- MySQL is not a real database
- MySQL is one of the most successful database systems out there
Matt Asay has an interesting blog on his site regarding the claim that MySQL is not a real database. I've been arguing for a while that MySQL is the proof that most systems are not database-centric in nature. In my blog entry, Centricity, I define the difference between application-centric and database-centric systems.
As someone who spent their career in databases, I can very well understand why people argue that MySQL isn't a real database. The operational issues (re-issuing SQL statements as part of a recovery) and the non-deterministic behavior when certain, invalid operations are attempted make it easy to argue that MySQL doesn't fit with many of the large-scale operational requirements of enterprise IT organizations. MySQL, I'm sure, will "fix" many of these issues as time goes on but, for now, there are valid issues that prevent MySQL from tackling some of the large database-centric problems.
On the other hand, though, MySQL's popularity absolutely proves that most systems that are deployed on a database are not database-centric. MySQL's success, I believe, is related directly to the ease with which applications can be developed. This has led to many application templates being developed on top of MySQL which, in turn, has made it easier to develop even more applications. Generally speaking, application developers don't care about how recovery of a down database is performed.
IT managers do care, though, about how long it takes to recover a down or corrupted database. As I pointed out in my Centricity blog, the problem with Oracle is that they want you to pay the database-centric premium for all your database deployments and that premium is very large, indeed.