Five Compelling Reasons to Use MySQL

Why should MySQL be at the top of your database list?

The hardest part of enumerating the best reasons to use MySQL is figuring out in what order the reasons should be presented. It's like the age-old debate about the chicken and the egg. Are MySQL's lower costs of ownership (TCO) attributable to its simplicity? Is it ubiquitous because of that low TCO, or is it the other way around? There are no hard and fast boundaries separating the best features of MySQL; they run together like in a watercolor painting.

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No matter, it is the result that counts, and MySQL is proven to be cost-effective, flexible, widespread and well-supported. What's not to like? Here, in no particular order, are the top five reasons you should use the MySQL database.

It Is Ubiquitous

They say "success breeds success," and that certainly seems to be the case for MySQL. The open-source database boasts more than 11 million active installations worldwide. A recent survey conducted by Evans Data Corporation showed that MySQL has gained 25 percent market share in the past two years. The research company predicts that developers will continue to choose MySQL in increasing numbers, over other open-source and proprietary databases. John Andrews, president of Evans , says user ratings for MySQL and other open-source databases are "meeting or exceeding proprietary databases."

Because it is already so popular, MySQL is a good choice for the enterprise. "It has a solid track record," says Tim Tuck, owner of Pervasive Netwerks, a VAR and IT consultancy based in Hayward, Calif. "Nobody is being the trailblazer in choosing it, in an embedded or large-scale clustered deployment, [or] in the Web-based application space." Another benefit of MySQL's prevalence in the industry is the ease of finding solutions. Vendors want their development tools and application frameworks to be compatible with MySQL because, well, everyone is using it. MySQL is a standard component of the LAMP stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl or PHP. Rapid overall adoption of the LAMP stack is responsible for the broad acceptance of MySQL, according to the Evans survey. "Usage of MySQL is projected to continue to increase in the future," claims the report.

It Is Simple

MySQL is easier to learn and to use, compared to other databases. You don't have to spend as much time and money either training existing staff, or hiring developers with fancy certifications. Because it is a "no-brainer" to maintain and administer, that results in lower payroll costs, says Mitch Pirtle, CEO of Spacemonkey Labs . "It doesn't need a $150,000 per year certified DBA, or team, to maintain. And it is dead simple to develop for."

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