MySQL databases are the world’s most popular open source database option. Also commonly known as “My Sequel” the software provides multi level user access to a number of databases. MySQL Databases effectively function as a server operating as a fully fledged relational database management system.
The development of MySQL began back in 1994 with its first release mid 1995. Since then the package has evolved through numerous stages. MySQL database server 5.6 is expected for release shortly. The system was originally developed by Michael Widenius’ whose daughter incidentally was called My; while the SQL phrase stands for Structured Query Language.
To this day MySQL remains as free open source software. However, there are also commercial based packages with added functionality starting from $2,000 for an annual subscription with Oracle who took over Sun Microsystems in early 2010. Whichever version is in use MySQL dominates database management across the world. The package is used by web Goliath’s such as Wikipedia and Facebook and is even used by Google (although not in search). MySQL is also used in popular applications including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, MyBB and phpBB amongst others.
MySQL databases are popular for a good reason. The setup enables the rapid delivery of high performance, read-intensive applications. MySQL rises above other RDBMS systems by providing additional functionality including a number of different storage engine options. Storage engines are also dynamically loaded at run time further increasing performance.
It is possible to build and install MySQL databases from its source code. However, this can be a very laborious task so more often than not it is installed from a binary package which can then be customised as and when required. On most Linux based platforms the MySQL package can be downloaded and installed with minimal fuss. Originally MySQL was developed as a low end alternative to commercial packages but it has also evolved to support high end needs maintaining the simplicity of use that made so popular. The true beauty of MySQL databases lies in its scalability and the setup can be deployed on distributed server clusters with a number of added performance functions such as caching ensuring the stability of the platform.
Today most web hosting-plans and companies offer MySQL hosting, it is the common standard database used by most open-source developed websites. Do be aware of how a MySQL database is used by the code on your website, there are many very inefficient ways to access a MySQL database and there are of course many more effective ways to use data in a MySQL database. Ensure you choose experienced website developers if your site will handle lots of traffic.