used quite a bit among packaged applications and other apps that have server side functionality,” said Zack Urlocker, vice-president of marketing at MySQL.

“Now they can use this directly in MySQL without having to change how they build applications. This opens up the market for MySQL for a broader range of applications,” Urlocker noted.

He added that stored procedures are a good way to put standard SQL code into the server, thus reducing network traffic for certain operations and enabling reuse of code across applications.

“Not everyone likes to use stored procedures, but for those that do, it’s a capability we now support,” Urlocker said.

MySQL 5.0 is based on SQL:2003 and both are a common standard for syntax, data structures and retrieval processes of SQL databases, will facilitate the adoption of MySQL for existing legacy database applications.

Although 5.0 was designed to support more enterprise applications, the company said it is also ideal for Web sites and packaged applications among other database deployments.

The new software is available now for download in MySQL’s 5.0 alpha development release. Urlocker said the company puts its products through “alpha, beta, gamma and production stages for any software.”

“As we go through beta we may add functionality in the coming months. We will likely discuss a lot of the details at our user conference April 14 to 16 in Orlando. We expect to have the production release in the second half of 2004, but it depends on the quality,” he said.

Joe McKendrick, a database analyst with Evans Data Corp. in Philadelphia said adoption of MySQL has grown fairly significantly over the past three years.

This information comes from the feedback from 700 database developers Evans Data gained through results from surveys Evans Data performs twice annually to gauge thoughts and adoption rates of open source systems.

“When we first asked the question back in 2001 about 10 to 15 per cent [of database developers] said they had adopted or used MySQL somewhere within their organization and that rate has grown to four out of 10 with the most current survey,” McKendrick said. “So, we are seeing a lot of growth in that area…the rate of adoption is comparable to that of many major commercial databases at this point.”

He said that because open source software is usually made available at a very low cost up front, and source code can be adapted to the needs of an organization, this open source model has been gaining momentum in the market.

“We feel it’s [been guided] by a number of factors — the economy and the [decrease] of IT budgets has definitely helped to propel this trend,” McKendrick said.

“Companies just haven’t been able to lay out the money to buy new upgrades or new systems on a commercial basis and therefore [for] IT managers and development managers the ability to just take a copy of a piece of open source software and deploy it and throw it on a server somewhere within an organization wherever it’s required with no change in the licensing terms is quite attractive.”

McKendrick added that in terms of open source overall, support from the large infrastructure vendors including IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp. and Computer Associates International Inc. has really been driving support for the open source model because these companies can provide the service and support after the sale as well.

“In our surveys, we are finding that the confidence level among application development managers is very strong now for the open source model. It wasn’t that way a couple of years ago. The corporate IT community overall was still skeptical of the open source model and a little wary…just over the past year in fact that has really reversed and a majority do feel comfortable with open source systems.”

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