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Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Stay With MySQL? 245

Posted by timothy
from the so-long-as-it's-internet-scale dept.
littlekorea writes "The world's largest web-scale users of MySQL have committed to one further upgrade to the Oracle-controlled database — but Facebook and Twitter are also eyeing off more open options from MariaDB and cheaper options from the NoSQL community. Who will pay for MySQL enterprise licenses into the future?"
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Will Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Stay With MySQL?

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  • and so meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:20PM (#44919801)

    ... PostgreSQL is over in the corner, saying, "Hey guys! I'm open! I'm open!"

    But no one throws the ball the Postgres. Because no one like Postgres.

    So Postgres goes home and does some homework.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:40PM (#44919885)

      Funny, but not actually true.

      We used to use MySQL unless a customer demanded Oracle. Now we've switched to Postgres, because MySQL's future is so hazy and we typically have to support these systems for ten years or more.

      • by XaXXon (202882)

        mysql's future isn't hazy. It's all about mariadb.. but they're not really different.

      • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:55PM (#44920545)

        "Now we've switched to Postgres, because MySQL's future is so hazy..."

        It's no more hazy than it was when Oracle took it over. The MariaDB project is largely run by ex-MySQL developers... where's the problem? If anything, it was Oracle that muddied the waters. Now things are getting BACK on track.

        I like Postgres in some ways, but it has some significant deviations from standard SQL syntax, and other idiosyncracies.

        For me (I'm not doing anything "enterprise" at the moment), the slight performance gain of Postgres is not worth putting up with its oddities.

        • by greg1104 (461138) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @07:30PM (#44920693) Homepage

          As long as MariaDB is requiring copyright assignment [mariadb.com], there's every reason to believe it will be sold off again the same way MySQL was. The FSF gets away with that for GNU projects because they've never abused contributor trust before. Monty is no FSF, and there's no reason believe MariaDB will remain outside of commercial control any better than MySQL did. I can't believe people are falling for the same trick again.

          PostgreSQL aims for SQL standards conformance [postgresql.org] as much as possible. It's hard sometimes due to the difficulty of participating in the standard process [lwn.net]. The idea that MySQL does a better job in that area is kind of odd though. You'll have to list some sample Postgres "oddities" to be credible with that claim.

          • Don't worry. I'm sure if Monty sells it, he'll soon fork it again and Chodely with switch to MarioDB after Facebook tries to extract money from their new database purchase.

          • by jonbryce (703250)

            That can only happen if they replace all the MySQL code with something completely different. MariaDB doesn't own the commercial rights to that because they sold it to a company now owned by Oracle, only the same GPL rights that everyone else has.

            • by greg1104 (461138)

              All they need is a compelling set of new code to sell a business based on that. Every time someone contributes to MariaDB, they're building exactly what whey need to end up with something they can sell again.

        • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968.gmail@com> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @08:08PM (#44920863) Journal

          What I don't get is this...why does anybody think MariaDB is ANY safer? I mean its still run by old Monty, right? The guy that sold MySQL out from under the community to Oracle in the first place? And don't he still require that ALL code contributed have the rights signed over to him?

          If he fools you once? Shame on him. If he fools you twice? You are an idiot that deserve what you get.

          • Ah, but fool me Three Times? Yes, then you see it's all part of my master plan...

            Creating DBA Job Security one migration at a time.

        • by ianare (1132971) on Monday September 23, 2013 @03:02AM (#44922045)

          I like Postgres in some ways, but it has some significant deviations from standard SQL syntax, and other idiosyncracies.

          Strange you would mention that, one of the reasons I've switched to PostgreSQL (and never looked back) is because it more closesly follows the SQL standard and has many less "gotchas" and bugs than MySQL (boolean is actually an int field, reset counter on increment, etc).

          When people complain about Postgres' "non-standard SQL", this usually comes from those that have only used MySQL and think it's the standard.

          About the only technical advantage MySQL has over Postgres is an easier setup, and generally better performance out of the box (before any tuning).

          • by Chrisq (894406)

            About the only technical advantage MySQL has over Postgres is an easier setup, and generally better performance out of the box (before any tuning).

            I think that clustering on Postgres is so obscure as to frighten off all but the most knowledgeable (or foolhardy idiots). You are presented with a list of do it yourself options [postgresql.org], but no concrete recommendations. Comments like "pgpool 1/2 is a reasonable solution. it's statement level replication, which has some downsides, but is good for certain things" probably only help if you know exactly what you want already!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:46PM (#44919927)
      PostgreSQL's biggest disadvantage over MariaDB is that it's not a drop-in replacement for MySQL.
    • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:46PM (#44919931) Homepage Journal

      The real joke of this is that Postgres has been, by any measure, a better database than MySQL for twenty years. Back in the early 1990s when we were running on i386s and Sparcs, there was some argument for using MySQL because (in those days) the fact that it didn't have proper transactions and proper reverential integrity, it was faster for simple queries from single tables. Now, even that isn't true any more. Postgres is just the best engineered RDBMS out there bar none, and it's free.

      • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:55PM (#44919993) Homepage Journal

        Maybe Postgres lacks discoverability?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:20PM (#44920101)

        One entire Billy Graham at a time?

      • by CODiNE (27417)

        Why is this? I checked their website, it's not a 1990's throwback. I remember the Postgres vs MySQL arguments from back in the day.

        Is their syntax weird? Is there some painfully annoying thing about it? Were there different licenses in the past causing a strong divide which are no longer relevant? Was something done years ago which alienated a large chunk of the community? How did MySQL get such critical mass?

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:33PM (#44920183)

          How did MySQL get such critical mass?

          Probably the main reason is that it has a "design philosophy" of "if you can't do what the user wants, better to do something and say it's all OK than to give an error", which some people mistake for ease of use.

        • by SQLGuru (980662) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:43PM (#44920231) Journal

          BetaMax vs VHS. Blu-ray vs HD-DVD.

          Obviously it's because the porn industry chose MySQL.

        • by hibiki_r (649814) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:29PM (#44920443)

          MySQL got its critical mass by it's easy, tight integration built into PHP. Any random college student could build a website backed by a database pretty quickly. It was a total failure to anyone that wanted to do serious work with it, but serious work was never an issue. As those college students entered the workforce, they tried to keep the tools they learned. People worked around their tech's limitations until new versions added it in, instead of migrating to competitors.

          So it was a perfect storm or filling a niche for a community that just kept growing.

          • by greg1104 (461138)

            PostgreSQL didn't release a solid Windows version until 2005 [internetnews.com]. That's the biggest reason why MySQL adoption outpaced it for so long, but the plentiful PHP/MySQL examples certainly contributed too.

          • I don't really remember that well anymore, but Linux and MySQL have always been tied together...probably because mysql was relatively fast out of the box. Even today Postgres' default's suck, and the wiki says so:

            http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/Tuning_Your_PostgreSQL_Server [postgresql.org]

            "One reason the defaults are low is because on some platforms (like older Solaris versions and SGI), having large values requires invasive action like recompiling the kernel"

            I mean, who remembers when there was a Solaris kernel that you c

          • by Burning1 (204959)

            So, basically... MySQL pulled a facebook?

        • "How did MySQL get such critical mass?"

          Because it had a very good entry curve for developers that didn't know any better.

          More or less like PHP (it's no chance that they got popular together).

          • by pspahn (1175617)

            I'm not sure that "know any better" is all that relevant. Sure, at this point there are tons of enterprise level clusterfucks built on PHP. Don't get me wrong about that... though, it certainly fills a void when robustness is less of a concern.

            • "I'm not sure that "know any better" is all that relevant"

              It is. Without unknowledgeable developers, neither PHP nor MySQL would have had the slightest chance.

        • Back when I started with MySQL, it was faster to configure, easier to set up, and didn't require nightly maintenance cycles.

          Those all make a big difference for early rapid development.

      • by richlv (778496)

        no, the real joke is that any story about mysql on slashdot gets 3 times more comments about postgresql :)
        it's fairly annoying, i must admit

      • by emilper (826945)

        back in the early 90 MySQL and Postgresql did not exist

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, the real joke is Firebird DB is better than both MySQL and Postgres in terms of speed and disk usage.

        Nobody uses it though. Firebird is to MySQL as BSD is to Linux. That is, it had some commercial/legal "complications" in the beginning of its life that have forever made it a loser despite being better.

      • by segedunum (883035)
        I know. The inertia with MySQL is just pain ridiculous. I'm currently weening the company I work for off MySQL because we're starting to get amounts of data that is necessitating ridiculous sharding frameworks in MySQL with implications for applications, and everyone seems to think this is fine and a sign that everything is OK. I've heard it all - "MySQL is what I know", "Does Postgres have support for bulk loading", "We don't need what Postgres provides, we can do all that in MySQL"........

        The answer to
    • by Maow (620678) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:16PM (#44920387) Journal

      I think what's missing is an easy upgrade path from MySQL to PostgreSQL.

      For example:

      • * mysqldump | psql doesn't work even with --compatibe=postgresql: ints have precision (int(11)) and comments don't work the same
      • * Inside psql there isn't a handy "show create table" feature (that I've found)
      • * No way to "use dbname" for switching DBs inside psql - must quit and restart with different dbname
      • * Issues with double quotes vs single quotes vs ticks - no opinion on which is best way to go but would be nice if a translation were available
      • * The commands aren't as easily memorable: \d vs show tables: another area where some compatibility would be nice. I kind of prefer the show tables, show databases, show create table style instead of \d, \l, \(can't do it in psql, use pg_dump)

      Those are some things off of the top of my head.

      Makes it so much more work to switch - each dumped table must be manually tweaked to load into psql.

      I'm playing with it now, and growing more comfortable with psql but not sure I'm going to dump, edit, import all tables in all|any databases so I can have... 2 db servers running on my box.

      I'm itching for a good reason to switch.

      It's a shame that the new recently that Google is dropping MySQL didn't end with "and they're going to use Postgres" -- they have the resources to make a conversion suite / patches that would make it easy for a large scale adoption to occur.

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        There's no direct replacement for SHOW CREATE TABLE. There are two similar things and a tool to do it though:

        -Run CREATE TABLE y AS SELECT * FROM x LIMIT 0; That will make you another table just like the one you have, but with no data in it. That only gets you an exact duplicate, it doesn't show you the DDL or allow changing it in the middle. (You can then ALTER TABLE the result though, for 'like this but with X different' cases)
        -pg_dump with the options to only dump the schema. You'll have to dig the

      • No way to "use dbname" for switching DBs inside psql - must quit and restart with different dbname

        /c dbname

  • Government (Score:4, Interesting)

    by armanox (826486) <asherewindknight@yahoo.com> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:24PM (#44919817) Homepage Journal

    Government for one. The US Department of Energy still uses MySQL, and I doubt they'll move off it anytime soon.

    • Are they paying Oracle for support? Or are they just using MySQL in their server farm, supporting it with internal resources?
      • by armanox (826486)

        Knowing them, they're paying someone for support. Everything they use has a support contract in my experience (which has recently ended, I'm no a federal contractor).

  • Who will pay for MySQL enterprise licenses into the future?

    I've never come accross any company, or individual, who actually does this.

    • Re:Enterprise? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Florian Weimer (88405) <fw@deneb.enyo.de> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:44PM (#44919913) Homepage

      And the article confirms the large-scaler users aren't part of that elusive group, either:

      Many of the largest MySQL users — Twitter included — do not currently pay Oracle for an enterprise licence. Twitter, like Facebook, prefers to build their own extensions and customisations off the community version.

    • by Bigbutt (65939)

      At the moment we do. We have a moderately sized Oracle environment but the company owners have been annoyed with the Oracle support costs and started moving to MySQL several years ago. Considering our environment, we paid for MySQL enterprise licenses. When Oracle bought MySQL, the company started moving to Postgres. Same when Oracle killed Sun (the Oracle DB license fees kept us from upgrading our older Sun equipment so we moved to Linux on Dell and then virtual machines). Now we're using Redhat and Postgr

  • by msobkow (48369) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @04:52PM (#44919973) Homepage Journal

    You don't have to pay for a commercial license of MySQL as far as I know, unless you want support for it.

    And even if there were a dollar difference, I doubt it would be enough to cover the cost of redeveloping everything to use NoSQL servers.

    Hell, it's not even cost effective to switch to another SQL database like PostgreSQL.

    Can you imagine the downtime required to export Facebook from MySQL and to re-import it to another database? The users would go ballistic!

    I don't expect any "earth shattering" movement by any of the big users in the near future.

    • by sgbett (739519) <slashdot@remailer.org> on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:06PM (#44920039) Homepage

      "One does not simply export Facebook!"

    • by rml1997 (929311) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:13PM (#44920065)

      Hell, it's not even cost effective to switch to another SQL database like PostgreSQL.

      Can you imagine the downtime required to export Facebook from MySQL and to re-import it to another database? The users would go ballistic!

      I don't expect any "earth shattering" movement by any of the big users in the near future.

      I'm involved in a project that involves moving databases. We write each transaction to both the old and new structure using our data access layer, then export historic data and eventually, once we've verified the new system is working as expected, remove the old structure from the data access layer. This is the main reason data access layers are used.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Great when you have one database instance and can afford to set up dual instances.

        How do you propose doing so for something like Facebook or Twitter that have thousands of nodes and servers?

        • "How do you propose doing so for something like Facebook or Twitter that have thousands of nodes and servers?"

          Well, it's not a matter of proposal. Facebook have done it at least twice and it was done the way the grandparent sketched.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:01PM (#44920017) Journal
    That's strange, for some reason I had the idea that Twitter and Facebook were already using NoSQL. If they aren't, then is any large company using NoSQL?
    • Facebook uses a NoSQL database (HBase) for their messaging system, and some related tech for data analysis (Hadoop). They also have custom photo serving software (haystack) for their photo storage. The main data (status updates, friends, likes, etc.) is in MySQL with memcache in front of it. There is also a cache layer (varnish) in front of the web servers. They said NoSQL isn't ready and point to the smaller messaging system needing more staff.

  • Enterprise gives you basically better administration tools (monitoring, backup, HA, etc), and support. If you really need them, you will still need them if you switch to MariaDB, or will be a reason to not to swich (there are more players in the support area and extra tools, anyway). But most of hose players have good internal knowledge on MySQL, and have contributed code and patches to it, probably are not the target for the enterprise version.

    But if is enough for you the plain, non enterprise version of

  • by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:27PM (#44920135) Journal
    are you guys still using MySQL?
  • but Facebook and Twitter are also eyeing off more open options

    Facepalm.

  • Google's switch [to MariaDB] may have been motivated by a lawsuit filed by Oracle over alleged use of Java patents in Google's Android operating system.

    You don't say.
  • by Joebert (946227) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:53PM (#44920287) Homepage
    I don't think Oracle really ever planned on doing much more with MySQL than keeping control of it until it dies.
  • by citizenr (871508) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:21PM (#44920419) Homepage

    Its web scale!

  • I'd be really surprised if these companies haven't actually forked MySQL and are maintaining their own internal version.

  • by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @07:54PM (#44920811)
    I switched to MariaDB but my database is the size of a microbe so the few quirks were of no difficulty; but there were quirks. MariaDB was not a plug in replacement. I love it and wouldn't go back but it did take a tiny bit of work. So if I had one zillion servers with crazy databases I would be taking my time on that one. I suspect that what you will see is new development experiments depending on MariaDB and slowly increasing the pressure until they just make the switch.

    The other question is how many obscure features of MySQL features are they using? (Including custom code)
  • by petermp (891968) on Monday September 23, 2013 @12:59AM (#44921757)
    I personally think that the real problem with Postgresql happened 10 years ago. At that time it was not possible to run Postgresql on Windows(it was only possible via cygwin). That helped mysql get critical mass and Postgresql stayed behind. Then the snowball effect came into play and mysql was getting much more users compared to Postgresql.

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