MySQL adding stored procedures to database

Looking to bolster the enterprise-readiness of its open source database, MySQL on Monday will preview an update to its platform that adds stored procedures and server side cursor capabilities.

Version 5.0 of MySQL will be available as a developer release Monday and is considered an alpha version of the product for testing and evaluation, according to MySQL. A production release of the database ships later this year, said Zack Urlocker, vice president of marketing at MySQL.

"The company in general is really going to focus on helping enterprise customers into 2004, and this is a very major release for us because it adds stored procedures and server-side cursors," Urlocker said.

Stored procedures are structured SQL statements stored in the database in a compiled form so they can be accessed in a standard way across multiple applications, according to MySQL. Stored procedures in MySQL 5.0 are based on the SQL: 2003 standard for syntax, data structures, and retrieval processes of SQL databases.

Server-side cursor support boosts scaling of the database by moving more program execution to the server, Urlocker said.

The technology additions will enable some users who could not use MySQL before to take a look at the company's offering, he said. MySQL contends it offers a more cost-effective approach for deploying new applications than commercial databases from companies such as Oracle, according to Urlocker.

"We have a very, very high reliability, very high uptime, and we avoid putting in a lot of the unnecessary complexity that has crept into server software over the last few years," Urlocker said.

He cited Oracle's recent grid computing push.

"If you need grid capabilities, you should buy Oracle because they have it and we don't and we don't try to have it," Urlocker said.

Version 5.0 also features enhancements to portability and migration, internationalization, and general usability, the company said.

An analyst stressed that support of stored procedures provides functionality such as formatting and database views.

"Everybody's been using stored procedures to do that," said Ted Schadler, software analyst at Forrester Research. Based on recent research he has done, Schadler expects MySQL to make more inroads into enterprises.

MySQL has a dual-licensing scheme for the database. If used to publish an open source application, the software is free under the GPL license. If it used for deploying a closed source application, a commercial license is required for US$495 per server. Support also is available for an additional fee.

The company in building the new database has leveraged the expertise and design of the SAP database technology it acquired last year, Urlocker said. MySQL acquired rights to SAP's SAP DB database technology last year and re-branded it MaxDB in November.

The alpha version of MySQL 5.0 will be available at http://www.mysql.com on Monday.

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