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16 December 2010, 15:19

Faster and more stable - MySQL 5.5 released

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MySQL Logo The new version 5.5.8 is the first stable version of MySQL to be released since Oracle acquired Sun. The release also represents the opening salvo in Oracle's plan to position the open source database primarily in the web and embedded application market. Oracle's core database will continue to be aimed primarily at Enterprise applications such as ERP, CRM, business intelligence and data warehousing. The Community Edition of MySQL is available free of charge under a GNU General Public License (GPL). Oracle also offers paid for distributions.

Version 5.5.x sees MyISAM replaced by transactional database InnoDB, developed by Oracle subsidiary Innobase, as the default database engine. Oracle claims that it is significantly faster than the engine in the previous version. This is due in part to more rollback segments and, under Linux, the use of asynchronous I/O. Dedicated locks for individual tasks, replace the previous global locks, mean that MySQL is now more stable where multiple simultaneous connections are used on multi-core machines. Oracle also claims to have improved general stability by means of semi-synchronous replication. Oracle states that data processing is up to 15 times faster than in MySQL 5.1.

The database now also includes technology for integrating alternative authentication mechanisms. MySQL was previously limited to an internal user administration system, meaning that it was not possible to login using Unix mechanisms such as PAM or directory services such as LDAP. There is also a new 'proxy user', a MySQL user which exists solely for logging in using plug-ins. This can be assigned to another user using the new GRANT PROXY statement. It is also possible to forward user names and passwords to another service for authentication, which then returns the name of a database user to the MySQL server.

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