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IBM

IBM, MS Critique MySQL 577

magellan writes "InfoWorld has an article reporting how both IBM and Microsoft are dissing MySQL. While it is understandable from Microsoft, it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative. Sun Microsystems and Yahoo are quoted as providing positive opinions on MySQL." On the credit site for MySQL, though, Bingo Foo writes "MySQL has finally answered its detractors who complained about its lack of transactions. A press release today reveals that InnoDB is now fully integrated with the stock MySQL product, allowing ACID-compliant transactions, rollback, and crash recovery. Let the religious wars begin!"
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IBM, MS Critique MySQL

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  • DUH (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nrjyzerbuny ( 141033 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:24PM (#4313581)
    Except for the fact that IBM has a competing product. IBM can like open source all they want, but they would be stupid to promote something that does for free, what they sell a product to do.
    • Re:DUH (Score:5, Funny)

      by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:27PM (#4313612) Journal
      Are you talking about DB2? You don't seriously consider MySQL to be a competing product to DB2, do you? That's kind of like saying Land Rover competes with Boeing. They're just in different classes altogether.
      • Re:DUH (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BlowCat ( 216402 )
        When it comes to web servers in mid-range companies, MySQL and DB2 are competitors. The choice is between paying for support (and using a product with features they don't need) and hiring a MySQL hacker.

        Big companies tend to choose support, small companies prefer to save some money and have some database expertise in-house. But for many companies, it's a tough call.

        • Re:DUH (Score:4, Insightful)

          by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:08PM (#4314008) Journal
          When it comes to web servers in mid-range companies, MySQL and DB2 are competitors.

          No, they're not. Because they're not equivalent products. If you would use MySQL for a job, then you would never have chosen DB2, because it's overkill. Likewise, if you use DB2, then MySQL could never have met your needs in the first place. There's really no overlap between DB2 and MySQL at all.

          Now, Oracle versus DB2, or MySQL versus Microsoft Access, those are reasonable comparisons.
          • Re:DUH (Score:3, Insightful)

            by zurab ( 188064 )
            If you would use MySQL for a job, then you would never have chosen DB2, because it's overkill. Likewise, if you use DB2, then MySQL could never have met your needs in the first place. There's really no overlap between DB2 and MySQL at all.

            Would you consider DB2 to be an overkill for Yahoo Finance? Hell, a lot of companies that I consulted at ran DB2, and they had much less traffic than Slashdot. The truth is, DB2 and Oracle are not marketed at high end servers only anymore; they are in tough competition at mid-level. Same is true for MSSQL, although they started at relatively lower level and now are trying to move up to high-end.
          • Re:DUH (Score:3, Funny)

            by budgenator ( 254554 )
            >MySQL versus Microsoft Access, those are reasonable comparisons

            wow Access must have grown up a lot since the last time I tried to used it
          • Open-source databases "don't support as many users, they don't support as much data, and you don't have as many connectivity options," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management solutions at IBM. "They lack some key functionality and lack the scalability and performance, which keeps them out of the enterprise," Jones said. That's absolutely true: MySQL is well-suited to the needs of small and middle sized businesses (say search engines and invoice databases), but not for the biggest enterprise-level tasks out there (say for the IRS or Social Security). "So far, I still see MySQL and some of the other open-source databases as really niche players," said Sheryl Tullis, product manager for the SQL Server database at Microsoft. Now that's just wrong. The number of companies that can use a middle sized database greatly outnumber those that need big iron. Oracle, IBM, and so on are the "niche players" here. Sure they make money hand over fist, but it's for support contracts and so on for fewer (but massive) clients. Companies will pick the software that best meets their needs. Open source is cheap, easy, and supports the majority of cases. Big iron databases are powerful but expensive to buy and maintain, and only those who can afford them will use them. In this case, Microsoft is simply trying to convince people that bigger (and more expensive) is always better.
      • Re:DUH (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rutledjw ( 447990 )
        I have to agree here. While DB2 may have a PRESENCE on small and mid-range boxes, they have no real competative advantage there. Where DB2 shines is on the mainframe. A place where MySQL has no real use. MySQl and DB2 simply fit into different niches I can see MS getting their underwear in a knot over MySQL, but I'd think that IBM would throw up a big "I don't care" flag and ignore it.

        Or perhaps look to incororate it into their own offerings in the same manner as they have done with Linux

        Either way, in the corporate world where support contracts == good product / peace of mind MySQL will still struggle without any BIG corporate sponsorship. We're a big IBM shop and we're struggling to get Linux in here for that very reason. Even though Red Hat and IBM support Linux and each other, it's not enough. MySQL will likely face similar obstacles.

        Don't get me wrong, times are a changin', however slowly. But at this point, I think perception (of support) is the biggest problem OSS faces in the corporate world.

    • Informix? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Squeezer ( 132342 ) <awilliamNO@SPAMmdah.state.ms.us> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:39PM (#4313744) Homepage
      Don't forget that IBM recently bought out Informix and now sells InformixSQL as well as DB2.
  • by Omega ( 1602 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:26PM (#4313605) Homepage
    Forget transactions -- you can fake that with LOCKs. But when are subselects coming to MySQL? It's not about poorly written queries, there are just some things you cannot do without subselects.

    I can understand why IBM would bash MySQL, though. After all, they are selling DB2 -- so they have to compete with a free SQL db. Remember to keep in mind that both IBM and MS are primarily interested in keeping up revenues from their commercial DB products when reading their complaints on MySQL.

    • by delta407 ( 518868 ) <<slashdot> <at> <lerfjhax.com>> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:33PM (#4313677) Homepage
      A lot of subselects can be done using views, but those aren't supported either. This is my main complaint with MySQL -- though, it's still a very capable database, is plenty fast, and the price is right.

      Yes, MySQL still has work to do, but it's adequate for most purposes. Though, missing subselects and views (and triggers... sigh) can make a lot of more complex queries less than optimal.

      Oh well. The roadmap exists, at least.
      • by bovinewasteproduct ( 514128 ) <`gclarkii' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:41PM (#4313762) Homepage
        Well PostgreSQL has all of these, but a question thats been floating around in my head is: Will MySQL still be "lightning fast" after they add all of this?

        PostgreSQL 7.3 is raising the bar again: schema support, drop column support, major bug fixes, table functions (ie return tuples) andprepared queries are just some of the things they have added in 7.3. Can MySQL match these AND KEEP THE SPEED?

        I mean as long as you stick to MyISM tables your fast, but...

        BWP
      • by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:49PM (#4313834) Homepage Journal

        The main thing missing from MySQL is subselects, views and subselects- the TWO main things missing from MySQL are views and subselects... and triggers... Oh I'll just come in again....


        Among MySQL's deficiencies are such diverse elements as subselects, views and triggers...


        (Ashamed to say I've forgotten the rest...)

        • it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative.

          I know a little (and nto much more) about databases, being more a sysadmin than DBA.
          IBM's claim seem reasonable - that MySQL isn't suited for extreme high end use. This seems reasonable. Just because IBM chooses to advocate quality Open Source tools where they see fit doesn't mean that IBM must think every Open Source app is quality.

          Maybe IBM just used MySQL and found it lacking.

      • by cliffiecee ( 136220 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:05PM (#4313978) Homepage Journal

        (JARRING CHORD)

        (The door flies open and Bill Gates of Microsoft enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Steve Ballmer has goggles pushed over his forehead. Sam Palmisano (IBM) is just an idiot.)

        Gates: NOBODY expects the InfoWorld Article! The chief thing missing from MySQL is subselects...subselects and views...views and subselects.... The two things missing are views and subselects...and triggers.... The *three* things missing are views, subselects and triggers...and an almost fanatical devotion to row-level transactions.... The *four*...no... *Amongst* the things missing from MySQL ...are such elements as views, subselects.... I'll come in again. (Exit and exeunt)

        Slashdotters: I didn't expect a kind of InfoWorld article.
    • by Florian Weimer ( 88405 ) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:36PM (#4313711) Homepage
      Forget transactions -- you can fake that with LOCKs.

      Forget RDBMSs, you can fake them using plain ASCII text files.
    • by foobar104 ( 206452 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:41PM (#4313770) Journal
      Forget transactions -- you can fake that with LOCKs.

      How do you fake a roll-back with LOCK?
    • > Forget transactions -- you can fake that with
      > LOCKs.
      Can you please explain how you will perform crash recovery using just LOCKs? Transactions are not just for concurrency control.
    • Totally agreed. I'm not very keen of doing the logic at the application side as that means lots of I/O overhead when moving more data than needed from the DB server.

      Another thing that I'd like to see soon is foreign keys with integrity checking. It's always nice to do some db corruption prevention on the database side. For all larger databases, this is very important. I know that applications that corrupt its database are broken and should be fixed, but if someone hits on a bug that hasn't been caught and breaks the database you definately want the database to prevent it. The other option, restoring it from backups, is not what you want to do.
    • Forget transactions -- you can fake that with LOCKs. But when are subselects coming to MySQL? It's not about poorly written queries, there are just some things you cannot do without subselects.

      Fair enough. However, a great many subselects can be handled by select-ing into temporary tables and then joining appropriately.

      Stepping back a bit, MySQL is a solid product, at an awesome price, which is invading the market from below. would it better with feature X? sure. is feature X worth the price differential between what you pay now ($0 for gpl license) and what you would pay with oracle/db2/sql server? for some people, maybe. for most people, no. and that is the problem that all disruptive technologies [amazon.com] exploit ... namely, that the mainstream product starts to overdeliver performance relative to market demand.

      -- p
    • by GCP ( 122438 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:45PM (#4314354)
      A database that can only handle one subset of our customers per database instance is too amateurish to consider for much beyond managing a Christmas card list. And, come to think of it, without Unicode it couldn't even handle my Christmas card list.

      I can imagine some niche uses, but I would never consider it for a general-purpose database platform for a company with international aspirations.

  • by DigitalCH ( 582593 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:29PM (#4313632)
    MySQL isn't ready for a lot of enterprise envrionments. By enterprise I mean terabyte DB's running on huge sans. The tools you need for diagnostics and administration aren't there. But BEFORE I get flamed I want to clarify this by saying that for most smaller applications I think MySQL is fine.

    But imagine your job depended on the fact that you need to find a performance problem in the database that was cause by how data was allocated on the SAN. Sql Server, Oracle, and IBM DB2 have tools for this. MySQL doesn't. If your job depended on that would you use MySQL?
    • There are two types of environments: those where people say "MySQL isn't good enough for the enterprise" and those that use MySQL in the enterprise.

      The management issues you cite are common concerns for people who are not used to the idea that MySQL uses the filesystem as it is intended to be used, and can thus be managed at the filesystem level.
      • by DigitalCH ( 582593 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:10PM (#4314029)
        It all depends on what your definition of enterprise is... It also depends on what the application is... You have to look at all of this an make your decision.

        I'm just saying that I have worked in several large financial firms and that their requirments are such that MySQL is not a viable option for most of their larger trading and analysis systems. As I said before the tools aren't there. You also don't appear to understand that the filesystem is both a virtual representation as well as a physical representation. Hence your comment that MySQL uses the filesystems as it was intended to be used is incorrect. Thats like saying performance charactaristics are the same on a 100gb hard drive and a 1 terabyte SAN. They ARE NOT! It doesn't matter how you write you code the problem can still come down to what the hardware is doing.

        One last point... I do think that MySQL can make a lot of inroads in applications that are departmental. That means you will find them in the enterprise envrionments but that doesn't mean they are Enterprise apps.
        • You also don't appear to understand that the filesystem is both a virtual representation as well as a physical representation. Hence your comment that MySQL uses the filesystems as it was intended to be used is incorrect. Thats like saying performance charactaristics are the same on a 100gb hard drive and a 1 terabyte SAN. They ARE NOT! It doesn't matter how you write you code the problem can still come down to what the hardware is doing.

          Be specific. Cite examples. I don't understand what it is that you think you can't analyze. When an application can't write log-files to your SAN fast enough do you throw up your hands and say "this log file doesn't have good analysis tools!"?

          Traditionally databases like DB2 and Oracle needed complex analysis software because they bypassed the OS' semantics for filesystem management, either creating one large file and working inside it or opening raw partitions and writing to the media. MySQL has no such limitations. It operates one files which represents high-level database objects like tables. You can locate each table on a unique filesystem and analyze performance. You can tune the filesystem WRT any these files' performance. You can use OS tools like lsof and iostat.

          BTW: If you're using anything but a netapp for remote access to database storage, I'm not really suprised that you are having trouble managing it. I worked with Oracle on a netapp and 90% of my "management" headaches went away. Granted, it can't make Oracle easy to administer, but nothing can do that.
          • Fair enough... One of the best examples of this I have seen was a production problem we had with one of our larger databases. The way the SAN(EMC in this case) was allocating data across all the drives that made up the SAN was causing a performance problem with the DB. So when we ran certain queries the response time from the DB was fairly bad. In this case it took about a second to retrieve the data because the disks were churning looking for this data. This second response time should have been in the 10's of milliseconds. As the queries stacked up we began to get deadlocking and hence severe performance issues with the DB. Now all the standard SQL optimizers where of no use. We ended up having to use an Oracle tool(oem'ed from EMC) that can analyze how the data is stored on the SAN and what the retrieval charactaristics are. Once we did that we saw the problem was actually below the filesystem an inside the SAN. Some new drivers with tweaked algorithms were provided and the problem went away.

            Now to the best of my knowledge that tool only exists for Oracle and SQL Server. If we had been running MySQL in this instance we would have been out of luck. Try explaining to an EVP why you can't figure our why your database was behaving slowly... especially when any failures result in million dollar losses.

            It's not the fault of MySQL that this support doesn't exist. I'm sure that when MySQL has a big enough installed base someone will create a similar tool for it. My point was simply that all the tools you need in an enterprise envrionment don't neccessarily exist for MySQL. Time will fix this. But for now I don't want my job to be impacted by this.

            I'm not a DBA so I can't speak to all the other places where this happens. However this is just one example of a problem our DBA group came across in their daily activities. Think of the other problems that could exist out there... You can be bleeding edge if you want... but for myself I wont architect any solution that could impact my paycheck.
          • Here's an example: RMAN.

            When MySQL has backup and recovery capabilities even close to Oracle's RMAN people can start considering it for very serious and critical applications.
      • the third type (Score:3, Interesting)

        by srichman ( 231122 )
        There are two types of environments: those where people say "MySQL isn't good enough for the enterprise" and those that use MySQL in the enterprise.
        I'll toss in a third: those that used to use MySQL, but switched, because MySQL didn't cut it. This was the case at my previous job. MySQL didn't scale like they needed it to (they are now running Oracle on Sun clusters) and didn't support some features they needed (e.g., nested queries).

        The developers all still ran on MySQL (and do to this day), though, as they found it more user-friendly and convenient to run on your desktop. So, the code was dotted with if (isOracle)'s where we handled incompatibilities and missing features by hand...

  • Ok, I'll admit my knowledge is from about 8 months ago, but maybe someone can tell me.

    One, does this mean that MySQL will no longer drop a table required by FKs? Second, do we still have to pay for proper backups (ie hot backups) when using InnoDB?

    BWP
  • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:30PM (#4313643) Homepage Journal

    MySQL kicks ass for uick access to non-important data! It's fats! It's easy! It's fast!

    If I want Traqnsactions, Triggers and ACID - I use PostgreSQL, or somthing else. Please, leave MySQL alone!

    Not every database has to aspire to be Oracle - just as all text editors don't have to aspire to be Emacs.

  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danheskett ( 178529 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .tteksehnad.> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:31PM (#4313644)
    While it is understandable from Microsoft, it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative.
    Did it ever occur to you that they would provide comparions based on the factual technical differences between the products? Must IBM be the perfect cheerleader, and ignore weaknesses, deficianicies, and downsides just because the OSS products are there?

    Seriously? Is this how you build a business? By blindly recommending products regardless of their relative merits?

    Software recommendations don't have to be politically correct. If I call up IBM Global Consulting - a very well respected consultancy by the way - and ask them to compare their product, MySQL, PostgresQL, SapDB, MS-SQL, Oracle, etc I expect a **real* goddamn answer, supported by facts.

    I don't want an essay telling me how they defend Open Source, about how great the whole idea is, or why things are progressing nicely. I want a recommendation based on experience and fact. If I want an opinion from the defenders of Open Source Software, I will call up Bruce Perens or RMS or Eric Raymond.

    Ohh, and by the way, just because MySQL has support for ACID-like features doesn't suddenly mean its the same as Informix, or Oracle, or even MS-SQL. These products had ACID-like features *years* ago (or decades ago!). Getting to a stable release of a core feature is an accomplishment, but its not like they cured Polio or anything.
    • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously? Is this how you build a business? By blindly recommending products regardless of their relative merits?

      No, that's just how you behave if you're a Linux zealot.

      GIMP is just as good as Photoshop, I swear!
    • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

      by tmark ( 230091 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:30PM (#4314240)
      I don't want an essay telling me how they defend Open Source, about how great the whole idea is, or why things are progressing nicely.

      Are you sure you're at the right website ?
    • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Angst Badger ( 8636 )
      Seriously? Is this how you build a business? By blindly recommending products regardless of their relative merits?

      No, but you will never build a business by ever admitting that your product is inferior in any way to a competing product.

      Now, mind you, I'm not saying MySQL is better than DB2 -- that would be a practically meaningless statement anyway. But MySQL is better than DB2 for certain applications, such as when speed is the foremost consideration and you don't need certain features. But no IBM marketing person will ever say this. Ever.

      It's not necessarily the case that marketing people have to lie -- though of course many of them will do so without batting an eyelash -- it's that they do have to present their product in the most favorable light possible. If that means exaggerating, omitting relevant facts, or diverting attention from vital points, so be it. Marketers are not product reviewers.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Misha ( 21355 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @05:49PM (#4315445) Homepage
        you obviously don't know what you are talking about. I work for IBM. More specifically, I work in their consulting division. More specifically, I work on databases services for IBM's big customers. And I can tell you for a fact, that if the customer wants Oracle, or MS-SQL, or, as you say, "god-forbid" MySQL, I will make it work for them.

        what makes DB2 a good sell for the enterprise, is it's integration with web services, LDAP services, monitoring and administration services, running on huge machines that MySQL couldn't take advantage of, even with all of MySQL's "speed". Just as a point, optimized 64-bit DB2 engine running on an RS/6000 type box with several 7GB databases is considered a lower-end model. MySQL running on a P3 with 2GB of RAM and a couple IDE drives serving a web-page hardly compares. Yes, MySQL may be faster on that particular smaqll machine running in a dorm-room or a garage (most likely because of lax features), but DB2 will beat anyone when you spend just a few extra corporate bucks (i am not talking about an average person here) on your web server and database.
      • Re:WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kcbrown ( 7426 )
        No, but you will never build a business by ever admitting that your product is inferior in any way to a competing product.

        You know, I wonder if this is really true.

        Has anyone ever built a business around a product and honestly marketed that product, even going so far as to recommend a competitor's product when their own product didn't do what their customer needed?

        I can tell you this: if I was a potential customer of a company that did that to me and their recommendation worked well, I'd certainly come back to them later in the hopes that they had a product that suited my needs before going elsewhere. If they have that kind of integrity in dealing with their customers then hopefully their products would be of the same high quality.

        And my reasons would be sound business reasons, too: it's cheaper in the long run to deal with companies that have real integrity, because such companies don't waste your time and your resources, and thus your money, by feeding you bullshit.

        For businesses in the U.S., you're probably right. Those businesses never look past their next quarter's profits, so it doesn't matter if their suppliers screw them over with false promises -- so such behavior ends up being rewarded. But I still think it's more expensive in the long run.

  • by ShieldWolf ( 20476 ) <jeffrankine@NoSpam.netscape.net> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:31PM (#4313650)
    Although IBM may back Linux, it is also one of the strongest supporters of TCPA and is a big proponent of closed products such as WebSphere and Notes. Linux allows IBM to beat MS based solutions on price if they have to, but they do not see it as a panacea. DB2, which is gaining HUGE on Oracle is one of IBM's biggest cash cows and a direct competitor of MySQL. Expecting them to not diss MySQL is like asking Microsoft not to diss on Linux, it ain't gonna happen (and shouldn't).

    -Shieldwolf
  • by papasui ( 567265 )
    Of course large companies that have big needs for database programs are going to diss (didn't that word die out 7 years ago?) MySQL. It's just not as powerful a database as many others out there regardless whether its open source. If you have small database needs it's great but if you need something big and robust your better off with Oracle, PostgreSQL, or SQL Server.
  • MySQL is still a toy (Score:4, Informative)

    by dutky ( 20510 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:32PM (#4313661) Homepage Journal
    Now that they've fixed the lack of transactions (twice. What was wrong with the first time?) they can implement subselects and relational integrity. When they have all three implemented, I'll think about replacing PostgreSQL.

    (P.S. Does MySQL have any support for checkpointing and hot backup, or do I have to take the whole database down during maintainance?)

  • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:32PM (#4313662) Homepage
    "While it is understandable from Microsoft, it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative."

    I don't suppose it ever occured to the submitter of the story that IBM might have taken an objective look at MySQL and formulated it's remarks based on first-hand observations, instead of the rehearsed and oft-repeated rhetoric of open-source fanaticism.

  • by Professor Collins ( 604482 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:33PM (#4313680) Homepage
    It's been two years since it was written, but this document [openacs.org] still does a good job of running down a lot of things that make MySQL fall short of other DBMSes. Even with InnoDB, it still has no provisions for stored procedures, sub-selects or even foreign key constraints.

    I would not fault MySQL for this, though, since after all it was designed and still mainly used as an SQL wrapper for flat file data, and this is why it's usually much faster than full-featured RDBMSes. The problem is with mindless open-source advocates who try to pump up MySQL as the be-all, end-all database solution. For a personal website or small business, MySQL is more than adequate, but its lack of higher-end SQL features make it a poor fit for large, distributed, mission-critical corporate or university data storage.

    IBM and Microsoft's customers are generally in this higher end of the database spectrum, where Oracle or DB2 makes much more sense. It's no surprise that they would want to put MySQL in its place as an entry-level database system, where it belongs, and I fail to see how this story qualifies as news.

  • MOst arguements I have seen against MySQL (including mine) are far from zealotry. SO now (after how long???) it has transactions. Big deal. Let me know when they support sub selects, sequences, schemas, and any other number of basic features any database using programmer worth his meat uses every day, and then maybe I'll have another look. Until then, I'll stick with Postgres, which has had all these features for a long time, and has much better performance than MySQL on any moderate to large database.

  • Sounds true (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:35PM (#4313706) Homepage
    If you look at the complaints in the article
    Open-source databases "don't support as many users, they don't support as much data, and you don't have as many connectivity options," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management solutions at IBM. "They lack some key functionality and lack the scalability and performance, which keeps them out of the enterprise," Jones said.

    All of that is absolutely true. The MySQL response was also true the missing functionality in products such as MySQL is not needed by some companies

    One of the posters below made the comparisons between a landrover and 747. You don't need a 747 for all tasks and there is nothing wrong with making cars and not planes. MySQL is a really nice alternative to both flatfiles and overkill complex databases for departmental servers. Oracle and DB2 still have major features for enterprise servers that MYSQL and Postgres just don't have. Especially DB2 where the advantages of I-OS and Z-OS over Unix can be felt. In some ways Oracle probably has the most to fear because with Sun backing MySQL there is a good chance that as far as Unix systems go within 5 years it could be comparable.

    In terms of ease of use for departmental level servers SQL Server beats out MySQL. An open source project like Access would do a ton to close this gap.

    • One of the posters below made the comparisons between a landrover and 747. You don't need a 747 for all tasks and there is nothing wrong with making cars and not planes.

      That was precisely my point, and I'm glad somebody got it.
  • titles (Score:4, Funny)

    by Satai ( 111172 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:36PM (#4313717)
    I laughed out loud when I saw that it featured a quotation by "head of the SQL Server project" opposing a quotation by "head technical Yahoo." Somehow I'm much more reassured having a Yahoo on our side than a stuffed shirt...
  • With good reason! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:37PM (#4313727) Homepage Journal
    Besides the FUD (both MS and IBM are sellers of massively overpowered SQL servers), there's good reason to warn customers about MySQL. It's still a toy -- it can't scale for shit, has trouble optimizing queries and setting up multiple indexes and transactions are a huge performance hit. This is the point at which someone mentions a good DBA is already optimizing the queries. I would like to point out that a company trying to avoid paying $2-$20,000 on a SQL server license don't have the $60k+ to pay a good DBA.

    Some consultants are no doubt going to tout to companies the impressiveness of MySQL and hook them on it for its value without telling them that it's not as scalable. Which would mean costly conversion in the future to one of the other database systems, which could have been avoided by just using them in the first place.

    I am not a fan of MS, but SQL Server is an impressive piece of software. I've dealt with it my entire career, while running mysql and postgres at home. I would never deliver a product based on MySQL to an F500, or any company that's going to do more with their database than manage a small ebusiness server.

    Postgres, on the other hand, is very full featured and a joy to work with.

    This isn't to say that MySQL doesn't work for your web log, your cd database, your employee info database or your company wide contact system with SOAP front end. It's to say that I wouldn't trust it with any data I needed 100% responsive and 100% reliable.
    • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:28PM (#4314220)
      Postgres, on the other hand, is very full featured and a joy to work with.

      Every time I see comments about girls and marriage, I worry that Slashdot may no longer be of the geeks and for the geeks. Fortunately, then someone comes along like you and describes a database system as "a joy".

      It's not often /. leaves me with a huge grin anymore but the image of you jumping up, punching the air and yelling, "Woohoo! I get to work with Postgres!" left me with one.

      God bless you. God bless your pure, innocent love of databases.

  • "If Oracle or DB2 is the Cadillac, then we are the Ferrari"

    Now that they support transactions they evolved from Trabant to Honda, but definitely not to Ferari. MySQL still lacks important features - like subselects, or a non brain-dead query rewriter/optimizer(MySQL is indeed lightning fast, but only for relatively simple queries). The problem, IMHO, is that a lot of developers learn databases on-the-fly (in a non-rigurous manner), and as a consequence have no idea what to expect from a DB.

    Never believe the marketing department (of either side in this story)

    The Raven.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland@ya ... .com minus punct> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:41PM (#4313768) Homepage Journal
    "it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative. "

    Just because you support Open Source, doesn't(or shouldn't) mean you blindly like something just because it is open source.

    Would you really want your multi-terabyte real time database to be MySQL?
  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jabbo ( 860 ) <jabbo AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:42PM (#4313779)
    Let's not forget two things here:

    1) IBM sells a very capable (as in, "Runs the UPS package-tracking system, at 15TB the largest publicly disclosed OLTP database in the world") system called DB2, and they make money doing so.

    2) MySQL has only recently included transactions in the base package. They still do not handle subselects or foreign keys, both of which become very useful when dealing with large databases.

    Why on earth *wouldn't* IBM recommend against MySQL for their enterprise customers? IGS does not service the sorts of customers that are typically suited to using MySQL (US Census Department excluded :-)). Now if they start dissing PostgreSQL, which I stake my job and reputation on the reliability of, then I will begin to reel off the reasons why I parted ways with IBM, and would never go back...

    Hint: it's not because IGS technical people are anything less than world-class. Management is another story. But don't think IBM engineers don't know what they're doing. They're damn good.
    • They still do not handle subselects or foreign keys, both of which become very useful when dealing with large databases.

      Large? Heck, I use both on my porn site (See below). And, I wouldn't call 65K recs in one table very large, either. But to structure my data otherwise would be a fucking mess.
  • by AchilleTalon ( 540925 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:42PM (#4313784) Homepage
    a new RDBMS player in the Unix market. This was back in 1993. This new player, was DB2/6000 for AIX. At this time, almost everyone was using Oracle. And Oracle was very happy. However, with this newcomer, Oracle started to realign its marketing strategy, starting bashing IBM and DB2/6000. In short, they were saying what IBM is saying today about MySQL.

    And they were not wrong at all. At this time, DB2/6000 was missing some exotic features Oracle was having. Anyway, some peoples decided to adopt DB2 and IBM continued to improve DB2.

    I don't see the point about a lack of endorsement of OSS by IBM because they are just saying some features, they think are required by enterprises class architectures, are missing by MySQL. It's just plain truth, MySQL is missing some features. It's up to the customer to decide if these features are required or not.

    In short, a storm in a glass of water...

  • by shodson ( 179450 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:43PM (#4313792) Homepage
    Anybody who has built very large, mission-critical database systems would never think of using MySQL. MySQL is great for small, simple applications, and has been very popular for web content site because of it's quick speed or reading data, but it's lack of truly robust transaction support (until recently with the 4.x release) scares big corporate DBAs. Not to mention its lack of stored procedures, sub-queries, and many other SQL programming features and strong 3rd-party management tools make it a 2nd-tier RDBMS in my mind. But I don't mind using it for web content or for simple apps that I want to run on Linux or a low-cost ISP network that includes MySQL support.

    Use it for what it's good for. If other products are better at doing other things, get over it.

    Microsoft's bashing is pretty obvious. And IBM's is somewhat surprising as well, though they may use some open source RDBMS as part of their Linux product lines and push DB/2 for larger products, just ive they do with AIX vs. Linux.

    Even RedHat pushes PostgreSQL over MySQL as their RDBMS product of choice. MySQL can't even get props for best RDBMS among the open-source world, though it's the most popular.
  • by Florian Weimer ( 88405 ) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:45PM (#4313805) Homepage
    Open-source databases "don't support as many users, they don't support as much data, and you don't have as many connectivity options," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management solutions at IBM. "They lack some key functionality and lack the scalability and performance, which keeps them out of the enterprise," Jones said.

    No, it doesn't keep them out of enterprise. To manage some status data on some non-critical web server, out-of-the-box MySQL is perfectly adequate and much easier to use than fully-grown RDBMSs. Maybe it's a lot less scalable, but then it runs on the hardware you've already got.

    But I can understand that it's quite frustrating for the big database vendors that some people do not care about online backup, transactions, stored procedures, views, replication etc. etc. and position even current stable MySQL versions against traditional RDBMSs. (Don't get me wrong, MySQL is fine if you don't need those features. You can already pick a subset of the features which are supported by MySQL in a single table type, and MySQL 5.0 will arrive one day and probably qualify as an RDBMS).
  • I read the press release. It sounds all nice an hunky dory, but when you to the website, what do you find? 4.0.3 is a beta product. The Max 3.23 release does support InnoDB, but it has for quite awhile.

    The big news is really that 4.0.3 is actually beta, not an alpha.

    Unfortunately the Max compiles were listed for a long time as unstable on MySQL's website, causing many companies to ignore it.

    When a 4.x stable branch is out, and 3.x is obsoleted, then I'll be a happy camper. 4.x adds improved fulltext indexes, UNION, MERGE tables, REVOKE and enhanced user limitations, multi-table deletes, enhanced replication, dynamic server variables (no more restarting the server to make my.cnf changes take effect), not to mention the InnoDB integration which adds transactions, row level locking, and foreign keys.

    IBM and MS can spew whatever sort of FUD they want to about MySQL. I say use the tools you like and that get the job done. Would I run a multi-million dollar data center with terabyte plus databases on MySQL? No (postgres maybe though). But a very select heavy website, with fairly small tables? Sure thing!

    MySQL is blindingly fast for most small applications, as well as being fairly easy to install and administer.

  • Brickshelf [brickshelf.com] and Geekshelf [geekshelf.com] both use MySQL as the backend for their galleries. Together they serve about ~200,000 gallery pages per day (over 500,000 in a recent slashdotting). It is always _super_ fast, even during the slashdot effect (locally -- bandwidth limitations still have an effect for remote users). It's very reliable too, db server uptime is 111 days. The mysqld process has been running since Aug. 12. Since then there have been over 8,000,000 connections to the db. It's rock solid.

  • by sheldon ( 2322 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @02:53PM (#4313877)
    Back about a year ago /. experienced a major outage. [slashdot.org] Roblimo at the time noted, "By 7 a.m. it was obvious that this was not a typical, easily-fixed, reboot-the-database problem."

    Can anybody imagine an SQL Server or DB/2 customer being satisfied with that solution? That's what IBM/MS is saying.
  • Of course IBM and MS will bash Mysql, it's to be expected.

    But before you think that the bashing is solely due to marking ploys, think again. Mysql IS lacking many of the features that "real" databases have. In the past MySQL was unabashadly vocal in not including these features as they could be programmed around, and would slow down the database.

    Remember, we're not talking about the latest SQL extensions, but common things like FOREIGN KEY, and stored procedures.

    MySQL rocks when you don't need the extras, but that's not a reason to migrate to MySQL, or to ignore that MySQL lacks features common to general-purpose databases. Just because MySQL is my favorite "quick and dirty" db, does not make it the best tool for all jobs. That's like arguing that MSAccess is most popular db (by having the most installations) therefore it's the most technically advanced/secure/useful/etc.
  • Microsoft (surprisingly) nor IBM seemed terribly negative on OSS databases, including MySQL.

    What I came away with was that they think databases like MySQL don't have some key features that are important to enterprises like supporting a massive number of concurrent users or a price tag with a non-zero integer followed by lots of zeros (US$).

    Which sorta implies MySQL, Postgres, etc. are great for the other 99.9% of database applications.
  • Amature night (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Old.UNIX.Nut ( 306040 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:06PM (#4313988)
    I always laugh when you *experts* who have *never* worked in a DP shop in your life telling those of us who have we are stupid for using tools you think have too much functionality. DB2 Rocks!!! Just because you don't have a clue about how to use this monster doesn't mean it's not a great tool.

    IBM *is* exactly right about MySQL, and for that matter most Open Source databases. It takes years to mature a major product like AIX and DB2, and the GPL competitors (which I love and use daily) do *not* have the same functionality. They are *lite* versions of the real deal. The two most important features of Open Source products is they are 1) Free, 2) come with source code. It is *not* their functionality!!!

    IBM and Borland will do *allot* to improve these GPL products and all the grousing by people with little to no expereince in the *real world* won't change that.

  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:07PM (#4313996) Homepage
    we run mysql at the public company i work for to handle every aspect of the intranet for 500 employees.

    i have a meeting at 3pm PST with the oracle DBAs to teach them how to maintain it... whatever that means.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:08PM (#4314003)
    sight of the fact that MySQL was never intended as an "Enterprise" DBMS?

    Look at the very top of the O'Reilly book. What does it say there?

    "Databases for Moderate-Sized Organizations & Websites"

    Please note that it doesn't say:

    "This is a free product that kicks Oracle's ass"

    It is explicitly intended to be, and I quote:

    "Inexpensive, lightweight and fast."

    To accomplish this they restrict themselves to a subset of the SQL language.

    Why do you think that *adjustable* wrenches come in different sizes? If they're adjustable wouldn't you just get the biggest one and use it for everything? That philosophy might seem like a good idea, until you try to turn a 6mm *aluminum* nut with a 14" wrench!

    It's OK for tools to come in different sizes and types. Pick (are you ready for it?) the *right tool for the right job.*

    Does MySQL suck? For many particular jobs, sure, but that's the fault of the person who attempted to use it for those jobs. Conversely, there are situations and jobs for which it is everything *but* MySQL that sucks.

    I just don't get the *one true DBMS* holy wars. Diversity be good. Monolithism be bad. Get with the program.

    KFG
  • by Hyped01 ( 541957 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:16PM (#4314090) Homepage
    The /. post I think is misleading in its representation of the article. Fortunately, this doesnt happen often. The article's headline, I think, is also a little misleading due to brevity.

    Changing the headline to "IBM, MS reject MySQL for Enterprise level applications" or something similar would have fixed that. But... leaving it the way it is I'm sure got more people to read the article.

    It's like the cover of a book or comic... not always representative of the content, but hopefully enticing enough to get you to read it.

    Unfortunately, IBM's statement is very true - and perhaps an understatement. MySQL 3.23.50 in our setup is currently handling about 1/6 the workload on a faster machine that DB/2 v4 handled (PIII 600 768MB RAM for MySQL / PII 350 256MB RAM for DB2). If I push MySQL [our apps require LOTS of concurrent count, update, insert and retrieve(s)] I end up having to fix the (corrupted by MySQL) tables. That's at about 1/4 the workload DB2 was doing. We are currently migrating our code back to DB2 - unless we hear that v4 MySQL offers major improvements, or switching to InnoDB tables resolves these issues.

    As for connectivity, IBM most definitely excels. DB2 offers connectivity options that most people probably havent even heard of.

    All in all, such a claim from IBM I see as quite valid. It's just true. In real world use, DB2 scales far better, performs far better (nor am I talking all the "test results" I've seen with a few or even a dozen connections - I'm talking doing the same with hundreds or thousands of connections using inserts, updates, retrieves, counts etc at the same time), it also offers 4 times the connectivity options - and integrates with DominoGo, Domino, WebSphere, Apache and a lot more (ie: at least with as many web/data apps as MySQL or more).

    While MS may wish to claim the same, it is not true. Unless you compare apples to elephants. 3 times the server hardware, it may keep up with DB2... which is probably why on an XP box it requires 3 times the server hardware. To me, that's not a comparable value (to DB2 - or even to MySQL for that matter). Its like having a car that gets 5mpg or 50mpg (and shoving a 10x larger tank in the first so you can claim "look! it can go the same distance!")

    -Rob

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:32PM (#4314257) Homepage Journal
    The submitter seems to consider a critique of MySQL as an attack on the very idea of open-source DBMSs. That might be true if MySQL were the only open-source DBMS. But it's not, not by a long shot. What about PostgreSQL? Interbase, and it's non-Borland branch, Firebird? I think there are others.

    And in any case, dismissing all criticisms as anti-OS propaganda is not constructive. The Open Source movement does not have a future if its adherent cop a "The Emperor Cannot Be Naked" attitude.

  • by ViceClown ( 39698 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:42PM (#4314331) Homepage Journal
    If MySQL wants to make serious inroads and be considered a decent database for business it needs things that other primetime databases has like:

    Stored Procedures
    A good gui (MyCC is a good start - not a web one)
    Functions
    Replication

    I know most of these things are in development or are in beta but lets get moving folks. Sure MySQL is fast and all but it can't hold a candle to MS SQL Server for ease of use and features. It's free which is great but it really can't compete in business yet. From that context it deserves to get dissed. Both dissers, by the way, sell their own databases so don't be too surprised by the negative press.
  • by brooks_talley ( 86840 ) <brooksNO@SPAMfrnk.com> on Monday September 23, 2002 @03:56PM (#4314449) Journal
    Doesn't IBM realize that, by being a proponent of open source, they're obligated to say only nice things about every single open source project under the sun?

    Doesn't anyone see the irony in the slashdot blurb? "It's surprising to see IBM diss MySQL; In other news, MySQL just got transactions!"

    MySQL is a fine departmental database, but a lousy enterprise database. That will probably change, of course, but for the time being both Microsoft and IBM are right.

    Cheers
    -b
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @04:01PM (#4314487) Homepage
    Anyone realize this?

    Lotsa boosterism in the story titles themselves, but there's never, ever, ever been a Slashdot story about MySQL where 3/4ths of the population didn't basically say:

    MySQL may be fast, but it's underfeatured. Postgres does rule, though!

    I don't get it. Does anyone but the people doing the writeups actually think MySQL is meant for large scale terabyte databases?

    One core law of computer science is that the best solution to a small problem is never the best solution to much larger problems. Actually, the physical world works in much the same way -- a human sized insect would collapse quite quickly.

    It's not the law that's surprising, it's that everyone keeps repeating it as if anyone else believed otherwise...

    --Dan
  • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @04:56PM (#4315027) Journal
    Fact is, BDB!=MySQL!=PostgreSQL!=DB2!=Oracle

    BDB (Berkeley DataBase) is a simple, DBM-style database that only has key/value pairs. Notwithstanding this simplicity, a company (Sleepy Cat) has been making a profit with this product! It's used extensively by OpenLDAP, which is an "enterprise ready" application, capable of scaling to handle every single person or thing on the face of the earth today.

    MySQL is not "under par" or "substandard", it is written to perform simple queries rapidly.

    PostgreSQL is not "a toy", it's designed to be a feature-complete, modest SQL engine, with features over performance. (Though performance gains of recent have been quite staggering)

    Oracle is the "nut buster" of a database. Based on code now some 20 years old, they've had the time (and the money) to make a truly upwardly scalable application. For those to whom the tens of thousands of dollars price is not a problem, Oracle is it.

    For those who want high performance and database replication for simple databases for cheap, MySQL is it.

    For those who need to build complex datastructures and access them on a budget, PostgreSQL is the one.

    For those who want a very simple values-container, BDB is what you want.

    The scale is not linear, with "bad" on one side, and "good" on the other.

    I would not even consider BDB for most of my mid-tier web-based software. Nor would I consider Oracle. Postgres fits just about perfectly - I need transactions, and frequently have to perform nested outer joins and subselects in a single statement.

    On the other hand, the LDAP-based network I manage runs just fine on BDB, and one of my recent projects (a large database of registration information) works best on MySQL.

    Which is better - a sledgehammer or a screwdriver? They're both tools that get a job done. Don't call a screwdriver "deficient" because you wouldn't want to crush a brick wall, and don't call a sledgehammer a "Piece of Sh--" because you can't turn a screw with it!
  • by ShinmaWa ( 449201 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @06:36PM (#4315759)
    One of the things that jumped out at me at this article was that Jones's (IBM's) statement was very obviously a direct answer to very pointed, and very unpublished, question.

    Jones did not wake up one morning and say to himself, "I'm going to call up InfoWorld and just rag on MySQL because I think its a threat to DB2!". No. InfoWorld called him, asked him a series of questions, kept what would make the best reading, and threw the rest away.

    So, was Jones really being "negative" and "dissing" MySQL? We really don't know. If the questions he was answering were:

    "What in your opinion is the main reason why MySQL is not beating DB2 and Oracle in the enterprise?"

    and/or

    "What would you consider MySQL's greatest flaws to be?" ...then Jones response couldn't possibly be considered "bashing MySQL". He was just answering a question to the best of knowledge.

    Read the quote again to see my point:
    Open-source databases "don't support as many users, they don't support as much data, and you don't have as many connectivity options," said Jeff Jones, director of strategy for data management solutions at IBM. "They lack some key functionality and lack the scalability and performance, which keeps them out of the enterprise," Jones said.

    The whole article stinks of coaxing negative-sounding comments from people from "big bad companies", pasting them out of context, and calling it "Big Companies Once Again Stomp On Open Source!" Its also quite possible that he also said many wonderful things about MySQL, but that makes for boring reading and would be discarded.

    It happens all the time, folx.
  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:3, Informative)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Monday September 23, 2002 @07:45PM (#4316179) Homepage Journal
    it is interesting that IBM, who often claims to be a defender of Open Source Software, would be so negative.

    Perhaps the problem is that mysql, like, sucks?

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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