Five Compelling Reasons to Use MySQL

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

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It Is Well Supported

MySQL's dual-licensing scheme means that those who want extra hand-holding can get it directly from the creator of the database. MySQL AB provides support and maintenance services such as code updates and bug fixes as part of its roughly $3,000 annual subscription fee. For a separate fee, customers can get priority 24/7 support, access to an extensive online knowledge base and a dedicated technical account manager.

Users of the free version have plenty of support options too. At, a large, robust community of users and developers discuss all things MySQL. The site has blogs, tutorials, videos, webinars, white papers and discussion forums. Any question you have has probably already been answered somewhere by someone in the community—and if it hasn't, just ask or google. "The MySQL community is active, friendly and knowledgeable," Schroeder says.

It Is Flexible and Scalable

Because there are so many options for additional features like storage engines, you can pick the one that works best for your company, or try out more than one. MySQL starts small and grows with the company. "This makes it possible to adapt the system to the needs that you currently have," says Mats Kindahl, a senior developer for MySQL AB.

"MySQL is actually a family of databases, where you can choose and configure your back end to adapt to a large set of conditions," says Patrick Sinz, owner and president of open-source consultancy Ethiqa, "so you can start small and grow later in size and/or performance."

You can configure MySQL to run tiny embedded applications using a footprint no larger than one megabyte, or scale it up to handle many terabytes of data. One way MySQL achieves this scalability is through a popular feature called stored procedures, mini, precompiled routines that reside outside of the application. These procedures are stored and run on the database server to reduce the processing footprint on the client and make the most of processing power, since the database server is usually faster. Stored procedures aren't unique to MySQL, but the recent addition of this feature set makes the database that much more attractive.

It Has Native Support for Cutting-Edge Technologies

MySQL comes prepared to support all the most popular Web 2.0-ish languages, such as Ruby, Ajax and, of course, PHP. Tim O'Reilly has said, "Every Web 2.0 company is ultimately a database company." Since MySQL is already the database that runs some of the best-known Web 2.0 sites (including Craigslist, Digg, Wikipedia and Google), maybe O'Reilly should have said that every Web 2.0 company is ultimately a MySQL database company.

Now that you've read the reasons to choose MySQL, be sure to read the alternate view: Eight Sound Reasons Not to Use MySQL.

Tina Gasperson is a freelance IT journalist who specializes in open source for the enterprise. Visit her blog at

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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