Sun claims big leap with MySQL upgrade

Sun plans to release a significant upgrade to the MySQL database at the MySQL Conference in San Francisco next week.

MySQL developers should be able to get their hands on a major update to the open-source database this week when Sun Microsystems hosts its first MySQL conference since acquiring the company earlier this year.

Sun will use the event in Santa Clara, California, to release MySQL 5.1, an upgrade that adds several new features to make the database more suitable for critical applications at large enterprises.

"5.1, though it sounds like an incremental release, has got some pretty major features," said Zack Urlocker, vice president for MySQL products at Sun, in a video posted to InfoWorld's Web site last week. "Probably, we should have called it 6.0, because there's so much stuff in there and we've been working on it for a couple of years."

Among the advances in 5.1 are partitioning, events scheduling, row-based replication and disk-based clustering. They are fairly standard features already offered by rivals IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, but they should help MySQL compete in environments where performance and the ability to scale are critical.

"One thing we're really most proud of is, frankly, we fixed a lot of outstanding bugs in 5.0," Urlocker said. "So 5.1 has not only greater reliability, but a performance increase of 20 percent. It will be more in some cases and less in others, but there's a significant performance boost and scalability enhancements."

MySQL had said it would release 5.1 in the first quarter, which ended March 31, and some developers have been getting impatient for the new release. "I'm a little disappointed that Q1 is almost over and there's still no sign of MySQL 5.1," Andrew Poodle, who runs the MySQL user group in the U.K., said early last month.

Other topics for discussion next week include which transactional engine MySQL developers should focus on as they move forward. Most customers today use InnoDB, but that software was acquired a few years ago by Oracle, and MySQL has been developing an alternative, called Falcon, which is due for release with MySQL 6.0.

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