Shutting down the FUD

Percona Co-founder: the MySQL community is thriving, but evolving


There have been rumblings around the imminent demise of MySQL for a while now – but, according to Peter Zaitsev, it’s very much alive and well.


It’s time to clear the air. Since Oracle’s acquisition
of Sun Microsystems, industry pundits (and proponents of competing
technologies) have repeatedly predicted the demise of MySQL. Would
Oracle kill MySQL by underfunding it? Would it stop improving the
Community Edition? Would users flee MySQL for other solutions?

When Oracle decided to stop supporting the annual
MySQL User Conference, fears increased even more. In the years
since, however, we’ve seen a thriving MySQL community as evidenced
by Oracle’s continued releases of the Community Edition, the
success and growth of Percona and other MySQL alternatives, and the
very well-attended Percona Live MySQL Conferences in the U.S. and

And yet, the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD)
persists as the industry continues to evolve. Some still vilify
Oracle, others fret about forking and control issues, innovation
continues to push the boundaries for MySQL, and NoSQL solutions are
creating new opportunities for hybrid environments. What’s the
truth? The truth is that we have a vibrant MySQL community and
plenty to look forward to in 2014 and beyond.

Let’s consider the state of MySQL today. The reality
is that Oracle continues to invest in MySQL, and MySQL continues to
improve under Oracle, which has released Development Milestone 3 of
version 5.7.

The performance of MySQL has also continued to improve
with each new release. In addition, far from abandoning the MySQL
community, Oracle representatives are now regularly participating
in Percona Live MySQL Conferences, and at the upcoming
in April, Oracle representatives are presenting a number
of exciting sessions.

The other issues of concern, forking and the rise of
NoSQL, are also not MySQL killers. For example, while there are
forking concerns
regarding MariaDB 10 (as noted in more detail
below), its release is anticipated in the industry, and MariaDB 5.5
has made progress in being included in some significant Linux

And while many have called
a MySQL killer, there is simply no evidence that this is
the case. NoSQL has its place, but MySQL will continue to thrive.
In many NoSQL use cases, it appears alongside MySQL rather than as
a replacement, solving a specific challenge for which it is more

It also seems that companies announce new technologies
that make MySQL more attractive every month. For example, Percona
XtraDB Cluster 5.6
makes it easy to set up MySQL clusters for
high availability, even for organizations, which were previously
running a single MySQL server. TokuDB from
enhanced storage engine performance
. And Tungsten from Continuent empowers

easier multi-datacenter replication

Likewise, monitoring solutions continue to expand the
ability of MySQL users to maintain their systems. Solutions from
companies like Severalnines and Webyog allow users to easily create
monitoring systems that provide powerful insights into the status
of their production systems.

Finally, interest in OpenStack continues to grow and
MySQL is the default database in the stack. A number of major
service vendors are pushing the OpenStack standards and are
participating in its growing adoption.

MySQL’s Future

With the abundant evidence of MySQL’s current health,
what does the future look like? We see innovation and adoption
everywhere. In fact, according to Next-Generation
Operational Databases: 2012-2016
, a report from 451 Research, MySQL ecosystem
revenue is expected to grow at a CAGR of 47 percent to reach $1.3
billion by 2016.

Significantly, the report suggests that the revenue
generated by MySQL as a service (-aaS) providers will increase
rapidly and reach 46.6 percent of the market by 2016, but revenue
for MySQL distributors and support providers will also continue to

Meanwhile, Oracle is continuing to roll out new and
improved features in MySQL 5.7 (many of the significant
enhancements coming in MySQL 5.7 will be discussed during the
upcoming Percona Live
MySQL Conference
in April).

However, as the 451 Research report suggests, “the
gravitational pull Oracle exerts on members of the MySQL ecosystem
is diminishing.” This is very significant and evidence for the
claim lies in the highly anticipated release of MariaDB 10, which
Google and Red Hat have announced they will adopt.

Still, even the MariaDB development team has highlighted
the forking issue, recognizing that those who maintain Linux
distributions do
not want a MySQL replacement that is not backward
. As a result, the coming year will be very
interesting as the MariaDB development team tries to strike the
right balance between new capabilities in the product and backward
compatibility with MySQL—an effort that is currently viewed with

Other developments helping to shape the future of
MySQL include the growth of the Percona Live MySQL Conference and
Expo. The event has grown each year—in attendance, sponsors, and
quality of speakers—and will likely continue to serve as an
important opportunity for the key players in the MySQL industry to
meet with peers, assess trends, check out the competition, and form

The Linux distributions will also continue to expand
their suite of MySQL variants and related technologies. For
example, we have had significant distros add Percona XtraBackup and
Percona Toolkit this past year, and interest has been high in
adding additional Percona open source products by some Linux

We believe that OpenStack will continue to grow in
popularity and MySQL technologies will adapt to provide more
functionality for users. For example, we have seen specific
interest in Percona XtraDB Cluster as a high availability MySQL
clustering solution within the stack from some of the major
organizations backing the standards.

Increased efficiency will also drive the adoption of
new, related technologies. For example, usage of the now open
source TokuDB storage engine will grow as users realize the
benefits of the solution in specific use cases such as storage

Additionally, new and existing monitoring solutions will
continue to grow in importance to help in the effective management
of MySQL deployments. One instance of this is our recently
introduced new variations of Severalnines ClusterControl and Webyog
MONyog for our Percona Support customers.

These variations are based on the original products
but include our best practices to ensure optimal performance. We
have also recently introduced the beta version of Percona Cloud Tools as a free,
online service that allows users to monitor their queries and
identify opportunities for improvement.

Despite the persistent gloom of some prognosticators
and the wishful thinking of competing products, MySQL remains a
vital technology that is continually being enhanced. Equally
important, the MySQL community remains committed and enthusiastic,
and organizations that rely on MySQL continue to see it as critical
to their ability to cost-effectively scale their businesses. The
truth about MySQL? The next few years will be very exciting.

About the author

Co-founder and CEO of Percona, Peter Zaitsev is arguably one
of the world’s foremost experts in MySQL performance and scaling
having advised some of the world’s largest MySQL users — including
many Fortune 500 firms and household names — on MySQL best
practices. Peter is the co-author of High Performance
, now in its third edition.

Image by Acid Pix

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