Open source database aimed at midmarket

Open source software is becoming increasingly attractive to businesses that can’t afford the cost and complexities of the licensing agreements for proprietary products.

With this mind, Pogo Linux Inc., a maker of Linux-based storage devices, last month announced it has partnered with MySQL AB, an open source database provider, to build a fully open-source database appliance, dubbed the DataWare 2600.

Geared toward medium-sized businesses, the product comes charged with two of Intel Corp.’s Xeon processors and a RAID-10 disk array, and is pre-loaded with MySQL Pro database versions 4.0, and 4.1 running on RedHat’s Linux v.9.

While MySQL can be downloaded for free from the company’s Web site, said Erik Logan, Pogo Linux’s CTO, by investing in the DataWare 2600, appliance users would be able to leverage the benefits of the product’s pre-optimization featurea. This means the solution comes pre-tested for different types of configurations, making the DataWare 2600 easier to deploy, Logan said.

MySQL said this pre-configuration would allow users to start serving customer Web sites and databases in under an hour.

The DataWare 2600 costs US$9,000, and includes three years of hardware support by Pogo Linux, based in Redmond, Wash., and one year of software support from Uppsala, Sweden-based MySQL. It is targeted at business with 100 to 1,000 users. Pogo Linux also plans to introduce more MySQL-based lower-end databases and some appliances that can be used to back up other databases.

MySQL has started to gather more followers in recent years, one of them being OnlineTel Corp., a Kitchener, Ont.-based telecommunications service provider that supplies voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone service across Canada.

When the company was first founded three years ago, it needed to invest in a data warehouse. Oracle quoted OnlineTel a $2-million price tag for a database and even though OnlineTel eventually haggled them down to $500,000, it was still too expensive for the company’s $3 million budget, said Jason G. Jakob, chief technology officer at OnlineTel.

“Lo and behold, MySQL met our needs,” Jakob said. “So we dropped Oracle.”

When OnlineTel first downloaded MySQL two and a half years ago, scalability was limited. Now, Jakob said, scalability is much improved and MySQL provides frequent – almost weekly – updates.

What is critical for OnlineTel is the ability for MySQL to access and process databases in real-time and to replicate data. He said the product is able to

authenticate the 300,000 calls made per day on the company’s VoIP network, and if the load doubled, MySQL would be able to accommodate it.

“In a real-time environment like telecommunications – when we’re doing massive amounts of hits on the database – it’s a lot faster to be able to do all the writes on the one, and reads from another,” he explained. “So [MySQL’s] scalability really helps out with replication.”

Jakob says MySQL is fast, lightweight, and runs on multiple operating systems – OnlineTel runs MySQL on seven different servers. Two are on RedHat Linux 8.0, four on the FreeBSD flavour of Unix, and one on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows 2000.

MySQL’s interoperability was also an attractive feature to Pason Systems Corp., an industrial technology company in Calgary that provides design, manufacturing and rental of specialized drilling instrumentation systems that are used on land-based drilling rigs.

Pason Systems also selected MySQL because of the expensive nature of proprietary databases.

“We really wanted to steer clear from stuff like Oracle because it’s so expensive. We couldn’t even figure out its licensing scheme because it’s so complicated and involved,” said Wing Gee, project manager of Pason Systems. “We stayed away from Microsoft’s SQL server because we don’t think it is reliable.”

Gee said Pason looked at benchmark tests between MySQL, Oracle and Microsoft and said the company discovered MySQL was “way up there” on performance.

The company runs MySQL on RedHat’s Linux versions 7.3, 8 and 9 and stores much of its mission critical data in MySQL.

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