The conventional wisdom surrounding the open-source MySQL database is that it can't really be used in production environments that either require high speed or the ability to work with large amounts of data. The end result is that a lot of IT organizations have MySQL in place to handle less demanding applications, while relying on commercial database software for more demanding applications.
Some IT organizations may try to rely on dedicated appliances to improve the performance of MySQL. But a lot of organizations find that approach to solving the MySQL performance challenge to be cost prohibitive in terms of both acquiring those appliances and then managing them on an ongoing basis.
The folks at Tokutek, however, would argue there is a much more effective approach to the MySQL performance problem. The company has developed an index engine for MySQL based on Fractal Tree technology that allows MySQL performance to scale from gigabytes to terabytes.
According to Lawrence Schwartz, Tokutek senior director of marketing, MySQL performance typically starts to noticeably drop at about a half a terabyte of data. That shortcoming tends to exclude the use of MySQL in a lot of mission-critical application scenarios, or any application involving Big Data. This week Tokutek released version 5.0 of TokuDB, which adds support for hot indexing, hot column addition/deletion and multiversion concurrency control (MVCC).
A lot of IT organizations that adopted MySQL as a way to save money are now running up against performance issues. The dilemma they now face is coping with the costs associated with porting those applications under the database environment, which is a scenario favored by Oracle, or employing a variety of unnatural database management tasks known as "sharding" to make the MySQL environment scale. But before making any of those choices, Tokutek is betting that many MySQL shops are going to find that replacing the index engine in MySQL is going to be more cost effective and palpable to the entire IT organization.