Business Software

Oracle Gives Sneak Peek at MySQL 5.6 Features

Oracle on Monday announced a sneak peak at features slated for MySQL 5.6, the next version of its open-source database, that focus on improved scalability, integration and performance.

New features include a full-text search function that enables developers to index and search text-based information held in InnoDB storage engine tables; an increase in the maximum size of InnoDB redo log files to 2TB, which boosts performance for write-intensive application workloads; faster MySQL replication; and an API (application programming interface) that allows users to "seamlessly integrate MySQL with both new and legacy applications and data stores."

Oracle wants community members to work with the advancements, which are still being actively developed, and provide feedback.

They are now available for download, but "not fit for production" use, a notice on the MySQL labs website states.

The vendor made MySQL 5.5 generally available in December, and announced a first "development milestone" release for 5.6 in April.

One expert expressed a measured view of the 5.6 features announced Monday.

"OLTP [online transaction processing] performance and concurrency are among Oracle's core competencies. I'd be optimistic about those enhancements," said analyst Curt Monash of Monash Research.

In addition, "MySQL isn't used in a vacuum," often serving as part of a pipeline that includes technologies such as the Hadoop framework for large-scale data processing, analytic databases and general-purpose databases like Oracle, he said. "There are a lot of replication and data integration use cases that still need to be better supported," Monash said.

However, "Oracle hasn't advanced its text search integration rapidly since the 1990s. I'd be pessimistic on that front," Monash added.

Oracle gained control of MySQL through the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. The transaction was held up for a time while European regulators weighed the potential antitrust implications of an Oracle-owned MySQL.

At one point, Oracle made a series of public commitments meant to assure the community that MySQL would remain a viable and open technology.

The vendor makes money off MySQL by selling support subscriptions for a number of commercial editions.

It competes for those dollars with the likes of Monty Program, Percona and SkySQL. The MySQL codebase has also been forked, with Monty Program's MariaDB, which is backed by MySQL creator Michael "Monty" Widenius, being a high-profile example.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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