July 23, 2014

Two Types of MySQL Users

In comments to my previous post I got number number of comments saying if MySQL would not have multiple storage engine interface it would not allow people to do various very cool stuff. And I agree with this. The question is how cool you want your database operation to be ? Visiting customers I see 2 very distinct groups of MySQL Users

Users what want cool database This is where a lot of energy is flowing (and Drizzle is picking up a lot on these market) – they want to do stuff which was not done before, they are interested in all kinds of plugins, replicating from MySQL to Cassandra and doing other cool stuff. Some of this cool stuff can be buggy but their applications are often not very business critical and they are ready to take a risks and spend sleepless nights troubleshooting issues as they come across. There are also people here who indeed have unique problems which can’t be solved by conventional problems (and a lot more people think their problems is unique than really have them) who have to be on the bleeding edge as otherwise their system could not function. This group of users is very vocal one – they participate in the conferences and other meetings, they read blogs and write them, they may even hack on MySQL. So this fraction of MySQL Community looks a lot larger than it is. Think about this – you might think most relevant players in MySQL community participated in MySQL Users Conference over the years. This is about 2000 people a year for last 8 years. Remove people which attended multiple years and you’re probably looking at crowd of 8000 or so, which is a lot but it is just a drop in the total amount of MySQL users which is in hundreds of thousands to the millions. Do not get me wrong this is a very important group of users. Because of them MySQL got popularity and market position it has today.

Users what want boring database What database did Marten Mickos sell ? It was not cool database it was commodity database, meaning database which has basic set of features which are enough for majority of users. Note it was note about cool unique features which MySQL architecture offers but about boring stuff of being good enough database for lower costs. You will find for a lot of users in the Enterprise space this is what they are looking for. Furthermore they want solid built boring database which is easy to operate and which does not give you any surprises. Have you seen people being confused about the fact you can copy MyISAM tables on file basics but not Innodb ? By the fact you can have transactions with MyISAM tables but they would not actually roll back ? Replication which can get broken by Server Crash ? A lot of people are just looking for database which just has the job done, has quick learning curve is robust and easy to operate and has few surprises. As MySQL matures and gets more and more used at the enterprise this group of users gets even larger. The “cool” is often a bad words for managers in this group. It means dangerous and unproven and this is not what they are looking for. A lot of members of this group have not heard about Drizzle, MariaDB or Percona Server, they often do not attend MySQL Conference and may not even know Oracle owns MySQL these days. This group is often rather passive but it is a lot larger than the first one

You can compare these groups as people who make their Hot Rods and people who drive Honda Civic. Hot Rods are cool and allow you a lot of flexibility how to build them. Honda Civic is boring but it gets you where you need to be with no thrills and takes very little gas along the way.

About Peter Zaitsev

Peter managed the High Performance Group within MySQL until 2006, when he founded Percona. Peter has a Master's Degree in Computer Science and is an expert in database kernels, computer hardware, and application scaling.

Comments

  1. Matthew Montgomery says:
  2. How we will deal with Drizzle:
    http://www.truckblog.com/ai/2008/2591.jpg

  3. Matt says:

    I’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’ll take the boring database any day!

  4. mbp_cmplr says:

    @Matt – I couldn’t agree more. When you’re a DBA for hundreds or thousands of servers and on call 24×7 you want stability and easily solved problems. You don’t care about “cool databases” because you just want things to work and work well. Ie: a mature product that has a lack of sloppy code.

    I understand the desire for cool and new and flashy technology but it doesn’t have a place in the Enterprise until it’s stable and reliable. Pretty simple. I can be interested in cool/new/flashy on my own time but at work I want boring and stable and reliable.

    The world is not black and white, as usual.

  5. Gettier says:

    I really do wish I would have known this about MySQL back when you original wrote this. It may have saved me some some time.

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