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Yes, I agree. PostgreSQL is also a fun database engine.
MySQL’s record so far in the Enterprise market.
It is perfectly true that MySQL has a long list of customers and I’m delighted. However not even MySQL would claim that all of these companies have replaced their mission-critical systems with MySQL. Many of them are using MySQL as a very cost-effective database engine for non-critical systems whilst still running more traditional engines for their core systems.
In addition, the world is a very big place with a great number of companies and the customer list of a product like DB2 is immense in comparison. In enterprise terms, MySQL is still way behind the big three.
For example, Gartner ranked the engines like this for market share in 2005:
Other vendors 8.2%
MySQL doesn’t even appear. Now, it is quite true that Gartner essentially uses revenue (of one kind or another) and that measure discriminates (until now) against products like MySQL. Nevertheless, it is clear that MySQL has not, so far, come anywhere close to the penetration of the other engines. Indeed, part of the reason for the change in sales model that the article outlines is to try and improve the enterprise sales of the product.
Transactions are clearly a topic of some interest to Reg. Dev. readers:
As discussed there, deciding exactly when an engine provides full support for transactions is not easy. However MySQL, the company, announced in a press release dated September 23, 2002 that:
“the MySQL database now provides full support for transactions to enable the development of e-commerce and other robust, business-critical applications. The standard version of the MySQL database now includes a high-performance transactional storage engine with crash recovery and other capabilities that will significantly extend MySQL's role in the enterprise database market.”
So, let’s take that date as correct. It is just over 4 years ago. I have no doubt that this seems like a long time ago if, for example, you have only been using MySQL for three years. Indeed, it must then seem as if the product has always supported transactions. However, in transactional terms, this is still recent history.
It is worth remembering that the concept of a transaction didn’t pop into being one day, fully formed. It took a great deal of effort to develop over many years and Jim Gray did much of the fundamental work. In 1975, along with Chamberlin and Traiger he published “Views, Authorization and Locking in a Relational Database System”. This was followed by a long series of papers including the classic “Transactions and Consistency in Distributed Database Systems” and “A Transaction Model”, both in 1980.
Relational engines were being developed during this time and they started to embrace the notion of transactions and implement Gray’s ideas. For example transactions, at least in terms of commit and rollback, first appeared in Oracle version 3 (1980). Subsequently, as our understanding of transactions further improved, Oracle improved the support in future versions.
Seen within this broader context of enterprise level database engines supporting transactions since 1980, MySQL’s introduction of support in 2003 has to be seen as relatively recent.